Being a busy – or, even worse, workaholic – person has serious consequences for the body. Endless hours of work, tension, lack of proper food at regular times, sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, it is very important to organize our diet according to our busy lifestyle, in order to achieve better performance in the office, as well as better health.
A key prerequisite for a balanced diet throughout the week is proper preparation. This means that we will prepare all of the daily meals and snacks and carry them with us, avoiding the easy fast-food temptations. Our everyday life on weekdays makes it hard for us to get organized; however, if we devote some time during the weekend, then we will be able to enjoy healthy food all week.
Which steps do we need to take?
Step 1: We prepare the main ingredient of our meal
Protein is the main ingredient of our meals, as it protects the muscle tissue and helps us to maintain a healthy weight in the long run. Chicken, meat, fish, seafood, tofu, turkey or light ham and eggs, all of our meals and snacks must contain low-fat protein of high nutritional value. There are a number of ways to make sure that we will consume the essential amount of protein during the week. For start, we can boil some eggs which are easily kept in the fridge and can be consumed either for breakfast, with whole-grain bread and low-fat cheese, or at lunch together with a salad. We may also cook some burgers, using zucchini instead of breadcrumbs, or cook a whole chicken in the oven, cut out some lean pieces and make sandwiches, salads, or even a home-made sauce to accompany our whole-grain pasta.
Step 2: We choose our side dish
Unprocessed cereals, such as barley, quinoa or bulgur, are an ideal side dish for our meal, since they are less processed and thus preserve their vitamins and nutrients. They are also rich in fiber, helping us feel satient and ensure the proper function of the intestine. We can boil 2-3 portions (1-1½ cup) of raw cereals and store in the refrigerator, in order to be able to use one serving as a side dish for our next day’s meal.
Step 3: We prepare our salad
Although we know that vegetables provide our body with valuable vitamins and nutrients, we forget them as part of our meal at work, since we do not have time to prepare a plate like this. However, we can enjoy them easily! Grilling is the easiest way to cook them, as it minimizes the time we have to spend in the kitchen, giving a delicious taste to our vegetables without effort. On baking paper, place mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and anything else you like, together with a tablespoon of oil, then simply put them in the oven. In 30 minutes, our vegetables for the next 2-3 days will be ready. Divide them into servings and refrigerate them. Another quick and easy way to have vegetables every day is to steam them. We then keep them in the refrigerate and add some olive oil before consuming them.
Step 4: We make a home-made dressing
Many times, a ready salad dressing is an “easy solution” that saves time. This may seems a good idea, however most of these dressings are rich in calories, saturated fats and sugar. The simplest solution is to carry with us a small bottle of olive oil and add a tablespoon to each salad. For extra flavor, we may prepare our own vinaigrette sauce using 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar-free mustard (Tip! Add a tablespoon of water so that the vinaigrette can spread on the salad more easily). If we have access to a refrigerator at work, we can prepare a larger quantity to last for the whole week!
Step 5: We do not forget the snacks!
It is very important not to leave large intervals of time between meals and always carry snacks that will cover the needs of our body and provide us with energy until next meal. Fruits, as well as vegetables, are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and by combining them with protein, e.g. 1 portion of low-fat cheese, ½ cup of cottage cheese or 1 cup of kefir, we increase the nutritional value of our snack and reduce its glycaemic load.