Nutrition for Educators and Other Busy Professionals
Colleagues and friends often ask me how I have so much energy every day, teaching five preps, co-sponsoring the school newspaper, all while maintaining my paper grading load and still finding time to hit the gym five times a week.
A teacher’s day begins very early, and is dictated hourly by the bell. With barely enough time for bathroom breaks between classes, maintaining a healthy energy takes a little bit of planning along with a few prep steps each week. The steps may take a few minutes but will save on energy and precious time later in the week.
1. Prep food. On Sunday, wash fruit, cut and steam veggies, bake some chicken breasts, hard boil eggs, make a batch of oatmeal, bake sweet potatoes . . . the idea is to fill your fridge with as much grab-and-go healthy food that you most certainly won’t feel like preparing after a tiring day at work, when faced with those papers still waiting to be graded.
2. Snack. It’s just as important to prep the snacks. I love to prepare my own homemade trail mix. It’s much healthier, with no added salt or preservatives. I fill five small, snack size containers with raw pumpkin or sesame seeds, raw walnuts, raw almonds, dried cranberries, dried mulberries . . . whatever nuts and dried fruit I have. Here’s a post of mine telling more about mulberries. By the way, raw/no salt or added sugar is best for your nuts and dried fruit If you’re used to the salt, you will get unused to it, trust me. Give it time and you won’t miss it – either will your heart! If you don’t feel creative with mixing your own, here’s a tried and true recipe, TLC’s trail mix.
3. Eat breakfast. Here’s where preparing a batch of oatmeal comes in handy. Grabbing a cup of coffee is not enough to sustain you for that early morning class or PLC meeting. Even grabbing a banana and hard-boiled egg is much better than nothing at all, and will get you your important macros (protein, carbs and fat).
4. Drink water. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. You’ll be a reminder to the students to drink more water. If you need your morning coffee, go for it – but that’s it. Too much caffeine will cause you to crash later. Check out my Reasons to Drink more water for more incentive!
5. Graze. Studies show it’s healthier to eat smaller meals throughout the day versus three big ones. Munch on some fruit or nuts that your brought in-between classes. Spread out meals so that you’re eating every few periods – don’t wait until your last free few moments of the day to gobble.
6. Avoid mindless munching. Bringing in birthday treats is a wonderful way to celebrate colleagues, and special occasions call for a little sweet cheat. If you’re eating healthfully on a regular basis, you deserve a treat, and allowing yourself to do so will avoid an overindulgence later on. Side note: Avoid food that’s been sitting out all day – it’s bound to be spoiled with bacteria. No one wants that! So step away from the table after, say, Period 6. 🙂
So there it is, six super ways to maintain a healthy diet within even the most busy of days during the school year. Stay tuned for more healthy recipes, workouts and lifestyle choices!!
A bonus, new recipe I just created – Protein Power Balls!
- 2 Tbsp organic hemp seeds
- 2 Tbsp organic chia seeds
- 1 cup raw gluten-free, slow-cooking oats (I like Bob’s Red Mills but be sure to soak them overnight)
- one mashed banana
- 1 Tbsp raw almond butter (I like Trader Joe’s)
Mix the above ingredients. Form into 1″ balls and refrigerate. Enjoy in a couple hours as a grab-and-go energy snack.
It doesn’t get much greener than this!!
What makes this smoothie so healthful and energizing is the not-so-secret-anymore spirulina!! Have you heard about this multi-vitamin?! All it takes is one teaspoonful a day to boost immunity, increase energy and support cardiovascular, eye and brain health.
I teach for three consecutive class periods in the early morning, which means I must be on and ready to go. This smoothie not only tastes better than coffee, it’s a healthy, natural alternative to caffeine. It leaves me satisfied and energized for that first essential half of the day!
Try this combination and you won’t even realize you’re drinking healthfully ~ it’s just too delicious!
Coconut Almond Green Smoothie
- 1 tsp Spirulina
- 2 tbs raw almond butter
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 frozen banana OR 1 avocado (if you don’t want all the sugar)
- 2 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2/3 cup filtered water
Mix all of the above in a Vitamix or blender, and enjoy!!!!