Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Having a Plan

I'm in a deadline frenzy this whole week, and I had this post in the can for just such an occasion. Sometimes it's good to take a break from complicated recipes and look back at the simplest building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.

Working from home can be extremely convenient, but even when you have more time available to spend in the kitchen there are plenty of obstacles to overcome when you're trying to eat good, clean food all the time. Even we need a strategy.

It's lunchtime and I'm hungry already, but I'm chasing a deadline and don't have time to make a meal.

It's easy to excuse bad eating habits when you're rushed. I used to cave under the pressure of this situation constantly and eat whatever was around- especially if it was made of bread or cheese. Nowadays I take a two-pronged approach to combating this problem: 1- I don't keep bread and cheese-type snacks in the house anymore, or anything I'm likely to eat too much of when I'm not eating consciously. And 2-I have a list of favorite emergency foods that I try to keep stocked at all times:
  • frozen edamame
  • soup (cans are ok, but leftover homemade is better)
  • peanut butter & celery
  • yogurt & homemade granola
  • bananas & other whole fruits
  • whole grain muffins
  • raw nuts

Curse the luck, I actually ran out of my latest batch of raisin muffins yesterday, but I've already had two and a half of those items today. I also ate an avocado salad with some parmesan cheese (hey, quit looking at me funny) and discovered that the combination of those two flavors is really similar to bacon... either that or I'm finally cracking.

I have to be in the car traveling for several hours, and the only food available on the road is fast food.

This one comes up for me a lot during convention season. It's tempting to stop at McDonalds or somewhere equally horrible because fast food chains do an incredible job of making it seem like you'll be starving to death if you don't eat one of their extreme high calorie meals, plus a lot of fresh foods won't keep well in the car. But those aren't good excuses; if you're capable of packing a suitcase, you can pack a bag of delicious food for a car trip. Not to mention that nearly every time I've given in and eaten fast food on the road, I've paid for it later with awful stomach cramps and that should be enough motivation right there.

If you own a cooler, by all means use it to pack perishables, but if you don't, try any of these items that will keep fresh without refrigeration for a few hours:
  • a water bottle for each passenger (it's important to stay hydrated!)
  • trail mix (granola, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, etc.)
  • grapes
  • apples
  • bananas
  • kale chips (or other baked veggie chips)
  • non-messy sandwiches on whole grain bread
  • carrot sticks
  • homemade peanut butter crackers
  • fresh veg or fruit juice in a resealable bottle


  1. I'm with you- I always carry water, fruit, and a serving of almonds with me. Sometimes lately a freshly made smoothie too.
    Being busy makes sticking to clean eating tough sometimes. I'm kinda just coming out of a horrible takeout food week, having found myself in a position where I couldn't really cook much and I was unprepared. Never letting that happen ever again.
    I think a huge part of giving in to prepared junk meals is the pure convenience factor. So your plan with having easy items on hand makes perfect sense. My big question for you is- do you often make food that can be stored in the freezer for busy times?
    And if so, can you recommend any recipes that work well for this?

    1. Freezing stuff for later is such a good idea, and while I do it sometimes, I admittedly don't do it enough! I'll have to make a post dedicated to that soon.

      Sounds like you're doing well with the food preparedness. :)