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

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

  • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 11:30am
  • 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

Despite ‘wait-and-see’ approach from Feds on interest rates, real estate ticking onward

Though the feds are in a wait-and-see mood there are benefits to buying and/or selling now versus waiting.

Songwriter group to hold showcase to benefit incoming Kirkland shelter

The showcase will be from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Den Coffee Shop in Bothell.

Crème Tangerine celebrates Beatles’ White Album’s 50th anniversary at KPC. From left: Rick Jones, Daniel Grant, and Tim Mushen. Madison Miller/staff photo
Creme Tangerine plays Beatles’ White Album for 50th anniversary

The band played the entire White Album at the Kirkland Performance Center on Jan. 31.

Getting to know cops over coffee in Kirkland

Large crowd of varied law enforcement, patrons bond over java at Juanita Starbucks.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology - Reporter file photo
LWTech to hold community resource fair on Feb. 12

The event will bring resources together to support low-income, marginalized populations who face multiple barriers.

Kirkland Arts Center announces Amanda Reeves as new development director. Courtesy photo.
Reeves named as development director for Kirkland Arts Center

Reeves first joined the arts center development team in 2017.

LWSD earns place on advanced placement district honor roll

More students are taking and succeeding in AP courses.

LWSD kindergarten registration begins Feb. 7

Parents can register their students at their neighborhood schools.

Green Kirkland and University of Washington students supervise local volunteers and demonstrate how to properly and completely remove invasive plants. Kailan Manandic/staff photo
Green Kirkland, UW students supervise MLK Jr. Day of Service

Volunteers will remove invasive plant species from Kirkland parks, replacing them with natives.

‘Alaska Suite’ performance set for Jan. 18

The show will be at Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church and feature live music, spoken word, images and poetry.

LWSD budget earns meritorious budget award for second year

Award reflects district’s strategic goal of being fiscally responsible.

Starting the new year with a plunge at Marina Park

Eastsiders plunge into Lake Washington for the 17th Annual Polar Plunge.