One of the keys to weight loss and overall fitness is to eat, eat, eat! It is not good to be very hungry. When we get hungry we are more likely to reach for the wrong things, especially if we are busy. It is important to eat just before we are hungry. That means we eat 5 – 6 times a day, small meals always including some carbs, protein and fat. The problem most people have is how to do that when we are busy, traveling or running kids around. My friend, Tom Hunt, has built a great metabolism and is a firm believer in eating often. He also travels a lot. With his help I offer the following ideas:
Buying food on the go:
1. Boiled – in the shell – eggs is an excellent protein source and will keep for 7 days without refrigeration. Grab a bit of hot sauce to flavor it. Available at some Fred Meyers in the deli, Maverik and Flying J and of course you could boil your own.
3. Smoothies – carried by most C stores – look for Odwalla, Naked or Bolthouse. Check for the one with the lowest grams of sugar and/or highest grams of protein, drink half and eat some nuts. Save the other half for later.
4. Nuts or peanuts are also available at C stores, usually in small packages, and are cheap. They have good protein and good fats. They do have a lot of calories, but good ones. Raw are better but you will probably have to buy a larger package at a larger store or buy them in bulk. Keep a bag of almonds in your car, purse or brief case.
5. Trail mixes – look for those with just nuts, dates and raisins. Those with cranberries and tropical fruits will have added sugar. Avoid the ones with M&Ms and yogurt pieces. You can also go to the bulk section of a health-conscious grocery store and pick out your own ingredients for a trail mix.
6. Jerky is a good protein source, but the additives that are in most commercial jerky is questionable so unless they are prepared naturally I actually try to avoid them if better choices are available. A very good source for protein are Epic bars, which are ground fruit and meat similar to something Native Americans used to eat called pemmican.
7. You can buy a rotisserie chicken at just about any grocery store. A little messy in a car but cheap and easy.
8. Be adventuresome! Try canned seafood. Things like kippers, sardines, smoked oysters, clams and tuna are an excellent source for Omega 3’s and protein. They are also loaded with minerals. Sardines and tuna are particularly good sources of energy so they make a good mid-afternoon snack.
9. You need some healthy carbs with that protein such as fresh or dried fruits like raisins, apples or dates. Make sure you also get your vegetables. Carrots are available in any grocery store and many stores now have cut celery and other vegetables.
What about fast food? I am not a fan of fast food but fast food has at least three distinct advantages: Their ingredients are published, the food is the same everywhere, and it is fast.
1. I dislike McDonald’s for so many reasons but it is one of the few places that use fresh, in-the-shell eggs. They are not on the menu, but you can order a side of eggs. Ask for round, not scrambled. A side is two eggs off the grill for a about $1. Minimal oil is used to cook them.
2. Wendy’s has excellent chili – high protein, whole beans, good flavor, low calorie and combined with a plain potato it makes a good cheap meal.
3. Fast Mexican food is trendy right now. Places like Qdoba’s, Chipotle, or my favorite, Costa Vida. You can actually watch them put your food together. They typically use good meat but skip the sweet pork. Also opt out on the rice and the tortilla and load up on the vegetables.
4. If you really gotta have a burger Five Guys has good quality meat. Get two of them with lettuce, tomato peppers, onion, mustard and a side of jalapeno (They will wrap it in lettuce for you). You may find there is more flavor when you forgo the bland bread.
5. Subway is everywhere and they have salads. I get the chopped salad with extra cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I have them salt and pepper it and put the tuna on top. I find I do not need dressing when it is built this way. For some crunch crumble a few potato chips on the top and throw the rest of the bag away.
The bottom line on fast food is to know what they sell, what is in what they sell, and the calorie, protein, fat and sodium counts. If you want to lose/gain weight, gain muscle, and be healthy you have to eat frequently and know what you are eating. In the fast food industry it is there for the asking.
Knowledge is power. Thanks Tom!
By Sherry Stirling Fernandez, CPT
Owner and CEO FitMania Boot Camp Specialists
If you have some ideas please leave a comment here. Let’s help each other be fit, lean and healthy!