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Eating on the Run

Over the past two decades, our society has seen the number of convenience stores, fast food chains, vending machines, and food courts increase exponentially. Convenience has become the key factor for Canadians when making meal and snack choices. Unfortunately, the vast majority of convenience foods are laden with fat, sugar and salt and provide few of the vitamins and minerals needed daily.

Over the course of the same two decades, good nutrition has become a topic forefront in the public as well as the media. In fact, Canadians today have a better understanding of nutrition, yet are making poorer food choices than past generations. Lack of understanding is no longer the primary reason, the main obstacle in maintaining a balanced diet today is simply a lack of time. In a recent survey administered by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI), time was listed as the number one reason that people are not as active as they should be and do not eat as healthfully as they would like.

Proper nutrition does not always require hours of planning and preparation; for the most part active people benefit most from making small, simple changes in the way they think about food. Planning is key in finding time to fit in consistent exercise and the same principle applies to maintaining a balanced diet. Keeping a short list of a few simple snack and meal ideas on hand is a great way to streamline the planning process. While you may have to sacrifice 10-15 minutes on average to prepare the snacks and meals needed for your day on the go, preparing snacks at home can and will greatly impact the results of your health and fitness program.

1 : Hydration

Start by keeping a neoprene water bottle or case of bottled water on hand to help you to increase the amount of water you drink during the day. Drinking 8-10 glasses per day is sufficient to keep most people properly hydrated. By drinking enough water you will feel less hungry while giving your skin a healthy glow.

2 : Recycle

Purchase a small cooler bag and a few re-usable food containers. Healthy snacks can take on many shapes, sizes and forms so ensure that you have a wide enough of a variety of containers to accommodate a wide variety of snack foods. Remember-variety is one of the founding principles of Canada’s Food Guide.

3 : Selection

When choosing your foods for the day, ensure that you put some thought into what you are selecting. Like the rest of your diet, be cautious that you are not always selecting foods that are high in calories, sugar or fat. That said, creating balance in your diet does not mean that you will have to eliminate your favorite, less than perfect foods. For example, try drinking low fat chocolate milk in place of a candy bar, or munch on fresh, in season fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.

4 : Options

List off healthy food choices from each food group and compile a list of snacks made with these foods that you can commit to preparing at home. Here are some great ideas to grab and go.

  • Fresh, fruit: bananas, apples, oranges, melons, and peaches.
  • Raw vegetables and fat free sour cream dip.
  • Cottage cheese and fresh fruit, Plain yoghurt with fresh fruit .
  • A bagel with peanut butter

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