Laurann O'Reilly: Five top tips for 'eating on the go'

Laurann O'Reilly writing in this week's Nationalist

Six top nutrition tips for boosting your immune health with Laurann O'Reilly

Laurann O'Reilly

We all know that life can get a little busy sometimes with our work-life juggle. With that we can often sacrifice eating well, particularly when we’re on the go all of the time.

Whether it’s not getting time for proper meals, eating convenience foods or forgetting to eat, we can often forget the importance of fitting nourishing and healthy meals into our day, not only for energy but to keep our bodies and immune systems strong.

Here nutritionist Laurann O’Reilly and owner of Nutrition By Laurann brings us through her top nutritious tips for eating on the go.

1) Have A Good Breakfast: As our bodies are meant to go into a state of starvation when we sleep, starting the day with a nutritious breakfast can set our day off to a great start especially if we lead busy lives.

That’s why they call it ‘break-fast’. Tip: If you have a super early start, why not prep a jar of overnight oats to bring with you (see my recipe below).

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

- Cereals: Porridge oats or unsweetened/low sugar wholegrain cereal such as Weetabix topped with cinnamon and fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango and apricots.

- Eggs: Eggs are so versatile whether you like them poached, boiled or scrambled along with wholegrain bread or toast.

- Yogurt & Fruit: Try yoghurt with some chopped fruit, or some toast with a chopped banana

- Fruit & Oat Smoothie: This is a great way to fit in your 5-a-day as well as packing in your vitamins and minerals.

Tip 1: Why not prepare some chopped fruit such as banana/apple/pear/pineapple and some berries such as strawberries/raspberries/ cranberries/blueberries pop into Ziplock bags and store in the freezer as a ready to go smoothie mix.

Tip 2: To increase the fibre content and make your smoothies more nutritious add some oats or flax seed (this is better for stabilising your blood sugar levels too).

2) Meal Planning: Pick a day when there’s time to plan and cook your healthy meals for the week, this helps to make your week more seamless and ensures that you have your meals prepared after a busy day. It also helps to avoid the temptation of convenience or takeaway foods.

You can download my free Meal Planning Guide here: https://nutritionbylaurann.ie/your-meal-planning-guide/

3) Prep Your Snacks: When we’re on the go or on the road and we get those dreaded hunger pangs, the temptation may be to reach for high-sugar and high fat convenience foods, which not only are high in energy but can also cause us to have a sugar crash soon after.

Tip 1: Why not pack or prepare some healthy snacks such as fruit, pre-chopped, crackers, popcorn, nuts, seeds and yogurts.

Tip 2: To keep your food cool on the go, particularly perishable foods such as yogurt, cheese, meats or sauce-based foods it may be worth investing in a cooler bag or box, which can help to keep both you and your food safe.

4) Hydration: I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of getting to the end of a crazy day, juggling work and life to realise we haven’t had a drop of water (coffee aside), but we mustn’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated. With more than 60% of our bodies composed of water, it’s involved in many important body functions such as digestion, joint health, eye health, memory/concentration, regulating our temperature and healthy skin to name a few.

Tip: Why not invest in a reusable BPA free water bottle which you can keep topped up throughout the day and bring with you, whether you’re at the desk, on the road, in school or working out. Think ‘keys, phone, wallet, water bottle’.

- Signs of Dehydration: It’s important to remember that if you’re feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Here are some signs that you may be dehydrated

1) Yellow Urine: Urine or your pee is a really good indicator of your hydration status. Dark coloured urine is a sign of dehydration. You should aim for pale straw-coloured urine

2) Feeling Tired or Lightheaded: We often worry when we feel dizzy or lightheaded, if this is the case you may just be dehydrated as you don’t have enough fluid for your basic body functions. Take a breath and a big glass of water and you may feel all the better

3) Dry Mouth or Lips: If you feel your mouth or lips are dry or if you’re training and you taste salt then there’s a good chance that you need to up your fluid intake

4) Infrequent Peeing: If you find that you aren’t going to the toilet very often (fewer than four times a day) than you may not be drinking enough water and your body tries to restrict fluid and it may be time to top up the water.

- How Much Water Do We Need? This varies for both adult and children
The Adult Fluid Requirement: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a daily total water intake (water from food and beverages) of at least 2.5 L for men and 2.0 L for women. There are numerous factors which affect our fluid requirement for instance body size, body composition, physical demands of your job and fitness levels.

The Child Fluid Requirement: The Natural Hydration Council recommends following a general rule of 1-1.7 litres of water per day, which translates to 4-6 glasses. Again, there are numerous factors which affect this requirement including age, weight and physical activity levels.

As recommended by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), water and milk are the only drinks recommended for the 1–5 year old age group and sugar-containing and acidic drinks should be limited and if consumed at all, should be kept to mealtimes.

5) Watch The Caffeine: It’s always tempting to reach for stimulants for a little boost when our lives are a little hectic, with coffee being one of our most common ‘quick fixes’.

Whilst coffee in small quantities can have some benefits such as mental alertness or improved athletic performance it can also have some negative consequences such as being a diuretic (water loss), impairing nutrient absorption, increased heart rate and shakiness when consumed in high amounts.

Recommended Amount: According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) a healthy adult should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. This is the equivalent of 4 shots of coffee.

Tip: Ask for a 1 shot coffee when in a coffee shop, this will allow you to spread out your caffeine throughout the day rather than consuming your caffeine allowance in one or two coffees.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) also suggests that during pregnancy the guideline for the upper limit of caffeine is 200mg per day” with lower if possible.

Recipe
Berry Overnight Oats
(Serves Two)

Ingredients

2 x 125ml Vanilla yoghurt (or plain yoghurt)
100g Porridge oats (jumbo oats are best)
6 Tablespoons Milk
4 Tablespoons honey
4 Teaspoons Chia seeds
50g to 75g fresh berries/mixed berries/frozen berries

Directions

1) To a mixing bowl add the yoghurt, honey, milk and stir well to combine
2) Divide half of the oat mixture into 2 separate jars (ideally 450g jars)
3) Divide half of the berry mixture between the jars
4) Add the remaining oats to the jars and top with the remaining berries
5) Place on the lid or cover with cling film and store overnight (preferably 8 hours)
6) Enjoy as a delicious and healthy on-the-go breakfast

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