Humans are busier than ever these days, and food options for every mealtime and budget reflect the need for convenience, sometimes at the expense of health. Health food trends can be controversial or even misleading, and creating healthier habits can involve time and effort that many people simply don’t have.
Alexander Djerassi knows that making healthier meal choices is as crucial as ever in our fast-moving world. Just a basic understanding of the body’s needs can vastly improve energy quality and add years to a person’s life. Along with providing physical energy, the right meal can actually improve sleep, decision-making and time management. It may come as a bitter irony to some that choosing the right food, itself, requires better time management and decisions.
On the plus side, there are many simple foods out there that not only improve a person’s health over the long term, but also provide just the right burst of energy to get through a challenging work day, a strenuous workout, or a long trip. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes are accessible to pretty much everyone, convenient to keep around and backed widely by nutritional science. Celebrity models, nutritionists and even entrepreneurs have chimed in with the healthy eating cause. Academic virtuoso, public servant and foreign policy expert Alexander Djerassi actually finds time in his busy schedule to eat healthy. In fact, he believes healthy food choices contribute to better work and life management. With degrees from Princeton and Yale, an impressive government resume and a stake in a major company that helps more students afford college, it seems worth looking into his claims.
So, what might Djerassi recommend for staying motivated on a high-energy day? Here are some healthy food tips for every meal:
High-protein, low sugar foods are the best option. Eggs are a wonder-food, packed with energy and nutrients. To save time and avoid a cooking mess, hard boil a carton of eggs at the start of the week and crack a couple each morning to pair with seeded whole wheat toast or fruit. Another nutritionally dense, affordable and convenient breakfast food is oats. Old fashioned or steel cut oats are less processed and better for the body. Berries, nuts, and seeds like pumpkin or hemp add flavor, crunch and antioxidants to keep a person’s energy up straight through to lunch time.
A healthy lunch is simpler than most people think. Just add a leafy green vegetable like kale, spinach, broccoli or arugula to any sandwich, pasta, grain bowl or soup. Eat slowly to avoid the midday ‘crash’.
Stick to lean meats or tofu and whole grain breads, rices or pastas. The more colorful the dish, the more diverse the nutrient spectrum. Use more vegetables/legumes than meat. Use more herbs and spices than salt.
Keep a container of raw nuts/seeds or a bag of raw carrots around for that mid-morning or afternoon boost. Nut butters and hummus are also great choices. Try to skip the sugary, processed snacks.