protein shakes

How to Eat on the Go

How do you eat on the go?

Our lives are so busy. I don’t know about you guys, but my days are busier than ever. I tend to over-schedule myself, too. I make plans weeks in advance, I work out 5 days a week, and I try to find down time for myself here and there. When things get really crazy busy, it’s hard to spend a ton of time on cooking complicated meals–or even healthy meals some days!

Recently I had to take Michael to urgent care. He was really sick (he’s okay now) and I knew there was a possibility that we’d be in the waiting room for several hours. It was right after work, I’d been hungry for several hours and dinner was going to be late. I grabbed a few things to take along just in case. I took some beef jerky, a string cheese and half a bottle of orange juice. Thankfully our visit was very short but the snacks helped curb the hunger I was feeling in a stressful situation.

So what kind of things are good “grab and go” meals and snacks? These are just a few that come to my mind. I’d love it if you guys would share your ideas, too!

Breakfast burritos. These are fast to make and you can throw anything you want in them. Scrambled eggs with spinach, black beans and corn, or sausage and eggs. Then wrap it in foil to keep it warm and mess-free while you eat it.

Breakfast quesadillas are the same concept as the burritos, maybe a little messier to eat on the go.

String cheese is a favorite of mine. We buy them at Costco so we always have them on hand and they’re only 80 calories. If that doesn’t satisfy my hunger, I can add some nuts to it.

Cottage cheese is a another favorite of mine because it’s so healthy, packed with protein, fills me up and is usually low in calories. I often measure out a serving in a small tupperware container and store them in the fridge for lunches and snacks. It’s quick and easy. There are also small packages at the store that are a serving size.

Greek yogurt is also a good one. Like the cottage cheese, I measure it out in small containers to make it simple on myself. I’ve been buying the plain Greek yogurt at Costco because it’s a better deal than the regular grocery store. I’ll add some honey or agave syrup or fresh fruit to it.

Carrots and hummus are another snack you can assemble ahead of time. Maybe on a weekend? Cut up a bunch of carrots, put them in ziplocks and get the single serving hummus to go.

Cut up some fresh fruit and store it for fast snacks. I eat an apple almost every day and I cut it up into slices because it’s easier to eat and it takes longer to eat! In the summer time I get fresh fruit and eat tons of that, or I’ll get watermelon and cut it up into easy serving sizes.

Protein shakes are also great for “grab and go.” You can throw together whatever you have on hand and get great benefits from the smoothie! Need some recipe ideas? Check out this site and this site. Chocolate milk is also an option if you don’t have time to make a shake.

I’ve been wanting to make these mini quiches forever now. I just need to do it! They look so good! It’s something that could be made on the weekend and would be a great breakfast for the week.

Protein bars are good in a pinch. Be careful though, some of them are really high in calories and sugar. I like the Luna bars, they are usually the only brand I buy. They run between 160-180 calories per bar and they taste great!

Laughing cow cheese with some crackers are great because it’s portion controlled, easy to bring along as a snack in the car and taste great.  In the same realm, a serving size package of tuna and crackers are good, too.

Making it Work

Most of these ideas take just a few minutes to prepare and assemble and then you’re set (and don’t forget your crockpot!). Having things like this on hand in the fridge make it so much simpler to eat something healthy instead of falling into the fast food trap. If you do have to go to a fast food place, try getting a salad or their soup.

Something else I do is: I make ziplock bags with measured out serving sizes of trail mix, nuts, dried fruit and keep it stocked for easy snacking. Then I can just snag a ziplock on the way out the door. This trick also keeps me from eating more than one serving!

Just remember: protein and fiber fills you up more than carbs. It’s also a good idea to avoid things with a lot of sugar in it because if you’re like me, you’ll just crash from it!

QUESTION: So what are your “eat and go” ideas? 

Mastering Food and Fitness

One of the hardest parts of fitness is trying to figure out the food part of the equation. How many calories should I be eating on days I work out? What should I eat before I work out? What should I eat as a recovery snack/meal? Do I have to take a special drink with me to the gym?

These are all valid questions and I’ve wondered the same things. I didn’t want to undo all of my work in the gym by doing the wrong things. It’s taken me years to figure out what works for me. As always, talk to your doctor or see an RD for advice for yourself. But this post is about what worked for me after years of monkeying with different combinations.

A #fitblog chat on Twitter recently covered these topics and I wanted to go through them here.

Q1) What is your favorite pre-workout food?

This is something that alluded me for a very, very long time. I tried everything. Fruit, Greek yogurt, veggies and hummus, toast, English muffins, bagel thins with cream cheese, you name it I tried it. And very few things worked.

I discovered the hard way that bananas did not work–even with peanut butter. There was just too much sugar in the bananas and I’d crash quickly and be famished at the gym. There is nothing worse than trying to finish a workout while your stomach is growling.

What worked for me was eating either Greek yogurt or an English muffin. I don’t know why these specific things worked and other things did not, but I’ve stuck to it ever since. Eating between 100-150 calories about 45 minutes before I go to the gym works for me.

Q2) What’s your favorite recovery food (bonus for foods that are no cook or easy to prepare)?

My recovery snack after the gym varies. When I work out right after work I am usually famished by the time I’m done. I have a small snack of dried apricots to curb the gnawing hunger until I get home and have dinner. I was skeptical that something so small and simple would work but it does. Just eating 3-5 dried apricots gets me through that crazy frenzy!

Other times when I get home and I’m not eating a meal right away, my favorite post-workout snack is chocolate milk or a protein shake. Chocolate milk is simple and it works. I drink about half a glass of it and it gets me through until my next meal.

Q3) What do you eat and drink during long workouts or long runs? 

The only “long workouts” I do are either hiking or cycling. The hiking workouts are easier to prepare for. I pack snacks like protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit or we pack a lunch (sandwiches) to eat along the trail.

When it comes to cycling, proper fueling is crucial. There have been several not-so-great moments where I did not properly fuel or prepare for the bike ride and I “bonked” or crashed. It’s not a good feeling. I get irritable, my brain gets foggy, I am tired and have diminishing motivation to continue on. On long bike rides I do two things: I take GUs with me, or protein bars to eat on breaks. I also mix energy powder into the water bottles. That helps prevent the crash.

The last time this happened was when Michael and I were doing the Slow Carb Diet. We couldn’t take the GUs that we normally eat on bike rides because of the sugar and carbs and the raw almonds just did not do the trick. GUs may be pure sugar, but they work.

Q4) What healthy secret ingredient are you guilty of overusing?

This questions is difficult to answer. There are so many healthy things that help me in my journey to stay fit. We always have some things on hand: fresh fruit and veggies, rice, quinoa, canned beans, and buying proteins at Costco and freezing them so we always have them available.

QUESTION: How would you answer the above questions?