In our busy lives it can be so very hard to make good choices when it comes to eating. We live in an environment of convenience and have everything at our fingertips including fast food. However, fast food while convenient may not be benefiting us long term for health. Since food has become boxed, bagged, condensed into cereals and rice cakes it is much easier to eat but hard to digest. The body does not recognize preservatives and additives as real food, and this wreaks havoc on our digestive tracts. Inside the digestive tract is an enteric nervous system, the absorption of our nutrients, and the creation of our mood neurotransmitters, so a healthy gut is essential for well being. I am going to share some ways to eat a healthy diet while being busy.
The first step to eating healthy on the go, is to stop eating out at least during the week. For some of you this may sound impossible, but I encourage you to entertain the idea of making your own meals. Meal planning calendars are a great inexpensive tool to plan out each meal for the week. Pick one hour during the week and go grocery shopping, getting exactly what you need. This will save you money, time, and stress revolving around food. Meal planning doesn’t need to be complicated, it could be something as simple as chicken and vegetables, or a recipe from a food blog.
The next tip for eating healthy is to not skip meals. Many people try to go a long time without eating, and then they overeat. When the blood sugar in the body gets too low the brain will signal it needs energy fast, and you will crave the nearest high calorie food (high sugar or high fat). When you do eat, try to pick food that is low on the glycemic index so the insulin levels do not spike. As the insulin level rises, it stores fat on the body. The lower the glycemic food the more stable the blood sugar.
Snacks should be full of protein and fiber, skip the sugar. Sugar spikes the blood sugar very high and then causes fatigue and irritability. Pick foods that contain protein and plant-based fats and fiber like raw nuts, avocado, olives, fish, and coconut. Most Americans get about 25% of their daily fiber intake, which could help with balanced blood sugar and proper digestion. Fiber is found in leafy greens, fruit with the skin on and most all vegetables and whole grains. Try almond butter on top of celery, hummus with bell peppers, or make your own trail mix with dark chocolate. If you are new to cooking, a pressure cooker or crockpot is an excellent way to save time and energy for meals.
I hope these tips are helpful for the busy person on the go who is still trying to live a healthy lifestyle!
Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care Naturopathic Doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine in Woodinville, WA. To learn more go to www.treeofhealthmedicine.com or call 425-408-0040 to schedule an appointment.