How to eat healthy and stay in shape on-the-go
We lead increasingly busy lives, which can take its toll on your health and fitness goals
There is a constant challenge in making the daily cycle of work-gym-food-chill-sleep-repeat as efficient as possible. By following three simple rules, you can ensure your diet stays healthy and in shape when you’re on the go.hree simple rules, you can ensure your diet stays healthy and in shape when you’re on the go.
Samantha Paget is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Metabolic Balance coach, based in central London.
1) Prioritise protein
"Arguably the most challenging meal component to include on the go, protein supports the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue and keeps your energy levels steady throughout the day.
"You want to aim for at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day.
"However the problem with many on-the-go options is that they are light on protein and heavy on the carbohydrates, so it becomes difficult to meet this daily protein requirement."
Fast food is always available, but it doesn't always offer the best healthy options.
"The high street offers up some really nice on-the-go breakfast choices nowadays. You can pop into most places for an egg-based breakfast in a takeaway cup; eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make itself."
With your lunch, the situation is similar.
"At lunchtime, you’re better off avoiding the sandwich section if you’re looking for a higher protein meal.
"Try combining a chicken or tuna salad with a lentil soup - pulses are a good vegetable source of protein.
"If you do fancy a sandwich, a good trick is to buy two of the same sandwich, discarding one full set of bread, and combining the filling of both sandwiches into one."
Samantha also has specific rules for crafting your own healthy lunch.
"Whether you’re making dinner yourself or eating at a restaurant, protein should take up 25%-50% of your plate.
"It doesn’t have to be complicated; opt for grilled chicken, fish or steak, for example, and then add as big a variety of vegetables as you can manage and a smaller proportion of complex carbohydrates."
2) Take your time
Wolfing down your food will not work wonders for your health and physique.
Paget says: "In an online survey on eating around the dining table, results showed people often multi-tasked when it came to eating their meals.
"21% of UK adults find themselves eating at their desk or workplace four to five times a week, and a whopping 54% of people said they prefer to watch TV whilst they eat."
This can have a detrimental effect on your food choices.
"Although it’s difficult to pry yourself away from the screen when you’re busy at work or catching up on Netflix, mindful eating has been shown to reduce both meal size and increase satiety (feeling of fullness).
"Also, a 2013 study showed that thinking about your food at mealtimes without distraction acted as a viable weight loss approach without the need for calorie counting."
Top tip: find a quiet 10-15 minute spell to enjoy your meal.
3) Read the label
Knowing what goes into your food is essential in making the right healthy choices.
"If you’re no stranger to eating on the go, you’re inevitably going to find yourself grabbing pre-packaged food off the shelves at some point.
"23% of UK adults say what they eat the most is pre-packed / ready meals. The problem with convenience food is that it often contains preservatives to keep it edible for longer, so it’s not as nutritionally beneficial compared to fresh food."
When you're deciding on what to eat, read the labels and look out for the following:
- Too much salt - adults should not exceed 6g of salt per day
- Partially hydrogenated oil - this is a trans fat, which means its chemical structure has been altered in the cooking process, through a process called hydrogenation. Food typically high in trans fats are baked goods such as cakes and doughnuts, fried foods and margarine
- Ingredients that end in "ose" - these are all forms of sugar, as are honey and corn sweeteners
Eating healthy on-the-go can be done to help you stay in shape - it's just about making the right decisions each time.
Read more on how your diet can help you ditch the Dad bod