I don't know why, but today I woke up at 5am... my alarm was set for 5:39 (yes... I never set it for an even time..) so I figured there was probably no point in going back to sleep so I had a shower and for once, I'm not in a massive rush! I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a morning person. Or.. rather... I never USED to be a morning person. Still, if I had my choice between being up at 5am or sleeping until 10, I will choose sleeping in every time. This morning though, I feel awake. I feel like it was a good decision to wake up at 5am, and here I am actually using my time productively and writing this blog!
I was speaking with a woman I went to high school with on Facebook yesterday, and I literally probably haven't talked with her since high school. She reached out to me via a comment on my blog yesterday telling me how she's enjoying my blog and how she's trying to figure out how to make her life a little more healthier because she's finding it difficult since she's working in a hospital and has a little son at home to take care of. She mentioned she doesn't have a ton of time to go to the gym and that quick/easy at-home workouts are her best bet. She was also curious about how to better prep her day so that she's not grabbing food at fast-food places, and stuff like that.
As much as I would like to think I'm super organized when it comes to life, I'm not. I'm actually the worst at food prep... I try it out and 3 days goes past and "life" happens and my meal prep time is out the window. The good news for me is that if I'm out and about here in Toronto, it's not hard to find something healthy to eat like a salad from Freshii or some delicious vegan food at Fresh. For people back in my hometown though, it's a bit harder since all there really is in Wingham is Tim Hortons, Pizza and Subway.
So just because I'm not good at meal prepping myself, doesn't mean I don't know what you should be doing to be successful at it yourself. I'm super glad that this woman reached out to me because I really do enjoy finding out what people like to read best, so today I'm going to share some of my tips on being prepared so that you don't have to buy food at unhealthy food places.
There are A MILLION different types of protein powder and you can basically buy it anywhere now a
days. When I'm working, I always bring a shaker cup and a scoop of protein powder with me so that I can drink it over the course of a couple hours when I'm helping customers. It helps keep my metabolism going by giving me calories, and helps keep me full due to the protein. However, make sure you READ THE LABELS on your protein. Some protein is meant to help people gain weight (these are called gainers), and there are SO MANY calories in this type of protein (700 as opposed to 120). If your'e lactose intolerant, you want to avoid Whey as it's made from dairy protein. Do some research before you spend $70 on a bunch of protein. I personally try and stick with the most natural form of protein so I use a raw, vegan protein called Sun Warrior. If you're taking protein with you, remember to bring only the dry powder, don't mix it with water until you're actually ready to drink it or the protein will break down and won't be effective (and will taste gross).
BCAA's or Branch Chained Amino Acids are similar to protein (I sip these while I workout) where they provide all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Since I started using BCAA's, I've been less hungry and I recover a lot better from my workouts than when I don't use them. I sometimes bring a scoop of these to work as well because it's easier to drink than a protein shake. BCAA's come in a million different flavours and taste more like juice than like a protein shake. BCAA's help you to burn fat, maintain muscle during prolonged exercise, helps prevent muscle soreness when training and help keep immunity high. I will bring a scoop in a water bottle and mix it when I'm ready to drink it.
If you have a job (like a job at a hospital) where you're going long shifts and your on your feet all day, it's important to keep your body fuelled so that you can maintain your energy throughout the day. This part will definitely require meal prep. Try and get in a small meal every 3ish hours. I used to make meals that I could mix all together and just shove in my mouth (literally). What I would do is make sure everything is perfectly ready to just eat. I would chop up baby spinach, chop up tomatoes, throw in some ground chicken and half an avocado with sea salt.. and when I was ready, I would just mix it all together and eat it. The avocado is creamy enough that it doubled as my healthy fats and as a salad dressing. Because everything is cut up and the chicken is ground, I didn't have to worry about anything but shoving that food in my mouth. Preparing meals like this is easiest if your day is crazy insane and you don't have time to sit down and eat a meal that way.
Yes, yes... some people will say that bars aren't a good substitute for food, but I think that they are better than NO food. They are easy to carry in your purse and you can actually find some that taste GOOD :). My favourite snack bar is Coconut Cream Lara Bars. They are like heaven in my mouth and my mouth actually starts to water when I think about them. My second favourite bars are Clif Bars, my favourite is the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour. It's a dense bar so it fills me up for a good amount of time, and is easy to eat when I'm running back and forth for work. When looking for a bar, try and find one with a lesser amount of sugar and a higher protein content. This way it will keep you full longer and will help nourish your muscles! :)
Some other meal prepping tips for you:
- Choose one or two times per week where you spend and hour or so preparing food that you can throw together for healthy meals until the next time you prep.
- Don't buy SO MUCH produce that you end up throwing it out. It's so unmotivating to throw away all the goodness you bought at the grocery store. Its better to go buy fresh veggies 2 or 3 times a week, than throwing out $50 in good food.
- Buy containers so that you aren't scrambling for ways to bring food with you to work. Glass is preferred if you're heating up your meals, but if you're eating them cold, plastic is fine.
And always remember to stay hydrated! Sometimes we feel hungry because we are actually just thirsty (which causes us to eat more food) so try and drink 500mL every hour that you're awake during the day. If you're not used to it, you will pee A TON, but eventually that goes away and you're all hydrated and healthy! :).
What's your go-to tip for avoiding fast-food restaurants when working?
PS - if you haven't already done so, make sure you enter my giveaway so you could win 1 of 20 bottles of Miracle 10 SPF! It's one of my favourite products and is perfect since the sun will be coming out soon (hopefully). Click here, fill out the form and you'll be automatically entered! :) Good luck!