Nutrition Tips for Busy Professionals

Bonnie Pace, MS, CNS, LDN


      Working from home has added all-new challenges into the already stretched thin lives of busy professionals.  Getting your own work done on top of making sure the kids get online for classes and keeping everyone focused can be a juggling act. In some cases, making homemade, nutritious meals was one of the first things to be sacrificed. Here are a few nutrition hacks to make life easier in this crazy time.

Plan ahead.  Who hasn’t opened and closed the fridge ten times at 5 pm hoping a meal might appear? With a little bit of planning, it can be a reality.  Even if it’s just breakfasts or lunches, make a plan for the week, and go shopping armed with recipes so you can have everything on hand. 

Take shortcuts.  Buy your veggies already chopped.  Look for fresh soup starters at the market that contains all the ingredients you need except broth.  (Always keep broth stocked in your pantry!) Make one-pan meals, including your protein, veggies, and starch altogether.  Look for prepackaged meals at the grocery store that take out the guesswork and all you need to do is shake them onto a cookie sheet or a skillet. 

Dust off your slow cooker.  You can put all the ingredients into a large bag the night before, and in the morning pour them into the slow cooker so they will be ready by dinner time.  The internet has amazing recipes.  Find a couple of sites that you have success with and use them as your go-to.

Prepare for snack attacks. With everyone home, this becomes even more important.  Keep healthy snacks on hand for the whole family.  Of course, chopped veggies and fruits and the most nutrient-dense, but Low Sugar (<5 grams) Kind Bars, Nitrate free Jerky, and small bags of pretzels are also good to help keep up the energy for the day.

Better Fast-Food Choices. There will be times when the day gets away from you and Fast Food is what everyone wants.  There are ways to make healthy choices here: try to stick to Grilled not fried when it comes to your protein.  Beware of salads that have more fat than a double cheeseburger!  Added cheese and heavy dressings are the culprits.  Think more veggies, dressings that you can see through (I.e. vinaigrettes) less cheese, and other heavy toppings.  And the easiest way to make these meals healthier… stay away from sweetened beverages.

Keep it simple!  Repetition is ok.  You have done much harder things this past year.  Creating healthier dining habits shouldn’t have to be one of them.