We’ve all had those times when day to day life is busy, nonstop, and often full of stress. For the working professional, getting quality nutrition on a daily basis can be a bit daunting. I’d like to share 3 ways to improve your nutrition even when pressed for time.
1) Take advantage of periods of downtime to prepare food for the week.
A 9-5 schedule doesn’t allow much time for food prep or meal planning especially when you need to make it to the gym, travel home, and spend time with family, etc. I suggest setting aside a 2-4 hour block of time to prepare meals for the week. Not only will this save you from eating out every day for lunch, you’ll also ensure that you are consuming foods that will support your health and fitness goals.
- Cook protein sources in bulk. Meats such as chicken, beef, turkey or pork can be cooked in larger quantities that can last you multiple days. Access to a slow cooker or crock pot can be a huge time saver. Put your choice of meat in the slow cooker, add spices, set it on low and let it work. There is no constant checking needed, the slow cooker will take care of it for you.
- Buy glass pyrex dishware to store your meals. You can prepare complete meals, keeping enough in the refrigerator for 2-3 days’ worth while freezing the others. When you start to run low, simply pull your meals from the freezer to the fridge to thaw.
- Make super shakes that contain a lot of nutrition. Here is a sample recipe (you can add ingredients like cinnamon, canned pumpkin, applesauce and others for endless shake combinations)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen berries
1-2 scoops protein powder
Handful of spinach
½ cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
*You can adjust amounts depending on your individual goals and nutrition requirements according to recommendations from your trainer or nutritionist
2) Consider high protein snacks to fill in between meals
Snacks high in protein keep you fuller longer. Many clients do not consume adequate amounts of protein, although very important for success. For males, shoot for 2 palm sized servings of protein at each meal/snack. For females, shoot for 1 palm sized serving of protein at each meal or snack. Try these simple snack ideas to help bridge the gap between your main meals or when time is very limited.
-Protein shake with almonds or peanut butter
-Greek yogurt with blueberries and handful of nuts
-cottage cheese with fruit and/or nuts
-hard boiled eggs
3) Plan your meals for the week
Piggybacking off of #1, have a good idea of what your meal plan will look like for the week. If you know you’re in a meeting Monday morning, be sure to prepare a shake or a simple enough snack that won’t disrupt the meeting. Being consistent with your nutrition is very important to long term success. Some planning and preparation will go a long way towards achieving your particular goals. I suggest spending 4 of your 168 total weekly hours to prepare your meals. Those 4 hours could keep you on track or derail you completely. Whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle, solid nutrition is the foundation for your success.
Give these strategies a try and let me know what you think!