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Health & Nutrition

For Mums and Dads! - Eating on the Run

One of the biggest stumbling blocks of any healthy eating plan is just that…the fact that it’s a “plan”. It’s not always easy to consistently predict where you’ll be, when you’ll be hungry and what you will want to eat! Snacking can either help or hinder your diet depending on the type of snacks you choose.

It is a well known fact that eating on the run can be disastrous to any healthy eating plan as the options available in local shops and convenience stores always seem to be high calorie, high fat and high sugar snack foods. Also, by the time you stop to buy something you could be starving so you pick the nearest most attractive and satisfying thing, which is usually a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps! So how do you avoid this particular pit fall? Be prepared! There are lots of easy ways to make sure that you can still eat healthily whilst on the run.

1. When cooking the evening meal, cook a little extra so you can put it in a lunchbox and refrigerate for the next day. Reheat meals properly to avoid food poisoning.

2. Cook extra. Instead of cooking one chicken breast, cook several at a time and refrigerate.

3. Rice and pasta salads are fine cold the next day.

4. Prepare enough salad vegetables for a 3-4 servings; leave out the wet vegetables like tomatoes so that it won’t go soggy. Cut up raw vegetables and store in plastic containers in the fridge.

5. Boil a dozen eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are excellent snack for eating on the go. They keep well and are a great source of protein.

6. Fill a wholegrain pitta with left over salad from the night before. Pitta breads freeze well; just defrost them in the toaster when required.

7. Most local shops sell healthy snack bars, go for muesli bars instead of chocolate.

8. There are lot of healthier options available in café’s now. Go for bagels or wraps.

9. If you fancy something sweet, a smoothie is a real treat. However, they can be a bit expensive but they have so much nutrition in them and are very filling. Go for fruit mixes such as berries for added nutrition and amke sure the yoghurt is non fat.

10. Always carry a bottle of water with you. Being fully hydrated ensures you won’t get a false hunger and will help you concentrate and keep tiredness at bay.

11. A flask of soup is a traditional mobile meal! Soups are healthy and low fat, are easy to prepare and keep for a few days when refrigerated.

Snacks:

1. Fruit wholemeal scone and a piece of fruit such as a banana

2. Low fat creamed rice. Rice pudding is a nutritious snack and contains carbohydrate and calcium.

3. Yoghurts are a great snack; they provide calcium, magnesium and protein. Go for low fat and low sugar varities.

4. Have a bag of mixed nuts and fruit in the car so you can have a handful if hunger strikes!

5. Fruit is nature’s own packaging! Apples, oranges, bananas, seedless grapes etc.

6. Bagel with low fat cream cheese.

7. Crackers with peanut butter

8. Hummus

9. Rice cakes

10. Oat cakes

11. Veggie strips

12. Carrot cake, leave the icing on the plate!

If you are serious about eating healthily and cutting down on sweets and junk then it is important to eat regular meals that contain all the nutrients and energy you require. Start off each day with a nutritious breakfast such as high fibre muesli or porridge with some juice or fruit. This will give you the energy boost you require to get going in the morning but it is a ‘slow release’ energy so will last until lunchtime. If you want to snack at your mid morning break, choose one of the snacks from the above list.

Snacking while on the run is ok if you HAVE to but it is always best to actually sit down and eat, even if it is only for 15 minutes and give ourselves a sense of having a proper meal. Eating while standing and gulping it down is something we should avoid. We should enjoy our food and give our bodies time to taste and receive the “full” signal.

Invest in a cooler bag, plastic lunchboxes/containers and flasks so your meals are always fresh and safe from food poisoning. Be imaginative and above all enjoy your healthy food on the go!

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