Tasty and healthy food is important to keep you focused when you’re at your busiest. Check your schedule ahead of time, look at where you’ll be and when, and make a plan for how to:
Fit some activity into the day
Maintain high energy levels and a positive frame of mind throughout the day, no matter what challenges you may face
Follow these simple guidelines and you will feel high energy levels from morning to night, wherever you are in your busy schedule.
If you are dehydrated you will feel sluggish
To get properly hydrated drink at least two litres of water a day
Coffees, teas and fizzy drinks will dehydrate you. If you drink these you will need to drink more than two litres of water
Spread your water intake throughout the day and you won’t need any extra toilet stops while out and about and remember that drinking lots of coffee or tea on the go is more likely to send you to the loo more often than drinking extra water.
Meals and Snacks
Spread your food intake throughout the day
Eat protein with every meal or snack
Avoid sugar wherever you can or risk big energy crashes later in the day
Do not overeat at any point during the day and chew your food properly
Take a break to eat
Choose porridge, muesli, bran or wheat-based cereals, eggs or whole-meal toast
Drink water with breakfast
Avoid sugary cereals, jams and fried food
Choose fruit, yoghurt, nuts.
Drink water with your morning snack
Avoid cakes, biscuits, pastries
Ideally, take leftovers with you from the night before at home
If you don’t have leftovers, head for the deli where you can design your own sandwich with whole-meal bread, chicken or fish, lots of salad and no mayonnaise. You can also opt for soup, sushi or jacket potato
If there isn’t a deli close by you may find yourself at a coffee shop or petrol station. Choose sandwiches, paninis or wraps with whole-meal bread and lean protein such as fish or chicken and salad
If you find yourself in a café select eggs, beans, whole-meal toast. Ask for bacon to be grilled and eat this in moderation
When opting for take out food, eating the right amount is still important. More food does not mean better value for money. It’s quality not quantity that matters when it comes to your health and your energy levels
If your closest option is a fast-food choice, curb hunger with one of your healthy snacks that you’ve brought with you (see below) and then make your way to one of the alternative choices above that will be more satisfying and keep your energy levels up for longer.
These are easy lunch box options that can be prepared the night before.
Whole-meal sandwich or pita bread with chicken, ham, tuna or cheese and salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado)
Soup in a flask with whole-meal bread
Turkey wrap with peppers
Brown rice and mixed bean salad
Lentil salad with feta
Smoked mackerel salad
Buying your lunch
Go for whole-meal, rye or seeded bread or pitta instead of white bread
Baked potato – go for a chicken, cottage cheese or tuna topping. Try not to have too much butter. Have plenty of salad
Soups – go for chunky vegetable soups, the thicker the better, lentil soups are a good choice or soups with chicken or fish. Avoid creamed soup. Have a slice of whole-meal bread if having soup.
Salad with some protein is also a good healthy option
It is important to have snacks with you in case you have a long break between meals. Ideally you should be having something to eat every three hours. Stock up on snack foods and keep non-perishable ones with you at all times. Avoid sweets, chocolate bars and vending machines!
Simple suggestions are:
Ryvita with cheese or cottage cheese
Oatcake with nut butter
Plain yoghurt with fruit and nuts
Nuts (one handful) and fruit (apple, banana, grapes, berries, clementines)
Low sugar cereal bar
Rice cakes with nut butter or a thin spread of honey
Hummus with vegetable sticks (carrots, peppers or celery)
Emergency Snacking Plan
The secret to healthy snacking is to be prepared. This applies to anyone who works in an office, works from home or spends a lot of time on the go.
Wherever you are, keep a supply of items such as oatcakes, rice crackers, Ryvita or crackers close by.
If you have access to a fridge you can keep a selection of dips such as hummus or tzatziki as well as a supply of low fat, low sugar yoghurt.
If you’re based at the office or at home make sure you have a fruit bowl and a vegetable selection available at all times.
If you spend more time on the go, take a small Tupperware with fruit or vegetables with you each day. Either keep the items whole or chop them up for topping your oatcakes or rice crackers, or dipping into hummus or tzatziki.
Always have a supply of nuts with you – peanuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, mixed nuts, mixed fruit and nuts. All nuts are great provided you stick to the portion size of one handful per day.
Nut butter is a great portable option that can be smeared on crackers or on fruit. Have a jar in the house of office, take some in a small pot when you’re traveling.
A spoonful of seeds can also be added to snacks as well as meals to help make them more filling.
Remember you can always keep part of your lunch to have as an afternoon snack.
Always consider portion sizes. No snacks are altogether bad but many can be damaging in excess. If you do need to resort to chocolate, muesli bars or crisps, do so in moderation and return to your healthy eating plan later in the day.
Suggested shopping list for healthy eating on the go
For one week (some foods can be kept for more than one week). Sometimes it is cheaper to buy the non-perishable foods in bulk and prepare what you need each day (or the night before).
1 packet of rice cakes, crisp bread and oat cakes, ideally with added seeds or nuts (if kept in an airtight container these will last for 3 weeks)
1 tin tuna
1 packet of ham (4 slices) or a packet of chicken slices. Leftover chicken can also be used
1 bunch of celery
1 tub cottage cheese
1 packet of low fat cheese
1 jar nut butter (there are many choices in supermarkets)
Fruit (apples, clementines, pears, plums)
Nuts unsalted mixed or preferred choice (cashew, almonds, brazil, walnuts), Supermarkets sell large bags of mixed nuts or you can buy in bulk online. Store these in an airtight container
Greek / plain yoghurt 150 ml pots
Wholemeal bread and pitta
A quick note on healthy restaurant / hotel eating
You might not always be able to choose where you eat, but you can control your choices in each environment. When dining in hotels or restaurants:
Avoid all deep fried foods
Avoid sweet sugary drinks
Roasted or grilled meats are best
Make sure you include lots of vegetables with your meal
Stay away from sugar based sauces especially barbecue sauce
Have boiled potatoes instead of chips
Avoid mayonnaise and oily sauces
Don’t necessarily settle for what’s on the menu. If you don’t see anything that suits your needs, make a special request