I have been struggling for years to somehow eat healthy while working. I work four 12 hour shifts and stay at a hotel for those days which extremely limits my ability to prepare fresh foods to take with me, so I am basically stuck with whatever takeout I can grab. Previously my work diet has been atrocious and has now led to high blood pressure so I am looking to somehow salvage a healthy diet out of my limited options. So I came up with this...
% RDA of those combined
Vitamin A - 65%
Vitamin C - 55%
Calcuim - 32%
Iron - 35%
Fiber - 40%
Protien - 57g
Calories - 1020
Fat - 52%
Sat Fat - 50%
Cholesterol - 100%
Sodium - 59%
Carbs - 45%
This leaves me lacking in just about every vitamin and mineral but I'm already maxed on cholesterol. Which actually is OK for me. I am the type that always seems to have good cholesterol levels no matter what I eat. Its sodium I usually have a problem with. Normally the above listed meal plus two 20 oz Pepsis throughout the day (adding 500 empty calories and more carbs) is all I usually eat at roughly 1500 calories a day. Lately I have also been making Blueberry milkshakes for desert using low fat Frozen Yogurt which fills out my calcium needs and may bring my vitamins up a bit rounding out the calories at around 1800 in addition to whatever antioxidants and good stuff in blueberries.
Given that this is what I am going to eat (not much choice otherwise) what can I eat for dinner to round out this meal plan. Preferably something that doesn't require any sort of preparation. Should I just stop there and take a multivitamin and a fiber pill? Looks like I need some veggies or beans of some sort to round this out. I could drop a Pepsi to make more room for food calories which would probably be necessary. Currently I am absolutely stuffed and couldnt eat another bite for the rest of the day after just eating the 1020 calories. I almost need the pepsi calories to avoid massive weight loss. Is it ok to miss out on certain vitamins for 4 days as long as you eventually get the vitamins later in the week? And this happens every week.
Also Ive tried just about everything around that is semi healthy and these items are the only ones I can stomach as is. Anything else I'd end up taking all the nuts and dried cranberries or whatever and half the stuff off of it so I have no clue what the end nutritional value is.
I do eat fairly healthy on my off days so a lot of other nutrients like selenium I end up getting, just not every day. Is there any hope for this work diet at all or am I just stuck with bad nutrition on my work days.
Last edited by Jayzen; 07-31-2010 at 08:56 AM.
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When you say, "whatever takeout I can grab", are you talking about takeout from a convenience store or takeout from a supermarket? Or possibly somewhere else? Is this one establishment the only place available to you?
It is most convenient by far being its in the same building. There are grocery stores and restaurants in the area which are available. The major issue with grocery stores is that I stay at a hotel when working so I am limited in counter space, small hotel fridge, no freezer, no kitchen, sink is in the bathroom and I'm not eating anything prepared in a bathroom, so preparing stuff is problematic and bringing things from home is out since it would have to last up to 5 days in an unreliable hotel mini fridge.
Great question, and a not-so great situation. The blueberry smoothie sounds like a fantastic start.
Is there a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or some other natural food store nearby? You could easily pick up healthy prepared food each day from there, if that is an option.
Otherwise you're going to have to be a little more creative. Many fruits can survive unrefrigerated just fine, think apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, etc. and these are packed full of nutrients. Eat a variety of nuts each day (a handful or so, they contain a lot of calories): mix it up...almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc...
STOP drinking Pepsi. This is a bad habit that would be really useful to quit. Drink water. Or if this is too bland, try some 100% fruit juice mixed with soda water or plain water. Or maybe a packet of Emergen-C with some water. Straight juice has a ton of sugar and calories and should be diluted or drunk in small quantities.
Can you sub a veggie sandwich or salad twice a week instead of ham? You're getting lots of sodium from the ham, read the label.
For fiber, you need grains and beans. Fruits and veggies will help too. How about hummus spread on whole grain bread? Or bean dip and multi-grain tortilla chips? A bag of baby carrots? These things will store ok in the mini fridge, even if it isn't the greatest.
Try whole foods before resorting to pills--you'll get the nutrition you need. I would recommend picking up the book Superfoods Rx by Steven G Pratt for a list of 12 nutrient-packed foods plus a ton of ways to incorporate them into your diet.
I feel your pain. I too have struggled to tailor a healthy diet while holding nose firmly to grindstone. Your biggest ally is that you are concerned and proactive about it. I'll try to streamline here. You seem to have a few key issues/points to work around. A) convenience B) convenience C) dried cranberries and nuts...Ha! But seriously, the real key to fixing your problem would be to pack from home/grocery store. Pack healthy wide spectrum foods with no special stroage required, and basically no preparation needed. Get bananas. They'll keep, no prep req., and are full of fiber and potassium which will combat that pesky sodium/high BP issue. They are only 100-150 calories a piece and will give you instant vitamins, fiber, and energy. Buy Bars. If you don't like certain nuts or berries in them, find others. They only have like 2 million options out there. Those breakfast cereal/milk bars are full of vitamins and you can get them in lots of delicious flavors, no nuts required. Nutrigrain bars are good with fruit and grain, but no lumps. There are tons of Bar options, and once you find your favorites...they're like nutrition gold. They'll keep for months, in your pocket, in the desert, on a glacier and taste great everytime while delivering vitamins, minerals, and fiber for generally 150-200 calories a pop. If you can stomach low sodium v8 with your meal would be great, adds a couple of veggie servings, tons of potassium, vitamins E, A, etc...for less than 100 calories for the big bottles. If not, go for the v8 fruit blends that have tons of the same great stuff, but taste more pleasing to some. More gold? Buy those vaccum packed tuna lunches in the canned tuna section with relish, low fat mayo, and crackers. They would suffice at dinner for ease, store anyway/anywhere, and have good protein. Also, I promise they will not make anyone but a two day old kitten feel gorged. I'm gross and like sardines and crackers, another good low calorie protein dinner that keeps for like a thousand years, but only the brave few agree with me on them. Speaking of the brave few I really think my last can of them came from WWII...ha. Just kidding. Think of it as exotic sushi! They also have canned chicken breast. I'm not too big on the health value canned things(BPA), but from time to time its ok. Bread keeps. Buy some wheat bread, or diet wheat buns, and now...peanut butter. Peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and nothing, or channel Elvis and eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches...which buy the way are healthy and fricking fabulous! If you have to eat out, try and find a Subway. Captain D's has some great low calorie fish dinners with steamed veggies and baked potatoes. Do grilled chicken salads or wraps at the other places, just get Italian or vinegarettes if your concerned about calories. Vending machines offer juices and water, usually a granola type bar, and hopefully a healthier type of chip like Sunchips. Which you could also buy in a big bag and have in your room for low calories snacking reasons...or even some veggies chips! Dang, if all else fails get some Slim Fast or Ensure and chug them at the end of the day. They taste like chocolate, have lots of vitamins, and keep forever. I could go on and on, but will say these few last words and leave you in peace...read about organic Hawaiin chlorella/spirulina, Voots, GNC Super Green Foods, and don't fear supplementing if necessary. Of course getting everything from food sources 100% of the time is ideal; but so is clean air, good posture, and constantly pure thoughts...be realistic and consistent with your efforts, and over time you will perfect a most satisfactory plan.