Nutrition on the Go
Dr. Jana Klauer gives nutrition and energy tips for busy people.
Eating right is always a challenge, but it can be especially tough when you're on the go. That's when you need energy and healthy nutrients most -- and when you have the least time to make sure you get them.
Avoid Energy Lows
Busy people tend to power their high-octane lifestyles with quick fixes like coffee and junk food. Dr. Klauer cautions against over-reliance on caffeine. "It'll give you a temporary jolt at best, which leaves you more tired later on," she says. The same goes for soda and candy, which contain processed sugars that cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a sugar low that results in fatigue and hunger.
Instead, counter the afternoon yawns with a healthy snack that will give you more lasting energy. Nutritious protein shakes, like Dr. Klauer's Everyday Nutrition drink, can be a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fat. Other healthy choices include Red Delicious apples, which contain phytochemicals that deliver vital nutrients, and low-fat cheeses.
If you crave caffeine, try green tea instead of coffee, says Dr. Klauer. "One of my new tricks before I go to bed is filling a 1-quart bottle with hot tap water and four green tea bags. I put it in the refrigerator. In the morning, I pour the green tea into my sport bottle and head to the gym. By 7 a.m., I have consumed 1 quart of green tea."
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
It's easy to skip a meal when life gets stressful, but you need nutrients to keep you going through the day. Here are some of Dr. Klauer's suggestions.
Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, clementines, skim-milk latte
Lunch: Turkey chili in a thermos, high-fiber bread
Dinner: Buffalo steak, roasted sweet potato, arugula salad with tomato, purple onion, and vinaigrette
Look at the Labels
Food marketers have become more savvy at appealing to us on the front of snack packages, with healthy-sounding slogans such as "Only 100 calories!" However, it's important to look at the back of the label, says Dr. Klauer, where the real nutritional information lies. Here are some ways to outsmart misleading food descriptions.
Trans-fat free: If a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans-fat, the manufacturer can list it as trans-fat free. It can add up. Unknowingly, you may be eating four or five snacks a day with 0.5 grams trans-fat per serving, which can zap your energy reservoir. On labels, look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils; those are what create trans-fat.
Multi-grain: This is not the same as whole grain. Whole-grain foods contain all the parts of the grain, including its most nutritious elements. All "multi-grain" means is that the product contains several types of refined grains, which only contain the least-healthy parts.
Only 100 calories: Many snack packages contain "only 100 calories," but simply putting junk food into a smaller package does not make it healthy. A smaller size just means fewer calories in the package, so basically it's just a smaller serving of the same cookies. These snacks often contain high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, and are often loaded with sodium and saturated fat.
Organic: Just because a food is organic, that doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. What's more, imported products have different laws regulating what can be considered "organic," so be sure to research organic standards in different countries if those distinctions are important to you.