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

Kirkland resident earns Community Hero Award

Joshua Reiss, who helped save a fellow citizen’s life, encourages CPR training.

Attendees at a hand lettering class at The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland on Dec. 9, taught by Camille Robinson of Robinson Paperie, practice their newly acquired skills. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Holiday lettering at Kirkland’s Heathman Hotel

Camille Robinson teaches a hand lettering class to spruce up seasonal letters

As 2018 real estate market wraps up, buyers and sellers prepare for the year ahead

To list or not to list during the holidays? That is the question.

Google hosted their fourth annual musical holiday lights show on the Cross Kirkland Corridor on Dec. 7. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
Google lights up the night along Cross Kirkland Corridor

City of Kirkland and Google gather for holiday fun

Signups open for Kirkland Nourishing Network food boxes for winter break

The group’s goal is to collect and distribute more than 400 boxes of food to families.

EvergreenHealth celebrates DAISY award winners

Third-quarter recipients were nominated by patients’ family members.

Kirkland to hold Styrofest Styrofoam recycling event Dec. 1

Residents can recycle Styrofoam as well as get papers shredded.

Elina Dmitruk uses Garrett King’s photo, “Grand Tetons” as a reference for her landscape painting at Zoka Coffee. She’s been painting this piece for about a month now. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Local artist paints her way into the public eye

Elina Dmitruk paints, “Grand Tetons” at Zoka Coffee

Kiwanis Club tree lot benefits students and other local causes

The Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation is accepting scholarship applications through April 15, 2019.

Malte joins LWTech board

Malte is the CEO emeritus of EvergreenHealth, where he served as its CEO for more than eight years.

KCLS launched their first podcast called The Desk Set. The podcast is hosted by librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calkins. Courtesy of The Desk Set.
KCLS launches first podcast, The Desk Set

Librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calking co-host new podcast.

Celebrate volunteers at Green Kirkland Day

More than 2,000 volunteers help maintain the community’s healthy forests.