From Dr. Mark Hyman, Author of Eat Fat, Get Thin
I have about ten jobs, two kids, a dog, a team, weeks of travel at a time…the list goes on and on. In order to keep up with this lifestyle, maintaining optimal health becomes a top priority. A gluten-free diet makes a great way to reduce inflammation, improve gut function, lose weight and improve your mood and energy. But this only happens when you eat real, whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, clean animal foods, whole gluten-free grains and beans. Here are my steps to eating healthy, even when you don’t have a lot of time.
1. Make a list. Take some time one day every week to sit down and to plan a few simple meals that you can make quickly. Make a shopping list and head to the grocery store to purchase all the ingredients for those recipes in advance. Keeping a list and sticking to it saves time and money and keeps unhealthy food from “landing” in your shopping cart. Stock up on plenty of nuts, seeds and other healthy snacks to keep energy levels and blood sugar levels balanced. Another helpful hint: never go to the grocery store hungry!
2. Develop a repertoire of a few cheap, easy-to-prepare meals. Have the ingredients available at home at all times so you don’t get stuck eating food that doesn’t make you feel well or help you create the health you want. This takes a bit of advanced planning but is well worth it. You can find recipes on my blog.
3. Go frozen. Frozen vegetables (preferably organic) become a real timesaver and last longer, especially if you already have some in your freezer and can avoid the need for last-minute grocery store stops. Ditto for frozen grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon and organic berries. Shopping at warehouse stores can become a real time- and money-saver. Just buy the very best quality you can find. If you have the freezer space, you can take advantage of sales and coupons and stock up for weeks or even months with these essentials.
4. Choose pre-prepped. If chopping doesn’t fit your tight agenda, choose fresh pre-washed organic leafy greens – like spinach, kale, arugula and Romaine lettuce. Pre-cut produce is also available at many markets, which drastically reduces kitchen work. They might be a bit more expensive, but if you’re short on time and space, they’re worth it.
5. Don’t be afraid of canned foods. Carefully chosen canned and jarred foods, such as vegetable or chicken stocks, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, artichokes and roasted red peppers make it easy to toss together last-minute meals. Always choose lower-sodium versions and read labels carefully to be sure that gluten, dairy, sugars and other unwanted ingredients aren’t inadvertently sneaking into your diet. If choosing canned food, opt for BPA-free cans whenever possible.
6. At the very least – go healthy. Even when you do your best, you’ll have days where everything falls apart and even throwing together a simple salad topped with pre-cooked wild salmon becomes impossible. Because you prepared, you’ll have nuts, seeds and other healthy snacks to steady blood sugar levels so you’re not ravenous by dinner. Many grocery stores now have hot bars with healthy selections. Stopping by Whole Foods Market on your way home for a rotisserie chicken along with sautéed pre-cooked vegetables makes a simple “fast food” meal without the sugar and damaging fat found in drive-thru foods. Always do the best you can under the circumstances rather than aim for perfection.
Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. In the morning, when I’m rushing out the door, I usually have a shake with greens, almond milk, nuts and seeds, and maybe some berries. For lunch, I eat a big, fat salad with arugula, avocado, nuts and seeds, a can of wild salmon, and some tomatoes. All of this is pre-washed to save me on time. For dinner, I’ll make a simple piece of protein with some veggies on the side.
Don’t let the food industry trick you into convenience meals. With these strategies, you’ll be ready to make a healthy meal anytime, anywhere.
Want more from Dr. Mark Hyman? Read this guide to going gluten-free the healthy way and find out what he told us about healthy fats. Then see which vitamins you should be taking every day!
The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.