As Black women entrepreneurs, we face the challenge of juggling multiple responsibilities while striving for success. Unfortunately, in this pursuit, we often neglect our own eating habits and overall health. It is disheartening to note that Black women have the highest obesity rates among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Additionally, compared to women of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, Black women experience higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
Amidst our hectic schedules, it is crucial that we prioritize our health and well-being. The health disparities faced by Black women make it even more important for us to focus on nourishing our bodies as we build our businesses and legacies. Although it can be challenging to maintain a healthy diet on the go, in this blog, I will share a few effective strategies to help you eat healthily while pursuing your dreams and achieving success.
Prep Healthy Snack Boxes for Busy Days
While it’s important to prep your meals and lunches, it’s also helpful to prepare snack boxes as a backup for those times when you haven’t had a chance to prepare smoothies, salads, or other nutritious options. Here’s what I always stock up on in a box conveniently placed by the garage door for quick grab-and-go access when I’m in a rush:
– Water bottles
– Clementines (easy to peel and eat quickly)
– Seaweed sheets
– Snap peas chips
– Sample size packets of essential vitamins (I actually keep these in my purse and suitcase)
– Trail mix, energy bars, or dried fruits
– Carrots, cucumbers, and hummus or pretzels and hummus packets
These meals are not only convenient for busy schedules but also travel well, making them suitable for airport travel.
I have developed a habit of drinking a tall glass of water whenever I feel hungry or have cravings. I have heard that tip for a long time and thought it was useless – but it actually works! Proper hydration can help curb unnecessary snacking and keep energy levels up. For added flavor and health benefits, infuse your water with fruits like lemon, cucumber, or berries. I personally use glass water bottles and keep them within reach. Additionally, I have started avoiding fruit juices and kombuchas, opting instead for small portions in shot glasses. As my trainer once asked me, “Do you want to drink your calories or eat them?”
Use Meal and Grocery Delivery Services
Transition your habit of eating out into utilizing grocery delivery services. You can subscribe to meal delivery services that offer pre-portioned, healthy meals delivered to your doorstep. This way, you can enjoy balanced meals without the need for extensive meal planning and preparation. Here are some examples of items I order from Sprouts on Instacart during busy seasons when I have limited time to cook:
– Prepared salmon and veggies
– Prepped garden salad
– Prepped vegan salad
– Prepped, marinated raw seafood that can be baked in less than 15 minutes
– 90-second minute rice, quinoa, or couscous
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Keep a Go-To List of Healthy Restaurants
Compile a list of 4-5 restaurants that serve healthy, clean whole foods. When meeting colleagues or prospects, choose these places instead of ones that tempt you with unhealthy options. Don’t forget to include smoothie bars and other suitable options. Make sure your administrative assistant has this information and uses the list when scheduling on your behalf. Here are some of my go-to choices in Denver. I’m sharing them so you can check out the menus and seek out similar options:
Find Alternatives to Lunch and Coffee Meetings
Whenever possible, try to steer away from meals altogether during meetings. Schedule them in the park, at museums, or at the other party’s office.
Eat Before Going to Events Where Food Is Served
There may be times when you find yourself in situations where unhealthy food is being served, and you can’t avoid it. In such cases, it’s essential to eat a satisfying meal before attending the event. Fill yourself up with nutritious food and bring a water bottle with you. Additionally, rely on your inner strength and discipline to resist the temptation of unhealthy options.
Eat a Powerful Breakfast Routine
I’ve discovered that having a nourishing breakfast not only prepares me for my workout but also sets the tone for healthier eating throughout the day. Here’s what my typical morning meal consists of:
– A lemon-ginger-cayenne in a glass of hot water
– A bowl of oatmeal with berries (or yogurt/granola if you consume dairy)
– A protein smoothie with greens and spirulina or my favorite black-owned vegan protein smoothie
– A glass of water and a cup of tea
*Some yummy alternatives for dairy eaters include avocado toast w egg and/or veggies, hard boiled eggs, oat milk and fruit smoothies, and breakfast tacos w whole grain or corn tortillas
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Have Menu Go-To’s
Create a list of healthy menu items and mocktails (non-alcoholic drinks) that you can rely on when dining out. Having predetermined choices makes it easier to stick to your healthy eating goals. Here are a few examples from my own go-to list:
– Ginger beer
– Sparkling water with fruit
– Kombucha mocktail
Hacks for Eating While Working from Home
Working from home can be a trap if you don’t properly prep food as well. Sometimes I’ll run out of time to cook unexpectedly even at home. So I try to make 3 or so smoothies and keep them in the fridge. I also make a fruit tray or veggie tray to leave out all day so I can at least snack on whole food in between calls. My trays often include:
– Carrots, snap peas, tomatoes and hummus
– Grapes, cut up apples, sliced oranges or watermelon
– Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
I understand that some of these meals may not be the most exciting, but I try to prioritize eating for fuel rather than indulgence. My days are demanding and intense, and I view food as either a source of energy or “kryptonite”. I have my slip ups, breaks and binges, but ultimately, I choose to fuel my body. It takes time, discipline and patience with self.
Remember to experiment with different options and routines until you find what works best for you. As Black women entrepreneurs, our health is a priceless asset that fuels our business success. It is crucial for us to prioritize healthy eating on the go. Let’s always remember that nourishing our bodies is an act of self-love that provides us with the energy we need to thrive in the fast-paced startup world.