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Help/Tips/Advice for improving carb/protein balance in diet

I'd really like to eat more protein and fewer starches, and just generally improve my diet, energy levels, and health. But I'm also really busy. Long day, long commute, 2 small kids, etc. I don't have nearly as much time to cook or prep as I'd like. When I rush out of the house in the morning, I grab whatever food I can find that will sustain me through the day. And unfortunately, the most shelf stable foods are the starches. Crackers, cookies, breads, chips, granola bars, cereal. Everything else needs to be prepped. Even the shelf stable proteins - canned beans, tuna - they're not really grab and go, unless I also grab a can opener, some condiments, spices, etc.

I know many of you are busy too, and trying to be healthy. How can I shift the nutrient balance in my diet without throwing my routine off balance?

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  1. One more little tidbit. I strongly dislike the flavor of leftover chicken or turkey. I love it cooked the first day. After it sits in the fridge, it develops this strange gamey flavor that is very offputting to me. The only times I don't notice it is with chicken meatballs - maybe because they are so strongly flavored with other things. Does anyone else have this weird poultry leftover aversion?

    Anyhow, didn't want to make it too easy to reply :)

    1. i know your life is chaotic but i always tell my clients they HAVE to carve out a few minutes for preparation/planning. if taking care of your health is a priority, you'll find the time.

      get yourself a personal-size cooler [with a couple of cold packs] that you can take to work. those things are perfect for stashing yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, deli turkey slices [notice i didn't say leftover turkey :)], hard-cooked eggs, small containers of hummus or other bean dip, bags of raw veggies...

      stock up on all your groceries over the weekend, and as soon as you get them home, divide everything into individual serving sizes for the week and stash in the fridge. this is also the time to make anything that requires a little extra time to prepare [e.g. tuna salad]. once everything is ready to go, all you have to do is tack a couple of extra minutes onto dinner prep each night to pack your cooler for the next day, and you can grab it from the fridge on your way out the door.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Everything GHG mentioned is exactly what I was going to mention. I really do my stuff over the weekends in preparation for the busy week ahead. Now, if you are ridiculously busy and can justify the expense- they do most of that stuff in individual servings...(i.e., cottage cheese (sometimes in combination with fruit...not appealing to me personally), carrot sticks with hummus or other veggies sold together in small containers...etc. That being said -for sake of the environment and your wallet, if you can set aside an hour on Sunday- to use a 1/2 cup to scoop up cottage cheese and stick them in glad containers; or snack baggies full of raw carrots (and just bring a regular size container of hummus and store at work, etc.), OR string cheese, or raw/unsalted nuts or other things like that-you'll be good to go.

      2. I work from home now, but when I used to work in an office, I would do the following:
        -- Keep yogurt and instant oatmeal in the office so in case I didn't have time to eat at home, I had a healthful back-up at the office
        -- On Sundays, I would make a big pot/pan of something -- stews, casseroles, fritattas, meatloafs -- anything that I can cook in a large quatity and divide up into portions -- and this one item would be my lunch for the entire week. This only works if you do not mind eating the same thing for lunch everyday, though.
        -- Have a variety of teas around -- there are so many lovely teas out now, that a nice cup of it in the middle of the day can get you through to lunch -- doesn't necesarily give you an calories for energy, but there is something about a nice cup of tea that is very satisfying.

        Years ago when I was at one of my first jobs out of college and not making a lot of money, I would buy bulk cans of tuna and leave them at work (and left the can opener there) and would then go to McDonald's for a $1 salad and some dressing and plop the tuna right on top. That not only was a cheap meal, but it was fairly nutritous.

        Good luck.

        1. My favorite item that I always keep on hand is Stonyfield Fat Free vanilla yogurt. The taste is creamy and the texture is more like custurd. Buy some frozen blueberries or cherries or whatever you like and mix it in.

          There are several high protein cereals and oatmeals on the market like Kashi Go Lean, plus look for ones that are high in fiber/whole grains that will be more satisfying. I really like the Arrowhead Mills brand.

          1. Easiest grab and go, shelf stable protein-heavy food is nuts. I buy in bulk at costco!