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If you find yourself constantly on the go, then you may not be making healthy food choices, or even working out regularly. The occasional indulgence isn’t going to set you back, but eating out often makes it difficult to follow a healthy, balanced diet.
However, there are a few key ways to stay on track and fuel your busy days with the best nutrition available.
Read the Entire Menu
Even if you’re usually grabbing meals at fast food restaurants, you can still make healthy choices. In fact, most fast food chains have a lighter menu or at least a few healthy options. Your best bet at one of these restaurants is going to be a lean protein and vegetables. Consider getting a healthy salad, or sautéed vegetables paired with grilled meat.
One of the problems with fast food restaurants is that they make it easy to add on unhealthy side dishes. While the main entrée may be fairly lean, adding a soda or fries to your meal is going to derail your healthy eating plan.
If you have the time, visit the website of the restaurants you order from most often. Take a look at their calorie content for each meal and think about what you’re going to order. You’re much more likely to stay on track if you take the time to plan ahead.
Many restaurants, even fast food ones, allow you to substitute high-fat items with lower calorie choices. For example, your meal may come with fries on the side but ask instead if you can get a side of steamed vegetables, soup, or a salad. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate these requests. With your meal, ask for any sauces to be served on the side. A serving of dressing can sneakily be a few hundred calories, but you may only need a small amount of it to be satisfying. You can also look for options to increase the nutrient density of your meals. For example, if you’re ordering a sandwich, ask for a whole grain bread that will be higher in fiber, or order lettuce and tomato in the sandwich to get a fair dose of vegetables as well.
Along with planning your meals, you’re also going to be much less likely to splurge on a candy bar or soda if you have snacks with you. The biggest mistake you can make with your diet is thinking that you won’t get hungry throughout the day. Most people find that they need a snack in the morning or afternoon and, without something handy, will quickly turn to a vending machine. Try to have a few snacks in your bag that are healthy, yet satisfying.
Try some of these delicious options:
Whole-grain granola bar
Avocado on whole-grain toast
When you choose a snack, look for items that contain protein such as nuts, dairy, eggs, and meat. The protein helps provide sustained energy throughout the day, especially when you pair it with good carbohydrates. It is also more filling.
Besides the above options, find snacks that you actually like. Purchase single-serving packs or pre-portion your own snacks and have them handy when you’re traveling. Healthy liquids such as smoothies, green juices, or a protein shake also make for great snacking ideas.
Treat Yo Self
Finally, keep in mind that while eating healthy food is a good practice, you can enjoy the occasional treat. For example, if you’ve eaten clean throughout the week, let yourself enjoy dessert with one of your meals — or some other treat that you know you’ll like. Having a treat every once in a while can also motivate you to stick with your diet the rest of the time.
While being on-the-go can make it challenging to follow a healthy diet, you don’t have to abandon your nutrition. You can find nutritious options on every menu, and avoid over-indulging if you know what to look for. This is the key if you’re traveling or have a busy schedule. Also, remember: a good high-protein breakfast goes a long way in determining your nutrition.