“This bus is leaving, you better get in. We gotta go. Get in the car. NOW”

As my children get older our family schedule gets fuller and fuller. We now have activities every day of the week. Throw in the mix me running a business and doing Ironman training and my husband with his extracurricular activities we are very busy. Luckily, I run a tight ship and try to stay as organized as possible and prioritize my responsibilities.

Don’t Be Too Busy to Be Healthy

Yes, it is easy to run through a drive-up window of a fast food restaurant and eat on the go. The meals are somewhat reasonably priced but more importantly, they are convenient. There are even somewhat “healthy” options. You can even purchase pre-packaged meals from the food store. While these might seem healthy, the reality is they are loaded with preservatives and sodium. Do you really want to feel bloated, sluggish and definitely under-nourished? Some simple planning can help you overcome the urge to pull into a drive thru or pick up a pizza or some other pre-packaged meal.

Here are some tips I use with my own family that you can use with yours to be healthy on the go!

Pack a Lunch – Whether you are going to work, sending your kids to school, heading out for a day hike, traveling in the car, or planning a day of activities. Pack a lunch. It is easier to make wise and healthy choices when you pack your own lunch. Funny side note, this last school year my kids begged and begged to do hot lunch at school. I reluctantly let them try it one day. They came home from school that day asking to never do that again. Their little bodies knew that what I pack them is far superior to what they get at school.

Cook for Many – When I cook dinner, I am feeding five but I usually like to cook for about eight. This way I am ensuring that I will have leftovers. Leftovers make for great quick meals the next day. When preparing staple side dishes, like quinoa or brown rice, prepare extra to be able to have leftovers to re-heat when necessary. This is the same for breakfasts. Make a big pot of oatmeal so you can re-heat leftovers to get away from preparing sugary instant oatmeal. Make a big batch of whole grain pancakes or waffles on Saturday so you can have leftovers to re-heat early in the week.

Carry Snacks Everywhere – This is definitely a seasonal thing for me. Because I live in Arizona and the inside of my car can reach scorching temperatures in the summer I am limited to what I can carry; therefore in the summertime this takes a little more planning. When prepping to leave for somewhere quick I aways make sure I have a piece of fruit, energy bar, whole grain crackers, or a dried fruit and nut mixture. Having handy snacks prevents me from wanting to stop anywhere to get something to eat that I know I might regret later. During the cooler months I usually always leave a stash of something in my car.

Pack a Cooler – When hitting the road for a day trip, pack a cooler full of fruits, veggies, sandwiches and drinks. This way you are in control of what you are consuming and not at the mercy of what is available to you on the road with drive-up fast food stops or quick marts.

Make Time for Meals – I look at dinners as a special time in my house. During the summer months everything is laid back and not as structured but during the school year dinner time is a sacred time for us. It is a time where we are engaged and strengthen our family bond. With that being said I feel it is imperative for me to prioritize how I will make dinners happen and since being unhealthy in my house is not an option I choose to prepare healthy meals.

At the beginning of the week I look at my evening schedule and assess what dinners I am going to prepare and how I am going to prepare them. This is half the battle, if not three quarters. Like I mentioned earlier some things I can make ahead and already have part of that beast slayed. I will even pre-cut veggies in the middle of the day to get prepped for my evening chaos. The key is to plan and to not get overwhelmed with a busy schedule and find yourself succumbing to a lessor option of prepared meals from the food store or a drive thru. The next time you are on the go don’t stop at a fast food restaurant for empty calories and high levels of preservatives and sodium. Use one of the tips above. Yes, it takes planning but being proactive in your health takes planning.

Just do it.

SheriAnne Nelson