The Perils of Grab and Go!

One of the challenges of beginning the return to a familiar world of offices and travel is eating well.

Working at home has created an ideal opportunity to focus on good nutrition; theoretically at least.  It’s a more controlled environment in which you can better plan what and when to eat. That’s assuming that you haven’t spent all your waking hours on back-to-back video calls with just enough time to open a packet at the end of the day!

When it comes to resilience, you really are what you eat, so here are ten ideas to help keep you on track.

  1. Recognise your energy needs. How many calories do you need each day? This varies but it’s probably somewhere between 2,000 – 2,500 calories, depending on your age, gender, lifestyle, hormonal factors, and your medical condition. Recognise what you need and do a bit of personal research.
  2. Track what you are consuming. You can’t change what isn’t being measured. Try apps like MyFitnessPal. They may feel a bit of a pain to begin with, but they are well worth the effort.
  3. Know your target macros – protein, carbs and fat. Follow a grab-and-go lifestyle and you are very likely going to be eating too many carbs and not enough protein; maybe lots of fats as well. A reasonable start point for protein is to consume a minimum of 0.8g for each kg of your body weight. Protein is essential for immunity and resilience and it’s a lot more filling than carbs.
  4. Eat minimally processed foods. That’s what your body is designed for. Fast food is mostly junk and so are most snacks. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and eat the rainbow (nature helps healthy choices). The five a day target isn’t there for nothing and it’s a good way of hitting your fibre needs.
  5. Keep sugar to a minimum. We’ll explore this in a later blog but too much sugar plays havoc with your insulin levels and that’s never a good thing for your energy and resilience. It also leads to expensive dental bills! And don’t be fooled by low-fat, sugar-free convenience food. It’s a long way from being good for you.
  6. Stay hydrated – forget all the marketing nonsense put out by the makers of sports drinks and look at your pee – it should mostly be straw-coloured. Best way to achieve this? Plenty of water!
  7. Stop relying on pickups – coffee, tea, sugary drinks. If you are tired, rest. If are thirsty … see above!
  8. Be a bit cynical. Most faddy supplements are a big waste of money but a multi-vitamin and mineral tablet each day isn’t going to do any harm and the B vitamin family can be deficient in some diets. There’s a bit of evidence that vitamin D levels are too low in most people at least during the winter months, so that could also be something to look at.
  9. Plan and prepare – a lot of poor food choices and/or relying on fast or highly packaged food are down to a total lack of forethought. We’ve all been there, but you deserve better!
  10. Do a bit of research and reading. Our recommendation now is Spoon-Fed by the wonderful Tim Spector. Rangan Chaterjee also speaks a lot of sense and so does Michael Mosley. More to the point, they all write readable books!

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