Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Adapting Eating Habits

This year I am beginning my 8th year as an elementary physical education teacher. I can't believe it has been that long already. Crazy. Anyway, each year presents a new schedule with different break times and allotments for lunch. There is usually a nice 30 minute window in the morning for a little snack and at least 40 minutes for a decent lunch. My last class ends a little before 3, so this allows for a small mid-afternoon snack session. As you can see, my work schedule has allowed time for me to eat every 3-4 hours; keeping my energy steady and my tummy happy. Since we aren't allowed to eat around children (especially anything containing nuts due to allergies), up until now, eating properly has been super easy.

This year...things are going to be tricky. No nice morning breaks. I'm lucky if I can run to the bathroom between classes! It is one class after the next from 8:30 to 12:00. Starting at 12:00, I have 25 minutes to throw down some lunch and then it's "go time" again until 2:25. So does this mean that my healthy habit of regular eating is going to go out the window? No, no, no! I am going to have to adapt.

I am going to be a shake lover this year. I haven't gone on the shopping trip yet, but my plan is to find a shake that can substitute as my "snack" in the morning. I may not be able to eat my usual trial mix, fruit or protein bar, but I can have a plastic bottle with a delish and nutritious shake in it! I want something that offers a good amount of protein (10 grams), a moderate amount of carbohydrates (18-25g) and is low in fat (less than 5 grams). The protein will keep me full and satisfied, while the carbohydrates will give me just the right amount of energy to get me through to lunch. That takes care of morning snack, but what about lunch?

The key is going to be preparation. Instead of mixing my chicken or tuna salad at work, I am going to have to pre-mix. The key is to have my meals ready to go. No assembly required! Even better...no heating up required. I want to still keep my lunches fresh and avoid falling into the microwaveable cuisine trap. I am going to get in the habit of packing my lunch the night before. Less time assembling at school will give me more time to eat. I'm not a fan of inhaling my food.

As always, there is going to be a constant intake of water. Water helps keep you full and functioning. It also aids in preventing fatigue and headaches. My job is fun, but let's face it, a gym full of 50 loud children running around and making noise all day long can sometimes be a bit much. Can you see where the fatigue and headaches may come into play? I'm just gettin' real here.

Overall, this change in my professional life has caused me to adapt my eating habits. Life can throw curve balls. We just have to step back, readjust and come back to the plate with a plan on how to handle it. No curve ball is going to send me out of the game! Eating well is an important part of my life; our lives. Adapt. Make it work. Stick to the goal.

Have a healthy and happy Tuesday!

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