7 min read
How to Maintain a Heart Healthy Diet on the Go
Whether you travel often for work or have your hands full taking care of kids or grandkids, making healthy choices when you’re busy can be a challenge. With a little education and prep-work, you can set yourself up for success and make healthy choices no matter how packed a schedule you may face. Read on for tips to maintain a heart-healthy diet on the go.
Pack Your Bag with Heart-Healthy Snacks
When hunger hits between meals, it can be all to easy to impulsively grab a candy bar on display next to the register, or get some junk food from the vending machine. While this is fine once in a while, having heart-healthy snacks in your purse, backpack, pantry or desk drawer can ensure you always have a healthful option ready-to-go. Bonus: it’s budget-friendly!
Nuts, freeze-dried fruits, dehydrated vegetable chips, whole grain crackers, individual nut butter packets, popcorn, and roasted chickpeas are all great shelf-stable options to keep on hand. You can even make your own snack bites for a healthy DIY option.
Certain granola and snack bars can be great options, too. Look for those made without high-fructose corn syrup and with minimal preservatives.
Protein powders and ready-made smoothies can also give you some on-the-go fuel and will help fill you up until your next meal. Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest has ready-to-go protein powder sachets that are portable and delicious. All you need to do is add water (coconut water or your favorite milk beverage), shake, and sip.
Incorporate Bouts of Exercise Where You Can
Sometimes, work may prevent you from getting a workout in, even if you want to exercise. Luckily, there are small things you can do to stay active on the go.
Getting up from activities every hour for 5-10 minutes of walking or stretching is a great place to start. You can also opt to take the stairs, park your car farther away from stores, do squats and lunges while brushing your teeth, walk or bike to do local errands, do stretching or strength work while watching TV, and take phone calls standing up.
Even if you can’t make it to the gym, incorporating small amounts of exercise throughout the day can add up and help keep your heart healthy.
Prep Breakfast the Night Before
Mornings are hectic. Many find it difficult to sit down and enjoy a heart-healthy meal in the morning and end up grabbing a pastry out or skipping the meal entirely.
Having breakfast ready to go can ensure you make a heart-healthy option every morning. Look for an option with complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats to keep you full and fueled throughout the morning.
Try making a large batch of nutrient-dense options to keep in the freezer. It’s easy to make nutritious versions of your breakfast favorites, and Nuzest has many recipes you can use, including waffles, muffins, or pancakes. Simply grab and heat one up in the microwave or toaster in the morning and you’re good to go. Overnight oats are another great option. Prep before bed and enjoy upon rising. Snack bars paired with a piece of fruit and nut butter, are another fuss-free heart-healthy option.
Pack a Lunch
Packing a lunch can help you avoid a trip to the drive-through, eating from the vending machine, or skipping lunch. When possible, prep lunch the night before or in the morning so you have heart-healthy food on hand.
Go for foods high in fiber and low in trans fats. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be satisfying and healthful. A salad with some beans and nuts tossed on top, paired with whole-grain crackers and fruit, or simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread paired with some fruit, fresh veggies, and nuts takes only a few minutes to toss together, are solid choices.
Navigate Fast Food Menus with Ease
Most of us know fast food usually isn’t the most heart-healthy meal choice. But sometimes, dining at fast food establishments is inevitable. There are a few things you can do to make better choices.
First, go for water instead of soda. This is one of the easiest choices you can make.
High fructose corn syrup¹ is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, so steering clear of soda is a great place to start.
Next, scan the menu for baked instead of fried foods. While fried foods are fine on occasion, many restaurants still fry foods in oil that contains trans fats², which are detrimental to heart health. Many chain restaurants have baked protein and potato options, so you just have to ask.
You can also ask for sauces on the side. Certain salads and sandwiches come drenched in sticky, sugar and oil-laden sauces. You can still enjoy the sauces, but adding it yourself can not only help you tailor the meal to taste preferences, but can help you consume less sodium, sugar, and unhealthful fats.
Finally, ask for beans (or another vegan option) instead of beef. This won’t be an option everywhere, but many restaurants like Chipotle and Taco Bell will let you swap meat for legumes at no charge. You can also sub meat for avocado easily at Panera.
While busy schedules can make it hard to eat healthy at times, setting yourself up for success most of the time can ensure you make heart-healthy choices as often as possible.