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Healthy Easy Meals for Single Working Women

By Michele Kirsch

It's easy for hard working single women to fall into unhealthy eating habits. Pressed for time, you might start off the morning with a large latte and donut. Two hours later, you are hungry again, and have more coffee and a pastry at your desk. Lunch might be a store bought sandwich and soft drink and packet of potato chips at your desk. You have more coffee in the afternoon, and by the time you get home, you are too tired to cook a proper meal, so dial the local pizza place. Sugar, caffeine, empty calories and a fatty dinner are not the basis of healthy diet. With mimimum preparation, you can prepare healthy meals at home and find you have more energy during the day.

Why bother cooking? You're busy enough.

Relying on convenience foods and snacks to keep you going during the day tends to lead to a calorie rich but nutritionally poor diet. You might find yourself feeling sluggish and burnt out by the afternoon. It's easy to whip up a simple, quick, healthy breakfast, prepare a nutritionally balanced packed lunch and prepare a dinner that's more about compilation of healthy, ready made ingredients than standing over a hot stove. You'll feel more energetic eating freshly prepared, balanced meals and you'll probably save money in the process.

Healthy doesn't mean boring.

You might associate healthy eating with diets and restrictions, but with a bit of effort and planning, you can eat well at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, without feeling deprived, without breaking your food budget, and without piling on the pounds. What's more, with easy to compile healthful and appetizing meals, you can, according to Jannette Marshall, author of the Word Health Organization publication "The New Eat for Life," you can reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even some types of cancer.

Healthy breakfasts for one.

You don't " do" breakfast. But your really should if you don't want to pig out at lunch. So what kind of breakfasts will keep you going until lunchtime? According to Patrick Holdford, director of the UK based Institute of Optimum Nutrition, the ultimate power breakfast is a blend of 9 ounces of low fat yogurt and four or five fruits. Porridge keeps you full for ages but is better boosted by a tablespoon of freshly mixed linseed. If you are an eggy person, healthful scrambled eggs on whole rye toast will keep you going until lunchtime.

Healthful lunches for one.

Make your own lunch for work. It's cheaper than eating out, and you know exactly what's in it. Your aim is to be comfortably full and to sustain energy for the rest of the day. Amanda Grant, author of "The Power Food Cookbook," is very against eating food "on the run." She advises relaxing for 10 to 15 minutes after lunch to counteract the hormones that may make you feel sleepy. If you have a microwave at work, whizz up some watercress and potato soup, or if in summer, chilled gazpacho. Cold but filling salads include white beans with tomatoes and basil, or couscous with fruit and spices. You can make much nicer sandwiches at home; no butter, whole-meal bread, roasted eggplant, tomatoes and pesto.

Healthy dinners for one

How easy it is to neglect yourself when no one is watching! Rethink dinner as a treat, a light but nutritious meal that will not impede sleep with indigestion, but will aid in the reparation and rebuilding of cells during sleep to make you feel refreshed in the morning. Nutritionist Amanda Grant suggests a colorful antipasto of roasted red, yellow and orange peppers as a first course. For the main course, think seasonally. In summer, how about herbed chicken skewers dressed in lemon and lime? For vegetarians, try delicious roasted peppers stuffed with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.

But I'm still hungry!

Some dietitians suggest six smaller meals per day rather than three larger ones. If you do fancy a snack from time to time, so why not treat that as a nutritional opportunity rather than a naughty treat? You are aiming for foods that fill without stuffing. Fruit of any kind is a good idea, as are nuts. A small handful of mixed nuts and seeds will keep you going without piling on the pounds.

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