March 2021
Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

Here’s How to Make Healthy Choices on-the-Go!

A meal planner with fruits and vegetables on the side

There are so many scenarios we encounter each day, where things can go really well with food choices, or, 
things can also go really badly.

To ensure things go well more often than not - here are some easy things to do to combat poor food choices
and make sure you keep kicking those healthy lifestyle goals time and again

Scenario 1 - Busy  mum with  young children 

It's so easy to graze all day when you’re preparing food for your little ones - and their needs for continual snacks and meals are quite unending!

Prepare THEIR meals as you would yours - Healthy eating starts from a young age, and your food choices will be reflected in your children's weight and their health.

After WLS is an amazing opportunity to influence the entire family’s relationship with food.
Bariatric foods are still everyday foods, so there’s no reason you need to prepare “your” foods and “their” foods. 

Kids need good protein-rich foods with healthy carbs  too - and the early you set them up with this understanding of food, the better 

Winning Combination

Remove foods from the house you have trouble saying no to when you’re on the go and do the following tips:

1. Encourage kids to make their own snacks and lunches as they become more independent or prepare cut up veggies, dips, and easy healthy snacks in portioned containers.

 Our website has all of this covered here:

2. Involve your children in the planning and shopping for food f - talk about why you choose different foods and ask them what they would like to eat that week. We have one family cookbook we love - The Anti Inflammatory Recipe book.

 Most of our meals and snack come from that book and it keeps our family happy.

3. Eat 3 main meals a day where you all sit to eat together and focus on the meal.

4. Snack on protein-rich foods here’s our Healthy Snack Guide - with some fun ideas for kids as well.

Scenario 2 - Shift Workers

There's no doubt about it - working weird or long hours takes a toll on your health if you’re not vigilant about what you eat.

Sleep deprivation and irregular sleeping patterns can definitely leave you craving CARBS to give a quick hit of energy when you feel low.

Winning Combination

This can be a very slippery slope, so here’s a few handy strategies:

1. Plan ahead, freeze in portions, cook ahead for when you know things will be busy/tricky

2. Batch cooking meals that will freeze easily make eating well a breeze and provides variety.
Make a batch of Chilli Con Carne, Bolognaise, or Varying slow cooker meals.

Here's some great ideas to get you started

3. Stay away from the vending machine!

Make a deal that you will never eat from the vending machine - there’s nothing good going to come from it!

4. R
egulate your sleep patterns as much as you can 

Get a good dose of sunlight each day to help with resetting your circadian rhythm - this will help with balancing your sleep/wake cycles and make for fewer cravings and avoid food temptations.

Scenario 3 - Desk Bound Bodies

Many jobs involve long periods of sitting in one place for varying reasons, Bus and Taxi/Truck drivers, Office Workers, all come with large slabs of time spent in a sitting position.

This means:
1.  Your muscles are not being used
2.  You’re not burning much energy aside from that which your brain uses
3.  It can affect your metabolic rate and your overall muscle tone.

Your food intake needs to speak to what you’re doing each day - so it won't be the same every day if you only work part-time and in your spare time you are active with sport or exercise.

So we need to think about what each day brings and base what we need to eat on that

If you know you’re going to be sedentary for the majority of the day - you will need fewer calories and fewer calories from carbs.

Whereas on a day where you walk to the gym, train for 45 min, walk to work and then walk home, you will need more fuel to get you through the day.

On the days you know you won't move much, stick to 3 small protein-rich meals with less of the pasta and rice-based sides.

On the exercise and activity days, include some healthy carbs before your activity and after, to fuel your workout and encourage quick recovery.

Sticking to the same meal structure every day is problematic if you are inactive, but eating as you would on a training day - will lead to excess intake and your results will be slowed

Scenario 4 - Regular Restaurant Dining/ Eating Out

There’s no doubt, food is a social activity and it is the connection point for friends and family alike.

When you have a busy social calendar, it can be tricky to keep your health and weight management goals at the forefront of your mind.

Here are a few of our go-to tips for maintaining the social aspect of food - AND avoiding unwanted kilos and negative health impacts that dining out can bring to the table.

1. Set your own personal rules and stick to them like glue. Work out what you consider a good “Spend” of your energy and nutrition bank account
I personally have a rule that I won't waste my “account” on fried foods, battered foods, or pastry - although it can look appealing, I always feel uncomfortable afterward, so to me, these are a waste - when I could be blowing my “allowance” on something that truly makes my heart sing.

2. Set up your list of things you simply DON'T DO and do an inventory of the foods that are SPECIAL to you and worthy of your spending! When you’re out at a restaurant, look at the menu and use your personal rules to guide your choices

The key here is NO ONE cares about your food as much as you think they do -
- The second suggestion is - People are too worried about themselves to get too hung up on what you are doing
- The third key  -  It's your body, you get to choose. Don't let “well-meaning” friends and family try to convince you that you should be doing something different. Don't feel pressured by “oh come on, have some fun” generally this comes from a place of love - but can also be laced with other intentions like testing your will or seeing if “this time you do really mean to change”

Set up your personal rules list of foods you do splurge on, and a firm idea of
how much alcohol you intend on having each week. 

Your overall level of how strictly you stick to your rules is an indication of your long term success.
If you are in a stage where continual weight loss and health improvement is your goal - you need to stick to your rules about 90% of the time - this would equate to about 1 meal out of the 21 you have each week where you know you’re going to include those foods you know are on the “occasional” list
Once you reach your goal and you are happy with your health and your form - you can start to relax carefully, but monitor the changes.

1. Don't use the scales for this - use your waist measurement Measure your waist every couple of weeks at any stage of your journey and you will get the feedback you need to then know what you need to do with your food.

2. Eating out is fun - but it's not a license to go crazy - Just because you’re not at home.
Most restaurants are offering food that would suit someone who eats out a lot and is really just looking for the experience of the service, the social aspect of dining out - without 1000 extra calories at the same time.

3. Don't be shy to ask for things to be done how you like them - If the dish you really want has ticked every box, but it comes with white pasta or mashed potato - ask for a swap to sweet potato or something similar, or get them to omit the starch from the dish.

Generally, if it arrives on your plate it will be eaten so avoid this trap by asking things that are not on your RULES LIST before they come out of the kitchen.

Enjoy the company you are with, the experience of having someone else prepare your meal and wash up - don't get so hung up on the ACTUAL meal, and you will win every time.

Jacqui Lewis,
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine 

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