Fuel For Moms On The Go | Nutritional Expert Ciara Ryan
As a nutritional therapist and mum of three, I’m often asked what are good nutritional quick fixes when you’re time poor or how to eat to fuel a busy lifestyle without resorting to the biscuit tin for that sugar lift.
As parents, we often put ourselves to the bottom of the queue and then end up grabbing unhealthy and unsatisfactory quick fixes such as a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal to try keep our energy from flagging.
I have had many clients who pull into the petrol station on their way home from work for a bar (or two!) of chocolate, or who lovingly prepare wholesome meals for their children yet shovel a bowl of pasta down as they jump between all the various tasks of a busy day.
With this in mind, let me share with you some of the tools and tips that have helped me.
Protein for Breakfast
Some years ago, when I began to change how I ate, this was one of the biggest game changers for me. Consuming protein, such as eggs for breakfast, will make a huge difference to your blood sugar control throughout the day which will in turn reduce cravings and prevent energy slumps.
So ditch the sugary cereals and white toast, if you start your day with sugar, you will want sugar all day! Eggs, smoked salmon, natural yogurt and nuts are all good breakfast choices.
: When you need to be out the door, opt for yogurt with berries and ground seeds. When you have a little more time, one of my favourites is wholegrain toast, with mashed avocado and topped with two poached eggs.
A little prep goes a long way
If you have the right foods in your cupboard, then you will make a better choice when hunger kicks in. Good quick fixes for snacks include oatcakes and nut butter, berries, melon chunks, vegetable crudités and hummus, nuts and seeds.
Batch cooking is a brilliant time saver and helps when you’ve a busy day. When I’m prepping dinner, I often chop enough veg to do two days, and when I’m cooking meals such as stews, curries or pies I always make double or treble batch and freeze.
One of my favourite go-to snacks is an oatcake spread with almond butter and a square of 85% dark chocolate on top, delicious! Have a bag of nuts and some fruit in your car or on your desk, nuts contain protein and some healthy fats which won’t spike your blood sugar like refined foods do.
Be Supermarket Savvy
If you do one favour for your health, then it is to switch from being the calorie counting police to becoming the nutritional density detective. Read the labels on the foods you buy and choose wisely. Ingredients are listed from largest to smallest amount (by weight). This means a food contains the largest amount of the first ingredient and the smallest amount of the last ingredient.
Buy more foods that don’t have a label or a list of ingredients such as fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits.
Learn to see past the creative language used, such as 'farm fresh', 'traditional', 'farmhouse'. Many of these mean very little to the actual product you are buying.
My very quick rules of thumb are - The least ingredients the better, if sugar is in the first 3 or 4 ingredients then it goes back on the shelf and if the food is deliberately targeted at and advertised to children, then it never crosses my door. For more expert advice, check out eumom's Nutritional Expert - Ciara Ryan.
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