Some of my clients, whether Baby Boomers or seniors, still work. While they’re concerned about their fitness, they often skip breakfast altogether due to time constraints, or they just grab a coffee drink, breakfast bar, or bagel (these choices in general are high-sugar, low-protein, low-fiber; not the best choices for your health). If you work and eat meals and snacks at your workplace, the most important advice I can give you is to plan ahead. That’s the only way you’ll survive with a busy work schedule.
Having said that, here are ideas to help keep you fit for success:
- Eat breakfast! This meal has its name for a reason: You’ve been fasting overnight, so it’s time to put fuel into your body before you face the day, just as you would gas up your car.
2. Plan out your breakfast items the night before.
–For example, if you’re going to have oatmeal, mix together dry ingredients in a bowl and cover it with clear plastic. Leave the measuring cup close at hand, along with a spoon, so all you have to do in the morning is add water, cook, and enjoy.
3. If you’re going to “pack” a breakfast—whether it’s a hard-boiled egg, a protein bar (as a meal replacement, purchase one with 20 grams of protein), or peanut butter and a whole-grain English muffin—put everything together in one place where it’s easy to grab before you leave for work.
4.Bring snacks. Include items that are both good sources of protein and dietary fiber to help keep you feeling energized longer.
–Great ideas include: peanut butter and fruit, whole-grain crackers and peanut butter, Greek or vegan plain yogurt with fruit, a handful of nuts, and hummus and veggie sticks
5. Pack a lunch the evening before with last night’s leftovers or a simple sandwich or salad with protein, fruit, and vegetables.
If you can’t pack a lunch, follow these guidelines for restaurant meals.
–Check the nutrition information on the menu. Restaurant chains with twenty or more locations are required to provide this. If you can find an item to eat as an entrée with 350-500 calories, go for it.
–Have a plan at mealtime and stick with it. If possible, look online for nutrition information and make a choice before you enter the restaurant. Then don’t let other people’s comments or choices influence your decision.
–Water is a great beverage of choice. You can ask for lemon or lime slices, go plain or sparkling, add ice or have no ice.
–Order off the kids’ menu (easy at a fast-food restaurant but also possible at a sit-down chain—you can always ask). And take advantage of senior menus, which often have smaller portions.
–Split a meal two ways (or three).
–Instead of a main course, order an appetizer, soup, salad, or side dish; this is also a great option if you’re going vegetarian.
–Skip dessert or ask for a clean spoon to share a bite of your dining partner’s sweet indulgence.
–If all else fails, ask for a doggie bag to be brought to the table with your meal. Put half of your food in the container before you start to eat.
6. Get up and move every 30-60 minutes, and take advantage of breaks and lunch to engage in some sort of cardiovascular exercise.
Excerpted from my new book, Building Your Enduring Fitness, now available for pre-sale here.