What I eat in a day: Eating nutritiously on a busy schedule

Some tips on how to eat healthier on a daily basis.

  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 8:30am
  • Life

By Dr. Sarah Fairchild

EvergreenHealth

We can all agree: juggling work and family while squeezing in time for friends and hobbies is no small task. Especially now with back-to-school schedules in full swing, many parents might be wondering: How can I eat nutritiously with such a busy (and at times, unpredictable) schedule?

You’ve likely seen “What I Eat in a Day” lists published in health and nutrition magazines, on fitness blogs or celebrities’ Instagrams, providing insight into the fit, fresh and trendy meals these influencers regularly consume. Unfortunately, some of those food-diary snapshots might not seem relatable for busy on-the-go professionals, especially working parents (like me).

But don’t despair — there are plenty of quick, easy-to-make snacks and meals that we can turn to without sacrificing our health and cravings for something tasty. All it takes is a bit of thoughtful consideration and creativity. If I can do it in between working and chasing after a toddler, so can you!

Here are few tips for keeping your nutrition on track with a full calendar:

Plan, plan, plan!

When some of us see the phrase, “meal planning,” or “meal prepping,” our first instinct might be to ask, “Who has time for that?” But give it a chance—you don’t need to plan out 15 intricate recipes each week. Just stock your fridge with a few key staples early in the week, and use those ingredients to pull together quick and easy recipes from whole, unprocessed foods, like crockpot chicken fajitas, or quinoa with sautéed vegetables. A good rule of thumb to follow: Pick meals that require five or fewer ingredients, and you should have no problem when in a pinch!

Reinvent leftovers

The key to successful meal-prepping is to make leftovers to use for future meals. Don’t limit each recipe to only one purpose; cook in larger batches so you’ll have extra. Throw the leftover chicken from fajita night on top of a salad for lunch, or chop up the unused veggies to make a quick stir-fry for dinner. The possibilities are endless, so get creative!

Protein + carbs + fats = all-day energy!

If you get hungry while you’re out and about, you might be more likely to splurge on “cheat eats” if you don’t have healthy snacks on hand. Before heading out for the day, pack a few handfuls of trail mix, nuts, pieces of fruit or string cheeses to curb your appetite. High-protein snacks will keep you fuller for longer, and help you fight the temptation to grab a treat instead.

Be flexible

Take the time to plan, but don’t be afraid to take shortcuts. If it’s not realistic to prep all your ingredients from scratch; it’s easy to find lightly processed, pre-made foods at most grocery stores (just be sure to check the label so you know what the ingredients are, and can decide if it meets your standards). And, give yourself grace if you fall off course a bit — it’s not all or nothing.

Now, I realize you might still be wondering, “Where do I start?” It’s important to remember that everyone has their own groove and as you experiment, you’ll learn tricks to leverage one meal into three! Trial and error is your best option here.

When it comes to everyday choices, make eating healthy food a priority, as it not only affects your long-term health, but also greatly impacts how you feel on a daily basis.

At first, it might be tricky to establish a routine, plan ahead and identify which healthy meals and snacks work best for you and your family, but you’ll thank yourself later when it becomes habit — and you might even have fun along the way. Bon appétit!

Sarah Fairchild is a family medicine physician at EvergreenHealth Primary Care in Redmond. EvergreenHealth is based in Kirkland and has locations in Redmond and Kenmore.

For more healthy eating tips, snack and recipe ideas, visit EvergreenHealth’s lifestyle and wellness site at healthiestbest.com/health-food-recipes

More in Life

For the Love of Kenmore workshop set for April 29

There will be a photo contest for attendees to showcase what they love about the city.

Kirkland’s Vortex Music Movies celebrates Record Store Day with local artists

Smuggling Croissants, Mister Blank, Ouija Boob, Floral Tattoo and other local artists performed at at the shop.

PSE’s Harder to speak at Northshore Senior Center

The community outreach coordinator will provide information and answer questions about the company’s current environmental programs.

Northshore Youth and Family Services is presenting its first fundraising event in over 20 years. Courtesy photo
NYFS presents Northshore’s Night Out: Sip, Swing and Support

All proceeds will go to support the efforts of Northshore Youth Family Services.

Eastside market heats up as major tech news hits

What does Amazon’s move to Bellevue mean to surrounding communities?

Moorlands Elementary recognized by King County green schools program

The school was one of four to receive the recognition.

Deepthi Chandra and Haze Lee of North Creek High School developed Eclipsnotes, an online platform made by students for students. Madison Miller/staff photo
Northshore School District students create educational platform

Eclipsnotes is an online platform that features short videos made by students for students.

Leota Middle School Science Olympiad Club members earn medals at Southwest Regional Tournament

The Science Olympiad Club went to the regional tournament with three teams comprised of 36 Leota students.

Sound Transit seeks volunteers to serve on agency oversight panel

Opportunity to serve on the Sound Transit Citizen Oversight Panel representing Pierce County or Snohomish County.

Srebnik receives McMaster award from Kenmore Heritage Society

Srebnik has participated in Kenmore’s development since the mid-1990s.

Kenmore resident is 2019 humanities speaker

Carlos Gil will speak about immigration, specifically the Mexican American experience.

PopUp StoryWalk announces new book

“The Water Princess” by Susan Verde will launch at Brightwater Education Center on March 23.