We've all found ourselves in that constant loop: work, work out, come home, spend time with family, sleep and repeat. With this monotonous, yet hectic, schedule, it’s easy to find yourself putting nutritional needs on the back burner. After all, you work hard all day at your job, then come home to an even more important job— being the best partner and father you can be.
So, how can you juggle being a super employee, super husband and super dad while still staying in super shape? These tips can help ensure your body receives the nutrients it needs to stay driven all day long.
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Unless you’re on a strictly regulated weight loss plan, nutritional value should come before calories. Don’t get caught up in the metrics and macros of what you’re eating, especially when short on time. Yes, a single avocado has 234 calories and 21 grams of fat, but how does this actually benefit your body?
Although calorie-dense, avocados are packed with vitamins C, E, K and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, potassium folate and magnesium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids, helping you feel fuller between meals.
Many healthy foods we eat, like whole grains, meat, fish and nuts, fall under the same category — high in calories, yet also high in nutritional value. Don’t obsess over nutrition labels when far greater health benefits are at stake. Your goal, instead, should be to “eat the rainbow” with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean eating the same bland chicken, rice and veggies all week — although it can, if that’s what works best for you. If you choose to go this route, be sure each meal has enough protein, carbs, vegetables and healthy fats to fuel your week. However, switching up your meals is proven to help keep you in good health and protect against chronic disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
For instance, eating broccoli every day is good, but eating broccoli, carrots, spinach and asparagus every day is better. This is because each vegetable — as well as many fruits, legumes and grains — is packed with different polyphenols, which are said to boost digestion and brain health, as well as protect against heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
There are more than 8,000 polyphenols that bring unique benefits, so sticking to one or two foods means you’ll miss out on many of these critical nutrients. Even in a time crunch, you can still include a diverse selection of polyphenol-rich foods for maximum benefits.
If you’ve never meal prepped before, here are some guidelines to get you started.
First, focus on protein you can repurpose. For example, say you cook two pounds of ground beef, ground turkey or chicken on Sunday. You can then use that as a base for tacos, rice bowls, lettuce wraps, stir fries or a hearty meat sauce throughout the week.
When it comes to vegetables, always keep freshly chopped, vitamin-dense romaine or spinach on hand for quick salads. You can also pre-cook, store and reheat your favorite veggies as simple sides.
Give the same treatment to carbs as you do your protein and vegetables. Cooked whole grain pasta and rice, potatoes and tortillas are excellent staples for any meal and can be kept in the fridge for days.
For fruit, bananas, apples, pears and peaches are always ready to grab and eat. You can also clean, wash, chop and store berries ahead of time for an easy snack, yogurt or smoothie addition.
When prepping your proteins and veggies for the week, cook with a tablespoon or two of olive oil for an extra boost of healthy fats to keep you fuller longer.
With a bit of creativity and trial and error, you can begin to build delicious, nutritious meals with half the time and effort it would take to cook from scratch.
Whether you’re grabbing a quick snack between meetings, treating the family to a nice dinner or meeting a friend for happy hour, life’s happenings make it impossible to eat your perfectly balanced meal-prep 100% of the time (and you probably wouldn’t want to, anyway). However, that doesn’t mean nutrition should go out the window as soon as you enter a restaurant.
Most restaurants, including fast food, offer plenty of healthy options for those conscious about their daily nutritional intake. But you don’t need to order a kale salad to reap nutritional benefits. In fact, simple swaps in your ordering habits can make a big difference.
Here are a few examples:
If you’ve already gotten a surplus of greens elsewhere throughout the day, get the fries. Life is short, and there are plenty of daily supplements that can help you reach your nutritional goals on days where you fall short.
While supplements should never be used to replace the nutrients we get from food, they can quickly help you reach your daily goals for vitamins, minerals, protein and more. The supplements you choose should be based on what your diet lacks.
Those who don’t eat much meat, for example, should consider supplementing with protein powder shakes. If eating the recommended nine cups of fruits and veggies each day feels like a chore, try squeezing in your last couple servings with a greens supplement.
Whether it’s a tablet, capsule or powder, supplements can help your body operate at peak performance, even on days when healthy eating isn't your biggest priority. Mdrive Start and Mdrive Greens are a great place to start.
These serve as the perfect grab-and-go breakfast, lunch or snack for busy men on the move. Just remember to switch up your smoothie mix-ins for even greater nutritional benefits.
Overall, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, meal prepping, making smart choices while dining out and supplementing with Mdrive will help you pack in extra nutrition that keeps you strong and energized every day — so you can continue to be that super employee, super husband and super dad as you age.
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