Q. I want to eat healthy, but feel like I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals. Any advice?
A. So many of us struggle to keep up with our jobs, family, school obligations, recreational activities, workouts, and more. It’s no wonder that we are paying the price health-wise. Many times we hurriedly race out of the door, skipping breakfast, work through our lunch break, and overeat at dinner. We rely heavily on fast food, junk food (vending machine, anyone?), and convenience dinners. Most of us eat out the majority of the week, entertaining clients, friends, or because we are too tired to cook.
Let’s be honest—economically, fast food seems to be an easy solution. Just drive through any fast food joint and you can have your fill for a buck an item if you so choose. While all of these options seem to be a temporary solution, the reality is, you know it’s bad for you. It is only a matter of time– if it hasn’t happened already—that these bad choices will catch up to you. You will see it physically (lackluster skin, bags under the eyes, excess weight, cellulite), you will feel it (decreased energy, irritability, indigestion) and you will also experience inflammation (stiff joints, increased cholesterol, etc.). The good news is you can make healthier choices, still utilizing convenience foods! For example, instead of cooking brown rice the regular way (stovetop, 45 minutes), try microwavable brown rice in a pouch (plain, no sodium). Can of tuna or salmon? They sell individually packaged tuna complete with mayo, relish, and crackers—or you can buy the tuna and salmon in a pouch and consume it as desired (sandwich anyone?). You can also pick a day of the week that you are off (I usually opt for Sunday), make a list, buy your groceries for the week, and cook it.
Buy fish (and other sources of protein), eggs (boil a bunch for the week), instant oatmeal (for a quick breakfast), pre-cut veggies and hummus, fruit that you like, beans, legumes, (try the canned version so you can heat and go).
When you purchase any item find the one with the least amount of sodium; in the case of beans, rinse them before heating in order to cut the sodium by half. Buy ready-mixed salads and add sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, squash, zucchini, garbanzo beans, sliced avocado—whatever you like! I like to add sliced strawberries or mandarin oranges. Drizzle with a little olive oil and you’re good to go! I prepare everything on one day and eat the leftovers throughout the week—the rest is ready to open when I need it. These are just a few ideas, but space will not allow me anymore room. If you need further options, you know who to call!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@101FIT.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com and (239) 333-5771.