On The Go
By Sarah Kidston APD AN
Our busy lifestyles can make it a challenge to make the best food choices when we’re on-the-go. However, with a small amount of planning, healthy food to-go can easily fit into your busy routine.
Below, I have included a variety of practical tips and meal ideas to assist you to make healthy decisions for breakfast and lunch. Before we talk specific examples, let’s have a quick look at the general guide for breakfast and lunch.
For breakfast, choose porridge, muesli, a high fibre cereal or wholemeal bread, with 250ml of milk or a small tub of yoghurt (200g) and a piece of fruit. Add eggs 3-4 times a week for a great protein boost.
Choose a lunch that has some protein (yoghurt, milk, low fat cheese, chicken, fish, meat, eggs or legumes), carbohydrate (fruit, wholemeal bread, rice or pasta) and salad or cooked vegetables. Salad vegetables or cooked vegetables should ideally make up half of your lunch. Choose a serving size that leaves you feeling satisfied and just full (not overfull).
Try some of these great ideas for breakfast:
• Prepare a fruit, yoghurt and milk smoothie the night before. Add oats, chia seeds and/or LSA mix for added flavour and nutrition. Keep in the fridge overnight and grab as you’re racing out the door. You can even make a large batch on a Sunday afternoon and freeze individually for the coming week. Just remember to remove a smoothie from the freezer and place in the fridge the night before you will need it.
• Place ½ cup of raw oats in a travel container. Add 1/3 of a cup orange juice and 1 cup of mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc). Store in the fridge overnight. In the morning grab the oat mixture, a small tub of your favourite yoghurt and a spoon and enjoy together when you get into the office.
• If you have access to a microwave at work, porridge is a simple and quick breakfast option. Place ½ a cup of quick-cooking oats in a microwave safe container, and 1 cup of milk in a shaker bottle or similar. Place chopped fresh or canned fruit in a screw tight container. You can also use frozen berries. Simply place in a screw tight container and leave in the fridge overnight. When you get to work, add 1/3 of a cup of water to the oats and microwave for one and a half minutes on high. Stir, add more water if needed, and microwave for another minute on high. Stir, add fruit and milk. Enjoy! Add cinnamon, chopped raw nuts, chia or LSA for added flavour and nutrients.
If purchasing breakfast from a café or takeaway try these healthy tips:
• Choose small sized coffees and milk based drinks
• Choose thin cut or sandwich sliced bread, or only one slice of thick toast bread
• Choose fruit over fruit juice where possible
• Yoghurt, muesli and fruit cups are a healthy and increasingly common option
• Eggs are a great option if you have the time, but limit bacon and sausages to once a week or less. Choose mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and smoked salmon instead.
Add a 300ml carton of unflavoured milk or small tub of yoghurt and a piece of fresh fruit to any of the following lunch ideas for a balanced and satisfying lunch.
Pre-prepare or assemble at work options:
• Wholegrain wrap with hummus, avocado and salad vegetables. Add a small amount of grated cheese, sliced sweet potato or chicken breast for extra flavour.
• Garden salad with grilled chicken, chickpeas and a small amount of feta cheese.
Pre-prepare options. Make a batch on Sunday night that will last you for the week. Refrigerate or freeze in individual containers.
• Brown rice with grilled chicken, vegetables and Moroccan seasoning.
• Pasta with cooked tomatoes, onion, capsicum, zucchini and garlic. Add pine nuts and sesame seeds for added flavour.
Utilise your dinner leftovers. For example:
• Add your left over roast beef and roast vegetables to wholemeal bread for a delicious sandwich.
• Heat up left over stir-fries, spaghetti Bolognese or casseroles.
If buying lunch out, try these healthy tips:
• Choose smaller portion sizes or plates
• Choose salad vegetables or cooked vegetables to make up a quarter to half of your meal
• Choose fresh, less processed foods where possible. For example, salads, meat and salad sandwiches, sushi and fruit salad over Chinese or heavily sauced dishes
• The local supermarket is a great place to grab fresh fruit, pre-cut fruit salad, pre-cut carrot and celery packs, cherry tomatoes, yoghurt and a 300ml carton of milk, all at a low price.
Snacks – see the Snack Attack! blog post by Nicole Carey for some healthy snack ideas.
Equipment must haves:
• If you’re regularly eating breakfast on-the-go, the best equipment investment you can make is purchasing a shaker bottle. Often promoted for protein drinks, the great things about shaker bottles are that they are liquid tight, easy to drink from (even while walking!) and allow you to easily shake up smoothies and other drinks that may have settled since you prepared them the night before. A shaker bottle will set you back $5-$10 and is available at most supermarkets, health clubs and supplement stores.
• Small screw tight travel container/s. These are great for safely transporting yoghurt, fruit salad and other high liquid foods.
• Small, medium and large travel containers. Great for transporting foods from nuts, to sandwiches to left over stir-fries, mess free. This is also an excellent way to reduce waste by avoiding regular use of cling wrap and plastic bags.
• A water proof carry bag or lunch box.
• Freezer bricks. A convenient way to keep your food cold and safe.
• Keep a toothbrush and paste at work or in your bag to clean your teeth after breakfast.
Sarah is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Personal Trainer. She is currently living in Canberra, and enjoys trialling different recipes for hearty winter meals and running around the lakes and ponds to keep warm during the winter months.
Image courtesy of www.ilovevegan.com