It’s 11:45am and you just got back from your weekly update meeting with your team. Your stomach is growling but you didn’t have time to make lunch before leaving for work because you woke up late and all you had for breakfast was a stale piece of raisin toast and butter. You hear someone mention going for sushi, maybe Thai Express, perhaps even McDonald’s. You don’t care that it’s the Tuesday after the long weekend and that you promised yourself you’d eat out less this week because you’re hungry and all you want is food.
We have all been there. Hunger takes over and we fill ourselves with anything, even though it might cost us anywhere between five and $2o, maybe even more.
One of my best friends recently asked me, “How do you never buy food when you’re at work or school?” I’ve been asked this question numerous times, sometimes leading to me being labeled as the “health freak” who doesn’t like eating out and counts calories. I assure you, I enjoy a slice of cake and an order of french fries with extra salt. I just have a good habit of bringing food from home, most of the time.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always had breakfast, followed by a morning snack, then lunch, followed by an afternoon snack, then dinner, which is sometimes also followed by an evening snack. Naturally, I’m hungry at the same times every day, because those times are when my body has consumed food for the past 22+ years. My food “schedule” isn’t etched in stone and changes on numerous occasions, and yes, is sometimes disrupted due to a fast-food craving on a Wednesday. However, when I leave for the day, I make sure I’m prepared with the right amount of food I know I’ll need from the moment I leave my house at 6:45am until the second I get in the front door, just under 12 hours later.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain that they’re hungry but don’t have food with them or money to buy some. We get hungry every single day, so why are we going places ill prepared of this natural and daily occurrence?
We all have our own schedules. We all know the ways our bodies work. No one can really tell you how much food you need in a day or what you should be consuming, because you know you better than anyone else. What I can say, though, is this:
- Wake up an hour before you have to leave to make sure you not only have had a healthy and filling breakfast, but that you’ve also had time to pack the necessary fuel you’ll need for your busy day. And no, I’m not talking about packing your 3:00pm Red Bull or Diet Coke. I’m referring to fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese and nuts. All the things that will give you the energy you need to make it through
- Waking up early not for you? All good! Get your lunch ready the night before or prepare your meals on the weekend, or whenever you might have time off
- Preparing your daily food will not only be a healthy change to mowing on street meat weekly (though, oh my goodness do those hot dogs smell like heaven), but doing so will also help your wallet. Have you ever gone a day without spending money? Probably not! Challenge yourself to save some coin daily by bringing food with you, regardless of where you’re headed
- The more fuel and nutrients you give your body will not only help your health, but it will also keep you from feeling exhausted when 4:30pm comes around
- Let’s face it, I get hungry only a few hours after I eat lunch. I have no shame in pulling out a handful of almonds or a cucumber to munch on while getting some work done
- If you have food in your bag, I wonder if you’ll say, “I got so busy today I forgot to eat,” less? I don’t think I’ve ever said that, for the record
- If you’re thinking, “Preparing food means I need to go grocery shopping,” you’re right and I don’t feel sorry for you. Grocery stores exist for a reason and have an enormous selection of items for every taste bud. I know, carrying eight No Frills bags in from the car or off the bus isn’t the most fun, but think of how awesome the impact of fresh groceries will be on your energy level and wallet
Here are a few meals I’ve made this week:
What are your tricks for staying full and energized daily?