Convenient food options are often unhealthy options. Muesli bars are full sugar, protein bars are often packed with unnatural ingredients and pre-packaged goods are usually overflowing with additives and preservatives.
So what do you eat when you are on the road or racing between meetings all day? I often get asked what I eat by people that know about my food allergies, those that know what an average day of mine looks like, and sometimes I get asked by those that are just struggling to find a healthy approach to food that they enjoy.
I have never been a big breakfast person. Don’t get me wrong, I love breakfast foods, but rarely do I wake up hungry and feel the urge to eat. I, like our ancestors, the original hunter and gatherers, need to move around and build up an appetite before I eat in the mornings.
I have a few very early starts each week and while I am generally not hungry at 5.30 in the morning, I know that if I don’t eat then, it’s probable that I will not get to eat until midday. On these days I generally opt for:
- a hard-boiled egg or two (depending on how much I feel I am able to force down my throat)
- a smoothie made with whole, natural ingredients that are low in sugar (I forego things like banana that are high in carbohydrates)
- chia seed pudding – always made the night before with almond milk and sometimes blueberries for flavour
- a piece of in season fruit, like a plum or some papaya – on the rare occasion that I have it in the house
These brekkies are all easy to eat / or drink on the go and they are light enough for me to stomach at that time in the morning.
On the days when I know I am going to struggle to find time to stop and take a breath, let alone sit down and re-fuel, I always take little snacks. I find that being prepared helps to ensure that you a) do actually get to eat when hunger rises and b) that you have something healthy on hand.
For me it is not so much about being tempted by naughty options when I am out and about, it’s more about having access to options that I can safely eat. Not only do I follow a Paleo lifestyle, I am coeliac and therefore have to be super careful whenever I eat out or I am on the go.
My go to snacks are pretty simple and they are super easy to throw into the handbag:
- Small pack of nuts – I like almonds or walnuts
- Home made protein balls – I much prefer to make them myself as I know exactly what goes into them (check out Angela’s recipe here)
- Chia gel – similar to the chia pudding but just suspended in coconut water. Great for a burst of energy and I make it with more liquid so you can drink it.
- Chopped up sticks of celery, carrots or capsicum. Throw some hummus in there if you get bored with plain veggies.
I kind of feel the same way about lunch as I do breakfast. I don’t enjoy a big meal during the day. A tuna or chicken salad, left over slices of meat from the night before, or eggs done any which way is sufficient for me. Sometimes I’ll opt for a piece of Venerdi Paleo Bread topped with tomato or some form of protein.
My lifestyle usually enables me to enjoy a wholesome dinner, so I always make sure that I nourish my body with some lean protein and vegetables in a mix of colours. There are a few nights that I get home late though and I am really enjoying home-made soups on those nights, particularly on the chilly winter nights that we’ve been having.
I want to enforce that I am not a nutritionist and by no means am I prescribing an eating plan or advising you what to eat and when, purely sharing my experience and preferences with food. I know it can be really tricky to navigate all of the crazy diet advice that’s floating around on the internet, and I personally choose not to listen to any of it. Instead I choose to listen to my body. I also like to read advice from the experts that push the boundaries a little more – the change makers. Caroline Scott is one of these women. If you’re keen to read more about nutrition from someone a little unconventional, you can check out some of her blogs here…
I tend to take an Ayurvedic approach to food and believe that food can be just as powerful as medicine. I also choose to eat when I am hungry not at prescribed times because society says those set times are socially acceptable.
As I always say, listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else does. If you’re hungry, and I mean genuinely hungry not just bored, then eat. If you’re not hungry, wait until you are, then eat. And to make healthy choices simple, prepare your meals ahead of time.