This part of our weekly How To series …
So as my regular readers know, this month I have been earning a little extra cash as a driver helper for UPS. One of the unexpected challenges of this job is figuring out what to bring for lunch. During this busy holiday season you usually eat whenever you can along the route. And of course, I don’t want to buy lunch since I got this job to make money, not spend money.
Where I sit (and occassionally eat) on the truck
Generally you have to put together a lunch with things that are:
- Easy to eat with dirty hands
- A good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates so that you can sustain energy all day long
- Easy to eat while sitting, standing or moving without making a mess
Here are some of the best things I have found…
- Sandwiches or wraps that are cut so that you don’t have to eat it all at once. I pack them in a sandwich bag so that I don’t have to hold the sandwich directly. I find that peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese work well as a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs. You may consider bringing two sandwiches instead of more snacks.
- Nuts and/or trail mix in a container that allows you to shake them out. Small boxes of raisins are easy to eat on the move.
- Fruit with a peel – bananas are easiest to eat on the move.
- Apple slices, baby carrots, or other fruits and vegetables cut into smaller snacking sizes
- Granola bars or protein bars
- Applesauce in a squeeze pouch - these are an awesome invention, designed for toddlers but useful for anyone that wants a quick healthy snack with no mess
- Yogurt is a great healthy snack. If you have time to eat it with a spoon you can avoid the really sugary types, but if you really need portability, try Yoplait’s Go Gurt
- String cheese! - since it comes in a plastic wrapper that peels back this is an awesome snack
- Small cans of V8 Juice – if you can stomach it (I can’t) these are an awesome way to get a vegetable serving
Have you been faced with this challenge? What foods do you recommend?
So in our (almost) weekly How To Series we are sharing information and tips on something we have learned through our travels and experience. Right before we left on our road trip I finished up a long effort to move from the obese weight range to the healthy weight range.
In January 2010, I weighed in at 190 lbs. At 5′ 6″, I was tipping the scales into the obese category. I didn’t believe it. How could this have happened? I was only a few years out of college, and although I had been overweight throughout my life, I was always only 10 or 15 pounds from the healthy range and always thought I could lose it in a couple of months of hard work. Now I was 30 pounds away from the healthy range and things were getting out of control.
Before and after photos only 6 months into my weight loss
Jump forward to today, I have been on the road for over seven months and have managed to hover between 155 and 165 pounds. In other words, I have kept off the weight that I lost in 2010 and am still in the healthy range, if on the high end. Having gotten to this point I am ready to share how I did it and hopefully inspire someone else to make health a priority in her life.
A recent photo taken during our bike ride on the Rainbow Rim trail
- Give yourself time. I gave myself an entire year to lose 30 pounds. My goal was 1 pound a week during good months and maintaining during difficult times such as the holiday season. Be realistic when setting your goal.
- Make a specific goal and write it down. Instead of focusing on the weight (which can be influenced by multiple factors and can be extremely frustrating), look at “higher level” goals that will get to the same result. I set three goals, 1) eat more vegetables … 2) Limit sweets to Saturdays and Sundays … 3) Exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. For me, these activities would end up keeping everything else in check. Figure out what your key behaviors are and focus on those.
- Keep records. I used the free Lose It app on my IPOD touch to record everything that I ate and my exercise. Recording everything keeps you accountable and stops you from slipping back into bad habits. I also weighed myself everyday, but only recorded it once a week.
- Learn to like things that are good for you. Your tastes can change and if you have developed a taste for fake sugar (soda) or fried foods it can take a while to adjust your tastes to healthier options. However, once you have found healthy foods that you like and are sticking to them it will taste strange or even make you sick to go back to fake food. I tried to follow Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”. I started snacking on yogurt (the kind without fake sugar) and tried new vegetables like swiss chard and beets. I also fell in love with roasted chicken and realized how easy and affordable it is to roast a whole chicken!
- It takes both healthy eating and regular exercise. I have tried focusing on one or the other (eating or exercise) but ultimately I realized you have to do both. If you don’t exercise regularly, start by adding a little of each type (stretching, aerobic, and strength) to your daily routine. A lot of people just focus on walking, but I think that adding stretching and strength will get you better results faster even if you are not doing a lot of them.
Our favorite new healthy meal, Roasted Chicken
Earlier this week I wrote a post about My Commitment to Stay Healthy on the Road. Well, I’m very pleased to report that I had some great ideas from readers and I would like to share a few:
I love the website http://www.yogadownload.com/ because it has some neat options for trying different yoga routines, then when you find one you really like you can buy it and have a pdf of the different poses as well as an audio voice talking you through it – after a few sessions, all you need is the audio on an ipod!
bring some little tupperware containers with you, and every person you stay with, you could ask to steal a little of whatever sauces or salad dressings sound good in the fridge, for a lot of variety of things to dip fresh veggies into as you drive.
From Mary Anne, who did a bike tour across Canada:
She suggests cous cous with a variety of add ins such as kale, chick peas, and cubed cheese … Cover with all other ingredients, drizzle oil & vinegar on top, and enjoy! – while bike touring my tour partner and I would make a LOT of this, eat half of it one night then save the other half for lunch the next day.
Farmers markets can be pricey depending on the location, but most areas have them now and you can buy as little as you want. Since their focus is fresh/seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can stock up on non-perishables that are easy to use without cooking and tasty too!
Take walks everywhere. It will help you learn your new neighborhood and it’s aerobic exercise.
Thanks guys for the great suggestions! We welcome additional ideas and recipes.
I do well with routine. For those who know the “True Colors” Personality profile, I am a Gold/Green and I find that making specific goals and sticking to a regular schedule are the best way for me to stay healthy and organized. Last year, I committed to creating healthy habits around eating. I used the free Lose It! App on the IPOD touch to record every single thing that I ate and to track my calories. In addition, I used the Wii Fit to check in everyday and track my progress with weight and BMI. Finally, I focused on cooking more and integrating more vegetables into my diet.
With these three strategies, I was able to move from the edge of obesity to the edge of normalcy, 32 pounds of weight loss.
Last year my go to healthy recipe was this Roast Chicken, which won't be possible on the road
For 2011, a regular schedule is out of the question. We are going to be on the road all year and living in a variety of different circumstances. I am concerned about keeping the healthy habits that I learned last year, while also building new ones (such as brushing and flossing after every meal).
- A much tighter food budget (one of last year’s strategies was to splurge on great food that was also healthy so that I would be encouraged to eat healthy food at home)
- No scale, Wii Fit, or group fitness classes
- a lack of routine or even sense of time that will make it challenging to do something at the same time every day
- limited health insurance coverage — It will be more important than ever to stay healthy, because any trips to the doctor are going to be far more expensive
Strategies for staying healthy on the road:
- Find healthy recipes that can be made on our camping stove or without cooking
- Continue to record my food in the Lose It! app
- Use a measuring tape to take a waist measurement everyday and record it using my IPOD touch
- Start each morning with a routine that is flexible enough to be possible anywhere (stretching, healthy breakfast, brushing & flossing, journaling)
Do you have a healthy recipe or suggestion you can recommend?