Recipe for fitting everything into the day


October 20, 1992|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

I have several adult friends who have returned to school this fall, while maintaining a full-time job and managing family responsibilities. Talk about busy!

Often, time crunch throws a knock-out punch to regular eating, sleeping and exercise routines. What a paradox. Healthy habits maintain vitality, energy, alertness, stamina and freedom from illness, all essential for carrying such a heavy load.

Following are some hot tips for balancing the basics while you focus on your new priorities.

$ Plan to eat well Eating well will control your weight, help prevent illness and keeyou alert and energized all day. Here's how to do it, even with your busy schedule.

* Eat better while shopping less.

Each week, take 15 minutes to review food on hand, estimate what you'll need and make a list. Shop only once, during your store's quiet time.

* Eat breakfast and lunch.

Skipping meals may appear to save time but really runs down your energy supply. Invest a few minutes in assembling take-along meals to boost energy and productivity.

* Have a quick but nutritious dinner.

Try an old-fashioned soup and sandwich with a healthy twist. Reduced fat and sodium soups turn a cold sandwich into a warm meal while adding more veggies to your diet.

Build hearty sandwiches with whole grain bread and pre-packaged deli meats with less fat and sodium. Top with romaine and tomato, green pepper rings, onions and sprouts.

Or try quick-cooking fresh pasta with frozen veggies and jarred sauce. For variety, experiment with the multitude of reduced fat and sodium frozen meals.

* Nibble nutritiously.

Less exercise plus evening snacking equals weight gain. So substitute healthy snacking for dinner. For about 400 calories, you can enjoy any of the following combinations which provide all the nutrition of a sandwich in guilt-free snacking form:

--40 Guiltless Gourmet No Oil Tortilla Chips and 1/2 cup bean dip.

--2 ounces of Barbara's whole wheat mini-pretzels plus 2 ounces of reduced fat Gruyere cheese.

--10 Ad-Mak 100 percent stone ground whole wheat crackers and 2 tablespoons peanut butter.

--8 Rye Krisp triple crackers and 1 cup of 1 percent cottage cheese.

Now nibble your salad. Produce departments offer prepackaged raw vegetable assortments for your munching pleasure. Or make your own. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, zucchini or yellow squash, radishes, mushrooms and jicama satisfy the urge to crunch without the greasy, salty calories of typical snack foods. Better still, they're loaded with vitamins and minerals that keep you energized and healthy.

Not finished yet? Have some fresh fruit to satisfy the need for "sweets." Peel an orange and separate into segments. Chunk a banana, wedge an apple, slice a pear. The trick is to turn a whole fruit into nibble bits

Plan to get enough sleep

Often sleep seems expendable, yet adequate rest keeps you fresh and alert, ready to learn. If your nights start getting shorter, try planned naps before evening studies begin.

Plan moderate exercise program

Rather than let your exercise routine gradually disintegrate and disappear, plan now for reduced, but regular, activity. But don't give up. A 30-minute walk, run or bike ride after work is a refreshing break before an evening of classes or studying.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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