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

From left: Flower Pot program chair Anne Hess, KDA executive director Michael Friedline, and Flower Pot program chair Kathy Feek pose near flower pots in downtown Kirkland with a sample of the new plaques. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
Looking to adopt a flower pot?

Kirkland Downtown Association continues to keep downtown beautiful and vibrant.

Ayuka Sakak, Hadley Cole, KJ Bradley, Cate Harrington, Willow Cook and Shreya Jaisingh of the LEGO Lassies were acknowledged for their accomplishments at the Kirkland City Council meeting on April 2. Courtesy photo.
Kirkland Council proclaims April LEGO Lassies month

The sixth-grade robotics team will be going to the world championships next week.

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.

Courtesy photo
                                Sophia Gonzalez of ICS was the 151st Coca Cola Scholar at this year’s Scholar’s Banquet in Atlanta, GA.
Two LWSD students receive $20,000 Coca Cola scholarships

Sarah Raza (RHS) and Sophia Gonzalez (ICS) were selected for their community service work.

St. Jude Parish members assembled Need Kits with hygiene products at the annual Service Day on March 30. Need Kits were also assembled by elders of 10 assisted living communities. The elderly also donated motivational art cards to put inside each kit. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
St. Jude’s Service Day Program helps combat poverty

The annual service day helps organizations that help Eastside communities experiencing poverty and abuse.

Kirkland community invited to celebrate Earth Month with city

Events throughout April will help residents go green.

Premera awards grant to Friends of Youth in Kirkland

The grant is part of $595,000 in grants to six nonprofit organizations across Washington to support behavioral health solutions.

Financial Peace University to be offered at Kirkland church

Courses will include lessons on budgeting, relationships and money, getting out of debt and more.

Ryug Frostinson’s home for fairies, elves and gnomes open at Kirkland’s Juanita Park

The tree’s potential as hobbit housing was revealed during a routine tree assessment to ensure the safety of parks users.

Most Read