Not everyone has access to a kitchen (or even a microwave) during the day. If your work keeps you on the road, good nutrition can be a challenge. We’ve found a few ways round it…
Most people work in an office or on site and have access to a regular kitchen, with a fridge, kettle and microwave.
But what happens if you change jobs and can no longer cook or reheat food at work? Or if you work on site, drive for a living, or travel constantly?
Packing an entire day’s worth of food to fuel your daily activity, and keep you energised for training, might be possible for a week or two. But let’s face it, if you don’t run out of time you’ll probably run out of motivation.
Is there really a way around the challenge of eating well and fuelling performance when you simply can’t cook food during the day?
Yes, there is. We’ve talked to shift workers, couriers, commuters and some of our busiest customers to ask them:
Exactly how do you stay on top of nutrition and supplementation when you’re constantly on the move?
Food prep (only easier)
This is the obvious solution, and it works well for some people. Prep your food the easiest way there is. Either cook and box up your meals the night before, or do a big batch cook twice a week and then add fresher items on a daily basis. Here’s a great tip which will save you a lot of time: make twice the amount of food for your dinner, and put half of it aside for tomorrow’s lunch.
Cold pasta with cooked protein can work well. Some people don’t mind eating cold potato or sweet potato as a carb source. But a few people draw the line at cold rice, for taste or food hygiene reasons.
Learn to shop smart
You don’t need to prep and carry all your food with you (leave that level of detail to the bodybuilding competitors and physique models). It’s fine to buy snacks, or top up your meals with items from the shop. Just be smart about it so you don’t derail your diet. If you need to buy food whilst you’re out and about, make the right decisions. Don’t stop off at corner shops, convenience stores and fast-food drive-throughs. There’s so much healthy food out there these days that you really don’t have an excuse.
Get to know which high street stores sell good food (hint: M&S), choose your favourite healthy items from big-name coffee shops and cafes (hint: Pret a Manger), and don’t forget that all supermarkets will sell fresh fruit and vegetables, salad bowls, avocados, pre-cooked chicken, no drain tuna, rice cakes and oat cakes. Most supermarkets have a deli counter where you can buy sliced meats. And some supermarkets even have salad bars with pasta and rice salads, hardboiled eggs, seafood and other tasty but healthy fare.
Lunch style snack ideas
Many of you really struggle with ways to stay on track at lunchtime. Here’s a quick and simple shake which would keep your diet on track (and your hunger in check):
– Your favourite flavour Pure Whey (30g)
– Scottish oats (50-100g)
– Water, milk or dairy-free milk replacement
Simple, basic and no-frills, but it will give you the protein, carbs and fats your body needs… and take just a few seconds to mix.
You could also keep Active Foods Liquid Egg Whites on hand to add protein to your shakes, use any of our delicious nut butters as a calorie-dense and very healthy snack. And our Protein Bars and Protein Flapjacks make very useful (and tasty!) snacks or mini-meals, ideal for times when you really need to eat on the go.
If you drive for a living, or spend a lot of time in your vehicle going to appointments, consider getting a small coolbox which plugs into the lighter connector in your car or truck. You can easily keep a day’s worth of meals, snacks, protein shakes, drinks and emergency treats cool and fresh, making eating on the go a much easier and more pleasant experience.
Don’t waste your macros
It can be very easy to torch through your macros and calories when you’re out and about, driving, meeting clients or stuck in traffic. So be mindful and make careful choices. Whether or not you choose to track your numbers with an app like myfitnesspal, stay aware of what you’re eating. Do you really need that caramel latte? Or would a filter coffee with milk hit the spot? Are you hungry enough for a snack, or will a drink of water be enough to tide you over till your next official meal?
How do you deal with maintaining your nutrition when you can’t cook fresh?
About the Author:
Nicola Joyce has been writing for (and about) sport, fitness, nutrition and healthy living since 2004. She’s also a keen sportswoman: her background is in endurance sport but she now competes as a natural bodybuilder, most recently winning a world title with the INBF. When she’s not writing content, she can be found blogging. Follow her here www.nicolajoyce.co.uk and on Facebook & Twitter (@thefitwriter) too.