Eat on the Run: 3 Ways to Master the Grab-it-and-Go Lifestyle

Let’s face it, we all live busy lives. While we're all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, finding the time to eat and eat right can become quite a challenge. To help you champion your health and fitness goals, here are three timesaving snacking strategies:

1) Plan.

Prior to the week's start review your schedule and jot down a plan of action (POA). The purpose of the POA is to forecast opportunities and unforeseeable barriers. An opportunity may include a walk break to the farmers market for some fresh produce. An unforeseeable barrier may be an unscheduled meeting pushed into your lunch hour.

Next, note the design of your schedule. Are you the type to wake up, train, shower, grab a coffee and pastry (or other) on your way to the office to make that 8:00 AM meeting, only to run on fumes until 1 PM? Does your travel dictate when, where, and what type of food you eat? Are you starving in a dessert leading into those evening hill-repeats? Take note of what’s working and what’s not, then jot it down. Writing down your insights improves awareness, accountability, and the likelihood of change.

Lastly, write three “SMART” goals for the beginning of each week and place them in a spot you see everyday, such as on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic and time-bound. Here’s an example of a SMART goal to get you started:

“Wake up 15 minutes early, four out of seven mornings, to prepare breakfast. Breakfast will include: One hard-boiled egg*, blanched greens, and a ½ cup steel-cut oats*, with one orange.”

*Prepared in advance.

2) Prepare.

Got obstacles? Find solutions! Once you have determined the obstacles that thwart your best intentions to eat right and train, it’s easier to find solutions. Below are four common daily nutrition obstacles (and solutions) that people regularly face:

Obstacle: Breakfast on the run. Solution: The slow cooker.

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Who’s got time to eat breakfast? You do. A slow cooker is an ideal way to prepare morning cereals while you sleep. Before going to bed, measure, rinse, and drain some steel cut oats and prepare according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Upon waking, place the cooked oats in a heat-resistant container and top with your favorite fruits and nuts. Have a few bites on your way to cycle class or immediately following the workout. Include a hard-boiled egg and some fruit to help curb hunger and increase satiety.

Obstacle: Unable to take a break. Solution: Personal mini cooler or storage.

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Stuck behind a desk all day? No problem. Keep food choices convenient and compact. Store your favorite go-to lunch or snack items in a mini cooler and non-perishables in a large sealed plastic container. The storage size for the non-perishables should be large enough to contain a selection of the following items:

  • Dried fruits and nuts, pre-packaged individual serving sizes (You can buy these at Trader Joe’s and other select grocery stores)

  • Apple sauce, individual serving sizes

  • Shelf stable milk or “milk” product, 8 ounce size

  • Nutritional shake product, complete with protein, fiber, Omega-3’s, antioxidants, probiotics and greens, such as Vega One.

  • Meal bars, containing at least 12 grams of protein

  • Shaker bottle

Obstacle: Limited food choices while traveling. Solution: The Special Needs Bag.

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Much like the “special needs bag” offered at the halfway point of the 112-mile bike at Ironman, consider traveling with your very own special needs travel bag. A special needs bag contains foods that boost energy and satiety for the day ahead. It can be quite tricky to find healthy, wholesome, and fresh sources of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins when traveling. To make things more complicated, the timing of when we eat is often dependent upon scheduled flights, meetings, or social gatherings. This brings us back to “Obstacle: Unable to take a break”. Consider packing some of these healthy food choices in your special needs travel bag. Stay energized and true to your nutrition plan while on the go!

Obstacle: Hitting a wall before or after a workout. Solution: Trunk Snacks.

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Stock the trunk of your car with non-perishable foods that keep you fuelled from start to finish. Much like the items listed under “Obstacle: Unable to take a break” create a bin that also contains your favorite gels, electrolyte replacement fluids, and recovery fuels. Make sure you have another shaker bottle and an additional water bottle to mix beverages. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

3.   Practice.

Practice not only makes perfect, it makes permanence. Practice builds habits that can become a permanent part of ones lifestyle. Practicing to eat regular meals and snack throughout the day (every 2 to 3 hours) while selecting healthy food choices is similar to mastering shifting gears fluidly along a winding road. Eventually, both become second nature.

Preparing, practicing and planning require one more “P” word: Patience. Be patient with yourself and expect success. The key is to be solution-oriented so that each and every day brings you closer to your own personal nutritional success.

These strategies are relatively easy to follow. Once you have them down pat, you’ll feel better equipped at tackling business meetings, play dates, and late evening tempo-runs.

Have any suggestions to add to this list? Let us know in the comment section below!

This article was written by Dorette Franks, founder of Fueling 4 Life and co-owner of Trifiniti Endurance. Dorette offers individual, group, and cooperate fitness and nutrition wellness coaching to those seeking nutrition balance, weight loss and athletic performance. Her training plans have been utilized by Nike, The San Francisco Aids Foundation, the Golden Gate Triathlon Club, and has received accolades in SHAPE, Runners World, and Women's Health magazines.

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Mio Global
Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Mio Global
Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 7:19PM
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