A year ago I started a new job, and one of the most exciting years of my life. 2016 was a year of change, new job, new engagement, planning a wedding, house hunting. A LOT HAS BEEN GOING ON!!!!
While I do have a “home office” I spend A LOT of time in my car, and in general being a road warrior. The only thing I find challenging or difficult about this is, what do I eat?
I could spend a lot of money, and eat out everyday. This would mean I would have a lot less control over what I am eating as well. So that being said, I really try to limit how often I buy lunch and really try to take my lunch with me.
To add to this half the time I actually do eat I am in fact driving, so what I take with me needs to be easy to eat.
I try to make my lunches vegetable focused, and while I do take sandwiches with me, I don’t do that every week (I enjoy variety) So I have been working not only finding meals that work well, but also just general tips that help not only me, but can help others.
Pretty much every Sunday for a solid couple of hours you can find me in our kitchen getting my lunches, and components of our dinners ready or the coming week. Even though my office is at home, trying to throw a lunch together before I actually head out each day doesn’t work out. I’ve tried it, it is not for me, what does work for me is having everything ready heading into the week.
Logging with MyFitnessPal
I preface this with: I know logging is NOT for everyone, as a dietitian I fully recognize that. However, it does work for me, and it really helps keep me in check, and eat more intuitively (which I know may sound counterintuitive) but it helps me have the conversation with myself in the middle of the day: “do I really actually want those chips” 9 times out of 10 the answer is no. Logging also helps me with my next point and that is staying on track with well rounded eating, and a focus on PFCs. Also, I hate to sound like a negative dietitian, but we tend to really overestimate activity, and underestimate portion sizes, and nutrient density.
Focusing on PFC
So PFC: Protein, Fat, Carbohydrate. I try to really make sure I focus on getting a fruit and vegetable serving (or more) at each lunch. I also focus on getting a fat serving as well, avocados obviously work well, and I also use things like avocado, or nut oils on vegetables. Or I’ll just pack some almonds. I have been on a “bento box” kick lately where I just do small portions of different things: 1 oz almonds, 1 oz cheese, 1/2 cup berries, 1 cup vegetables, 2 hard boiled eggs.
So, I spend enough time on the road, and I am enough of a foodie, that there is NO point in me being “restrictive” (along with anyone else in my opinion), instead I try to focus on balance. A really good friend of mine once shared with me a rule she uses for indulging, and it is one I have since adopted. This rule is pretty simple: I just make sure I eat at least 5 servings for fruits and vegetables, then if I want a doughnut, or a peanut butter cup, I will indulge. I also try to plan my indulgences too, I know where I am going to be at each week, and where my favorite restaurants are, therefore I typically know when I will be indulging. If I know that I can place a big emphasis on mindfulness for the rest of the day.
When I am away from home for an extended period (I.e. A work trip), I generally know what my food choices will be, and can still follow my PFC guideline. I also know, I’ll be sitting a lot more, drinking a lot more, and probably snacking a lot more. It helps if I pack my own snacks that way I won’t be as tempted to just grab whatever. I also try to be a lot more mindful and ask myself if I am actually hungry, or just currently interested in having food. There is a pretty big difference, and I think we have all been there. So I pack my own. I pack fiber one bars, pistachios, Larabars, I pick up fresh fruit to have available.
My rationale for this is simple, if I have the time to pick up a glass of wine, I can make time to work out, even if it means getting up early. That is the deal I make with myself when I travel, and when I am having a busy work week. If I can find time to unwind to a tv show, I can find time to put in 30 minutes of physical activity.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration is really important for general health and wellness, let alone an important aspect of physical activity. Water is the cornerstone of pretty much all of our bodily functions. Water actually comprises ~ 60% of body weight. Fun fact, sometimes mild dehydration manifests as hunger, so making sure you have water on hand, and are adequately hydrated are KEY!!!
These are things I have found work best for me. Just because I am a dietitian does not mean I don’t have to plan, and stay really mindful of what I’m eating, and how I am planning.