by Dan Taylor, ACE, NASM-CPT

Are you a parent with a busy, chaotic schedule? Me too. Here’s how I eat on a typical day to keep up with the demands of my work, family and stay lean and strong.

4:30am – The alarm goes off. What?! Didn’t I just go to bed? No, now I remember, I put my daughter’s lunch together, rinsed my stovetop latte maker so it would be ready when I got up the next morning, showered, shaved, took out my contacts, flossed and brushed my teeth. Did I kiss my fiancée before bidding her goodnight? Maybe. Well, I’ll catch up on that today. So, while I’m scrambling into the bathroom to get ready I’m thinking about the structure of the sessions I’m going to do with my first three clients. I need food (or something like it) during those first few hours at the studio that won’t interfere with my work before I head home to take my girl to school. I will have approximately four minutes to spare between getting up and dropping her off for the day. Grab and go is my only realistic strategy. I put water into the bottom section of the latte maker, load the top with my decaf French Roast and put a mug of whole milk in the microwave. Two minutes later, after a few swigs of vegetable juice I pour the hot milk and the coffee into a commuter cup, snatch a hardboiled egg and a banana and hit the road. I eat the banana and the egg on the way to my studio and sip the latte during the first session.

8:15am – I get home and yell upstairs that I’m ready to take her to school when my daughter is ready to go. She gets her backpack situated and grabs her shoes, giving me time to defrost a Noah’s sourdough bagel to eat, yes, again in the car. After dropping her off at school, I have a few minutes to hit Starbucks and get a Jade Citrus Mint tea.

11:30am – After my 9:00am client, checking my e-mail, posting on the studio FB page, returning calls and then working out, I eat a tangerine while microwaving a bowl of the crockpot beef stew I made a couple of days before. Now my belly is happy. That’s a good thing.

4:05pm – Since I’m least motivated to prepare a meal at the end of the day, I put some kale in a bowl with roasted unsalted sunflower seeds, half a small diced honey crisp apple and cranberry raisins, tossed with a little blue cheese dressing. For protein I slice some rotisserie chicken and throw it on top.

6:48pm – I put on the kettle and brew myself some Irish breakfast tea with a little whole milk.

What are the critical features of this day of eating? They are:
• 2,000+ high-quality calories (my requirement based on my size and activity level and intensity)
• VERY low preparation/time required
• A good mix of tastes and textures
• Lower glycemic index (rate at which carbohydrates enter and then leave the bloodstream)
• Cheap

Want more guidance on eating healthfully on a tight schedule? Join my free Facebook group – Living Lean for Non-Cooks in Chaos.