A Daily Healthy Eating Guide.
Eating well is a struggle we all face. Since most of us have the challenge of balancing busy schedules, we often don't eat the way we want to. We push eating healthy to the backburner and then feel guilty when we aren't eating great. To make things easier and just get us all started on the right track I've put together a simple daily plan with reasonable options for those of us living life on-the-go.
Need Help Figuring Out Where to Start? Keep Reading !
If you dream of having each day full of healthy food to rival your favorite bloggers and Instagram pages, I can help. It may seem overwhelming to try to make changes to your daily meal plans but delicious, good-for-you days are entirely attainable! So let's get started making the shift to reach those goals by trying out this simple daily guide!
Written By: Ila Meza
Health guru, yoga enthusiast and Voke editor.
On long busy days, it can be fun to scroll through Instagram or read blogs of exciting ways to live and eat healthily. These talented lifestyle bloggers and insta-influencers share images and recipes for perfectly prepared fruit, huge yummy salads and endless beautiful acai bowls or smoothies with colorful fruit that you probably can't find at your local grocery store.
It’s a fantastic world of bright and healthy eating that seems just beyond our reach. It would be great to have the time to create these fruit and veggie masterpieces but that's not always practical for most of us since we work full-time jobs, and sometimes two.
Most hectic weekday mornings are a rush, and not all of us can enjoy an hour each morning before having water with lemon or another hour before a massive platter of perfectly sliced fruits to start our day the way many healthy eating bloggers suggest.
I’m sure if you had time you’d be making healthy meals of your own, but it's hard fitting in work and working out, running errands and being there for family and friends.
That being said, I do think there is a way to have simple, fast and healthy solutions so those of us who barely have time to get out the door can still enjoy what and how we eat. And, I think you can work your way towards making those huge smoothie bowls from Instagram one step at a time, but let's start with some basics.
A study conducted for Statista at the end of 2017 showed the share of consumers who skip breakfast during the week in the United States is 62% which is a rise from 57% in 2015. Thats 5% more people skipping breakfast in only 2 years.
In the early morning rush, getting ready for work, getting breakfast for the kids or taking the dog out, we tend to forget to get breakfast for ourselves, and often we feel like there isn't time to eat something healthy.
There is time to have something good for you since breakfast can be fast, easy and nutrition packed. There’s never a good reason to miss out on all the nutrients your body needs to keep working.
People who skip breakfast have lower levels of essential vitamins like calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, vitamins A, E, B6, C and folate according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
Consider buying natural protein bars. The options for protein-packed bars are incredible. So many choices are all organic, or vegan-friendly if that's your dietary ideal, and they give you lots of energy throughout your morning, that way if you need to, you can snack on one in the car on your way to the office.
For mornings you have a bit more time, you can make toast with peanut butter, or if you luck out on a few extra minutes, you can make up some avocado toast!
Avocados are famously great for you. Did you know that avocados are actually a fruit and have the highest protein content of Any fruit?
Honestly it's easier if you plan ahead and stock your fridge with easy to grab and easy-to-eat options, so you don’t have to think about what to eat when you’re on your way to work.
Bananas (Potassium) and oranges (Vitamin C) are great options so you can have fruit on the go, helping you to eat well and boost your energy naturally. That way you still get a fruit-filled morning, just to a faster and more practical degree. And, bonus, eating nutrition packed food first thing will help keep you from making bad food decisions later in the day.
Once you get comfortable having consistent breakfasts you can test out protein shake recipes and smoothies to pack in even more vitamins and nutrients to start your day.
( See simple smoothie bowl recipe at the bottom of the post)
Breakfast is the meal responsible for regulating your metabolism so try not to miss out on the benefits of eating in the morning.
Lunches are tricky for most of us, especially if you run to grab a bite with a coworker.
If you don’t have time to plan out and prepare healthy decadent salads like the ones you see on Instagram, that's perfectly fine. In a high paced, high energy world we can still make better choices even if we don’t often have time to make lunches on our own.
Grabbing lunch with a coworker or squeezing in lunch before a meeting can still be healthy and fun. You can choose a vegetable option, and suggest places other than fast-food locations.
Even better, you can swing by your corner Whole Foods or Trader Joes to grab a healthy tofu wrap or build your own salad to go. It won’t take much time and is still fun to eat on the run. Plus you can get plenty of fruits and vegetables even if you didn't have time to dice them yourself.
If you do have time to prep lunch in advance, here is one of my favorite 5 minute recipes.
Avocado-tuna Stuffed Bell Peppers:
1 large bell pepper sliced in half, center/stem removed
1 avocado (pit removed)
1 can tuna (a can of chicken, or even diced tofu depending on your preference)
1/4 diced purple or sweet onion
1tsp lime juice
Sprinkle of salt to taste
Sprinkle of Cayanne if you like a spicy kick to your food
Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well. Spoon avocado tuna into the half of bell pepper and enjoy!
