With super busy lives today, juggling all those balls in the air can be quite the circus act, so for many of us eating on the go tends to be major theme in our lives surrounding meals. We eat out a lot, grab something from the drive thru, the snack bar, the convenient store, or buy pre-made meals to stock up our refrigerators throughout the week. While we get some healthy foods in our bodies that are quick and easy, like a salad, cut veggies with ranch dip, or an apple and banana, somehow consuming that fast food or Chinese take-out 3-4 times a week kind of defeats the purpose. Over time, this lifestyle of food choices starts to weigh on us and it shows up various ways: poor appearance, illness, and all kind of low grade symptoms like headaches, lethargy, fatigue, and digestive upset. As you may know, not fueling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body functions as well as the overall fitness benefits (or deficits experienced). Even though healthy eating is important, there are myths that hinder your fitness performance and overall physical well-being if you listen to them.
Below, you’ll find 10 alternatives to eating on the go and see new ways to approach food!
1. Working out on an empty stomach.
That rumbling noise and hunger pains in your stomach is trying to tell you something. Skipping a meal before your workout is forcing your body to run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do any physical activity, always eat a light snack such as an apple, banana, or handful of almonds.
2. Relying on energy bars and drinks.
Although they are fine every once in a while, they are still a processed food. Unless they are organic, they will most likely be laced with chemicals and preservatives too. Processed foods don’t deliver the quality of nutrients and antioxidants your cells need to function properly. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets, as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid, and fiber.
3. Skipping breakfast.
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as your body comes out of a 6-10 hour resting phase from the night. Your body used fuel to heal and repair cellular damage throughout the night, as well as any other bigger injuries or illnesses while you sleep. It’s important to replenish what was used as you start your day. It wakes up your organs, makes your digestive tract move, and moves the fog out of your brain. You’ll be expending a lot of energy throughout the day, so a good breakfast gives you that jump start needed to go-go-go. The rule of thumb is to eat something 1 hour after you wake up, and always remember to drink plenty of water through out the day!
4. Low carb diets.
Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy. It’s important not to confuse a low carb diet with the need for quality carbohydrates. Many people who go on low carb diets do so because they consume way too much refined white flour, wheat, gluten, and sugars in processed breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, pastry, and other snack foods. White flour that has been processed and stripped of all it’s nutritious properties has zero nutrition or healthy qualities. So people who get hooked on carbs are doing so because the body is HUNGRY and missing quality nutrients. Feeding it empty calories always leads to over eating the wrong foods. The best bet here is to cut out all the “white” carbs, and replace them with quality grains! Whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.
5. Eating what you want.
Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or not, as well as fruits and vegetables. I have seen people hit a hard workout at the gym, only to hit McDonald’s drive-thru on the way home! You simply cannot expect to have a healthy body by rationalizing and justifying junk food binges per a strenuous workout schedule. If anything, working out hard and following it up with fast food, fried food, low quality food junk food puts MORE stress on the body and it’s systems, than eating nothing at all after a workout.
6. Not enough calories.
I personally do not count calories. I find people get trapped in the mind game of calorie counting and it becomes a vicious cycle. Start thinking in terms of portion control and eating for nutrition! Although losing weight involves calories, losing it too quickly is never safe. It’s healthier to aim for 1 – 2 pounds of weight loss per week. Now if a person is going to the extreme with heavy workouts and trying to function on a deprivation diet of 800 calories per day, that’s a problem! Always make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly. And you’ll get enough calories if you eat QUALITY food in adequate controlled healthy portions.
7. Skip soda, sports drinks, commercial juices, kids drinks, and alcohol.
These items are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, and additives that not only overload us with toxins, but they dehydrate the body faster than fast! Water is the absolute best fluid to drink for everyone, especially active people. You should drink often, and not rely on thirst to be an indicator. If you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated! Not good! Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces per day, minimum, and work your way up to 1 gallon per day. Clean water free from chlorine, fluoride, lye, prescription drug run off, bacteria, viruses, and anything else that’s found in our water supply. I personally drink Kangen alkaline water, but spring water, filtered water, and even reverse osmosis water is suitable for some people. It’s all personal preference. Stay away from tap water and bottled water!
8. Alternatives to water.
Choose organic fruit juices not from concentrate, organic raw ciders, organic white tea, organic green tea & other herbal teas, organic coffee, and organic coconut water. If you consume dairy, always buy organic milk. Read labels on the almond and soy milks from big commercial companies as they do put in certain ingredients that are synthetic to the body and really not healthy for you at all. It’s best to make your own almond or soy milk at home! In fact, I vote to stay away from soy all together, but for those out there that do consume it, get organic and be careful with commercialized soy milks. The rule of thumb here is to always choose to drink liquids that are as close to the earth and their raw state as you can get. If you cannot read, pronounce, or comprehend ingredients listed on the label, then consider it a chemical concoction!
9. When eating on the go…
Instead of grabbing that candy bar, reach for an apple and handful of almonds. Swap the peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread for a veggie wrap in a whole grain tortilla. Plan the night before to pack some food baggies full of easy-to-pop-in-your-mouth-foods: Grapes, carrots, celery, banana, apple, nuts, seeds like raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds, or 1/2 a veggie wrap or pita sandwich.
10. Sweets, forbidden foods, and desserts.
I have found when I’m clean inside and really feeding my body what it needs, I do not crave junk food, fast food, salty food, or desserts! And when I do crave them, it doesn’t take much to satisfy that craving. But hey, just because I live clean doesn’t mean I have to deprive myself of a tasty little treat from time to time! So I try to meet in the middle and find healthier versions of my old favorites to enjoy. Some examples:
* Swap Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
* Swap Conventional pies loaded with white flour, processed sugar, chemicals, and preservatives with an organic pie that uses a gluten free flour/crust, organic ingredients like eggs, milk, fruit, pumpkin, etc. and swap out that granulated sugar for Agave Nectar or Stevia.
* Swap Hershey’s chocolate bars for Organic Raw Milk Chocolate.. and the same with chocolate and caramel or chocolate and peanut/almond bars etc.
* Swap conventional brownie mix for the gluten free organic chocolate mix.
* Organic strawberries and organic whipped cream is waist friendly and sweet!
Changing how you eat is always a great step towards a healthier lifestyle resulting in a healthier you!The healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel. No matter how old you may be, it’s never too late to start adopting healthier food choices. Your body will notice the difference immediately and will reward you with outward manifestations of a cleaner internal environment. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at all just how much it can change your quality of life!