Hello! I'm Jamie. Now that's all settled, I want to tell you about the past two weeks of my life, and what I've discovered about being incredibly busy while also trying to stay healthy. I work a full time job in the daytime. I'm in an office all day, sitting. First of all, this is not good for keeping my metabolism active, and it also makes for some achy joints. For the past two weeks, I also took on a farm sitting job for some friends of mine. They have 11 horses, 3 dogs, 4 chickens and 3 parrots. With twice daily feedings, my daytime job, getting the dogs out for exercise, and socializing with the birds, the days have been jam packed, and there have been times when I've been challenged to find time to figure out healthy food, and there have been several days where I haven't worked out at all. I'm sure many of us have experienced these times, and wonder, what's to be done? This is especially true with cooking a full healthy meal when we're incredibly busy already. I came up with a few things that have really helped me to keep my diet healthy, as well as energizing for my long and hectic days. Feel free to share yours too!
1) ALWAYS eat a healthy and energizing breakfast. I start my day with hot tea or hot lemon water. My breakfast is usually when I get my complex carbohydrates in through grains. My fiancee and I have shared whole grain cereals or granola on some mornings, and on morning when he has to leave for work early, I've had Starbucks oatmeal with the seeds and fruit mixes. These are relatively low in calories, and provide energy to get the day started. They also keep me full until my next meal. If you really need the caffeine to kick start you (as I have had to do this second week), make it a low calorie non fat latte, or just black coffee! I enjoy a tall nonfat latte at Starbucks, which is 90 calories, but it really does help me to wake up and get energized. On days when I already feel awake, my tea is enough. I also follow breakfast with a bottle of water. Always, always hydrate.
2) Lunch on the go: I have to admit, most days I've been so busy, I can't prepare a complex lunch meal. I've been eating many fresh salads, with almonds, dried cranberries, and a little chicken. You can buy a rotisserie chicken at most groceries already cooked. I'll put some of the chicken breast over greens with some fruit and nuts with a light dressing. If you just can't put anything together, find a restaurant near your workplace that offers healthy options. Even on a budget, this can be done. Chic-Fil-A offers very good wraps, and Wendy's has fair salads if you're in a pinch. I enjoy McAlisters Savannah salad, which is very similar to the one I make above. I again opt for water, or non-caffeinated green tea. Many groceries offer healthy, pre-made options such as salads, chicken and side options, or even protein shakes! Which reminds me:
3) Shakes! Protein, or even simple fruit and vegetable shakes are a great option as meal replacements, or snacks on the go. You can make these the night before, and have them ready in the refrigerator for the next day. I usually have one mid afternoon to help boost me back up. One of my favorite combinations is 1 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/2 banana, handful of blueberries, handful of spinach, and a few frozen strawberries. It gives me a bit of protein from the yogurt, plenty of potassium from the banana and the coconut water, tons of nutrients and antioxidants in the berries and spinach, and it is so refreshing! I like the frozen strawberries because they make it cold and add a punch of flavor. Fruit and vegetable juices are also another option!
4) I find that the hardest part of the day is dinner. Many times I end up with a late evening, and not much time to cook before bed time. In this case, I sometimes resort back to my smoothies, or a fruit and vegetable juice blend I make with my juicer. Other options are the same pre-made options listed above. Rotisserie chickens really are worth investing in when you have a busy week. The meat can be added to any number of quick meals for a light dinner. We are fortunate to have many fruit options that are right outside our door, so we'll pop some frozen fruits into the blender and have that with a quick salad. Frozen, non-sauce vegetables are also quick and easy to steam in a pinch.
Always go with the options that work best for you, and allow you to stay healthy on your schedule. I make a point to take note of options that are available when I'm not as busy, so they are stored in the back of my mind when I do get overwhelmed. Last night, my fiancee and I enjoyed whole grain subs that he picked up at the grocery, with tuna, spinach, mustard, onions and peppers. We sat outside as the dogs played and the horses ate. Even though we didn't cook the meal, and the ingredients weren't what we'd usually use, it was a filling, and energizing meal, and we were able to take a few minutes to simply unwind, and relax after both of our long days. Always make sure to take a few minutes to yourself, even if it is while you are eating, to rest your mind and body, and enjoy your food. I hope this helps some that are on hectic schedules, and again, definitely share your ideas as well! In parting, here is a photo I grabbed of me with one of the critters. I know I know, I could get stepped on. But sometimes it's important to simply feel the grass under my feet, and breathe the air around me, and enjoy the beauty of the day. Make sure you take time to do the same so the world doesn't rush by us!