The remaining avo-tuna mix can be kept in the refridgerator for 3-4 days to be used for easy sandwhiches on the go, or to be eaten in bell peppers for added veggie crunch and requires almost no clean up.
( This variation of tuna salad does not require mayonaise of any kind which increases it's nutritional value. The protein itself is also extreamly beneficial for a busy weekday lunch. )
If you skip breakfast you are twice as likely to choose unhealthy options for lunch and you will consume an average of 4.9% more food during lunch. Lunch is tricky enough without adding over-eating to the mix.
Most of us are able to make it home in time for dinner and have more time and options than earlier in the day.
Some of us balance later hours at work or kids, a workout, activities, errands or to-do lists before figuring out something good to eat. It feels easiest to order a pizza or toss in lasagna and call it good, but you don’t have to limit yourself to what you think is convienient.
There are so many healthy dinners available now that take little effort and make all the difference in promoting healthy evenings even when your energy is fading.
Costco and Whole Foods, for example, have a vast selection of family size meals that are packed with vegetables and are easy to prepare if you have less time and extra mouths to feed.
Yup, that's right, they have vegetarian and even vegan dinner choices out there that you can toss in a pan or in the oven so you can multitask a healthy dinner and all the other things happening in your life.
According to the CDC, fewer than 1 in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables daily or weekly. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends planing one to two meals a week with a vegetable as a main course for dinner to increase daily intake of essential nutrients and vitamins. These recommendations can also be found at ChooseMyPlate.gov ( the updated version of the food pyramid ).
Side note: In the same amount of time it takes to heat up a meal in the oven you could be chopping or preparing vegetables for a delicious, well-balanced dinner.
Once you have a few veggie-focused meals figured out, you can prepare fresher dinners, you can get the family involved in food-prep, or you can watch your favorite show while making something yummy and healthy.
According to research presented on Goodnet.org "The average restaurant meal has as much as 60% more calories than a homemade meal. Combine the fact that portions served in restaurants are continuing to expand with the fact that when we’re presented with more food, we’re more likely to eat more food, and it becomes clear that eating at home is simply healthier."
Alright, here’s the best part. With all those fantastic blogs and suggestions for healthy meals and lifestyle choices, there is one thing that allows you actually to try out some of these great recipes; it’s called the weekend!
The best time to try out new things is with a little more time and flexibility in your schedule. The added time on the weekend opens you up to options like waiting an hour after you get up to drink water and lemon or having time to slice and dice crazy tropical fruits.
Go ahead, make that smoothie or acai bowl, test out fun breakfast or dinner recipes. It will get easier and faster to prepare these healthy options with some practice on the weekends. That means once you have the methods down you can even add them to your regular work week.
Plus you’ll have time to plan healthy meals ahead and even get outdoors with friends, your family, or your dog, to hunt down a farmers market for fresh fruit and veggie stands near you.
Smoothie Bowl recipe:
1 banana ( can be frozen)
1 cup frozen berries (Costco sells an acai berry mix which is full of antioxidant-rich berries and quite delicious)
½ cup to a cup of coconut milk (or almond milk if that is your preference)
1 tsp honey or agave
½ cup spinach
Option for 1-2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder
Blend well, starting with the spinach to break it down so the whole smoothie blends and is smooth and thick. Pour into bowl. Top with sliced bananas or strawberries, a drizzle of honey or agave and your choice of granola or chia seeds.
If using chia seeds, let them sit an extra minute to expand.
According to a survey done by Spatone, 83% of women admit to over-doing it on the weekend, consuming unhealthy foods in excess.
The weekend should be an opportunity to increase your healthy eating and getting you outdoors! Take advantage of the additional time in your schedule.
Long Story Short:
Most of these ideas seem straightforward, but it is nice to clearly see a daily plan to make healthy eating decisions easy.
Make a little extra time this weekend to plan ahead, shop around and maybe buy differently, so you are ready for your next busy week.
Taking care of yourself, eating a real sustainable breakfast, even if it’s really quick, is incredibly important. You have to remember self-care means you are building yourself up first so you have the energy and opportunity to be there for those you love.
It is fantastic to pursue healthy lifestyles the way you see them presented, but it is also fabulous to live practically for you and work your way towards your goals, whatever they may be.
There are simple solutions out there to eat and live a healthier life, and it’s incredible when you can find something that really works for you to make your days even better.
Making time to eat well and consume foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients means you are choosing to live a healthier fuller life. Small improvements like having a fruit and protein packed breakfast will balance your metabolism, increase your energy and help you make better food choices throughout your busy day.
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