To Your Health
January, 2014 (Vol. 08, Issue 01)
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Eating Healthy on the Go

By Julie T. Chen, MD

Now that the busy holiday schedule is over, you have all the time in the world to eat healthy right? Probably not...if your schedule is as hectic all year round as some of my patients. So, how do you stay healthy by eating healthy when your schedule is as busy and chaotic as ever?

Here's a few tips I give my patients in my clinic of integrative medicine in San Jose, CA. Before I move onto some healthy eating tips, the first thing I want you to keep in mind is that you need to make eating healthy a priority. It should be so incredibly integrated into your daily habits that you are doing it even without much thought to you would with some of your other lifestyle habits like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, etc. You need to start to view eating healthy as a MUST...and not just a MAYBE.

How you eat and what you eat affects your health tremendously. See your food and eating habits as the type of fuel you give your car. If you don't pay attention to what you are giving your car, it clearly may break down or not run well right? That's the same concept for your body. You need to pay attention to labels as you would at the gas station to make sure you are picking the right fuel for your body as you would for your car. Then, make sure you don't over-eat or under-eat, just like you wouldn't overflow your gas tank or not give enough fuel to your car. Let's keep that in mind and start to really work on this as you start to use some of the healthy eating tips I'm about to mention.

eating healthy - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark There are some easy foods you can carry with you as you run around doing your errands or while you are busy at work. Give these food options a try:

  1. Bag of mixed raw nuts: this is easy to put together, easy to carry, and is rich in nutrients, minerals and vitamins. The protein will help to sustain energy in your as you carry out your long list of errands or while you are busy working.
  2. Raw vegetables with hummus dip: keeping this in a cooler in your car or in the fridge at your work can offer you a healthy nutritious option for when you are craving finger foods and something crunchy and savory.
  3. Homemade Kale chips: taking kale and laying them out on a baking sheet/tray and sprinkling spices or simply adding a little bit of salt or pepper and baking it will give you an option of a healthy crunchy snack when you are craving something like this. Many of my patients will make a big batch on the weekend and eat it during the week.
  4. Soups: I always have my patients make a big vat of soup every week and the soup ingredients change every week depending on what they are craving. The soup is usually made of a wide variety of vegetables and some variation of lean protein or legumes. This way, when they don't have time to cook, they can simply heat up some soup and it is a hearty nutritious balanced meal or snack.
  5. Raw or cooked vegetable pre-made mixes: Many of my patients will roast vegetables over the weekend or cut up raw vegetables and keep them in the fridge so that when they are hungry, they can easily put together a salad or vegetable medley and potentially throw fruits or nuts over them to have an easy nutritious snack or meal.

As you can see, I am a huge fan of preparing food on weekends to eat during the week. The key is to keep healthy foods easily within reach so that you don't go searching for junk food. So, as you get back into the swing after the holidays, let's all ditch the sugary fatty holiday leftovers and start back on track with healthy food options that will ensure a healthier and leaner you by the holiday season of 2014!

Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit