Being a photographer is definitely not a regular 9-5 job. We work early mornings, late nights, weekends, and what feels like everything in between. Sometimes, having flexible working hours and an ever-changing schedule is a good thing –– it’s impossible to get bored!
But… and it’s a big but… we know that being constantly on-the-go can take a real toll on your health.
Working on location all day or traveling around to different spots means that it’s pretty hard to maintain healthy eating habits. It’s so easy to just rely on snacks and quick (but unhealthy) meal options to get you through the day. We get it!
But in the end, unhealthy eating habits can have pretty terrible knock-on effects for other aspects of your life. And because it’s currently Good Nutrition Month, we figure now’s the best time to take a long hard look at our diets and see if they can be improved at all.
Here are some of our best tried-and-tested ways to get your eating back on track during Good Nutrition Month while balancing a busy schedule. These practical tips, habits, and recipes will have you feeling energized and healthful, even after a 10-hour day on the go!
Start your day with a good breakfast
It’s not just an old wife’s tale: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
A healthy, balanced breakfast will set you up for a productive day and give you energy for whatever demanding bookings lay ahead.
What makes a nutritious breakfast?
Something that has a good balance of protein and fat to keep you full and carbohydrates for energy. Eggs, Greek yogurt and protein powder are all excellent breakfast-appropriate sources of protein. Here are some great recipes to try out if you need inspiration.
Not great at cooking? Try these simple combos:
- Greek yogurt with berries and peanut butter
- An English muffin with hard-boiled eggs
- Egg cups you can bake and eat on the go
- Whole grain cereal or oats with milk
It’s ideal to start your morning off slow instead of rolling out of bed 20 minutes before you have to leave the house. That way you can sit down and properly digest your food, which is way better for your gut.
If you’re not a morning person and don’t have the energy to do much more than pour a bowl of cereal, then maybe prep your breakfast the night before. Something like overnight oats is best when you soak it for 8 hours – add peanut butter for some extra protein and chia seeds for fiber.
Even if you’re not hungry in the mornings, you could make a smoothie from frozen fruit, milk and protein powder that’ll help fuel you up without filling you up.
Keep snacks on hand
Wherever you go, take a bag of snacks with you. There’s nothing worse than realizing halfway through a shoot that you’re absolutely starving, but you’re hours away from being able to sit down and eat. Come up with a list of your favorite nutritious snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated and pack them into your photography bag.
Some ideas include:
- air-popped popcorn
- mixed nuts
- veggie sticks
- whole-wheat crackers
- granola bars
- low-fat jerky
- trail mix
- rice cakes
- roasted chickpeas
- tuna pouches
Remember to keep things simple and easy –– you want as minimal stress as possible! When in doubt, go for whole foods like fruit and veg.
Don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat
Once you’ve stocked up your snack bag, be sure to actually use it! Don’t wait until you’re absolutely ravenous before you eat –– studies have shown that this often can lead to overeating.
Even just a handful of nuts or a granola bar every few hours can keep you from getting to the point where you’re so hungry you’d eat a gas station hot dog.
Also try to eat your meals at a regular time each day. Obviously, your schedule is constantly changing, but if you aim to consume your three meals within a similar time frame each day, it’ll help you establish a healthy eating pattern for your body.
Cook in batches
When you get home after a long day of shooting or editing, the absolute last thing you want to do is slave away in the kitchen making dinner. It’s so much easier to just order take-out or reheat a frozen meal, right?
But if you put in a little effort ahead of time, you can make sure you’ve got healthy options on hand at all times.
Some people swear by doing meal prep at the beginning of the week – basically spending Sunday cooking up a whole bunch of meals that you can eat over the course of the rest of the week.
If you’re the kind of person who can do this, excellent! Here’s a great 30-day meal prep plan to get you inspired.
But that much cooking and preparation can seem kinda daunting and doesn’t offer you much variety as the week goes on. Instead, you could do what is often called “batch cooking”.
If you take the time one night to cook dinner, make enough so that there are leftovers for lunch or tomorrow’s dinner. Or you can spend an hour or two batch cooking staples – like rice, roasted vegetables or meat – that you can then use to make quick and easy dinners later in the week.
Eat foods that are full of nutrients
Have you ever tried to satisfy your hunger with a candy bar or bag of chips, only to find yourself starving again an hour later?
That’s because these snacks don’t have many nutrients in them, so they’re not doing much more than keeping your mouth busy and your stomach happy for a little while.
Make a conscious effort to fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods, which will do a much better job of satisfying you and keeping you full. Here are some inspirations for things to grab next time you’re at the grocery store:
- Legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas
- Dairy like yogurt, cottage cheese and low-fat cheese
- Avocados which are full of healthy fats
- Green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
- Veggies you can munch on raw like carrots, bell peppers and cucumber
- Whole grains like oats, quinoa and brown rice –– way better than white bread
- Nuts and seeds which make a great snack and have essential fatty acids
- Poultry like chicken and turkey for lean protein and eggs for a balanced snack
- Fish like tuna, salmon and cod for essential fatty acids and omega-3s
Get familiar with healthy fast-food options
Somedays, you’re just not going to have the time or energy to cook or meal prep. And that’s totally fine! But if you’re worried about derailing your healthy eating habits by hitting up the drive-thru or getting Uber Eats, you don’t have to be.
Look up the menus and nutritional information of restaurants and fast-food places near you. Get familiar with what’s on offer and see what you can find on the menu that’s going to be nutritionally balanced and filling.
Keep an eye out for lean protein like chicken and fish, and ideally something that comes with a serving of vegetables. Avoid dishes that are greasy or oily, or covered in sauce or dressing.
For example, grilled tacos would be better than cheese-smothered enchiladas. A grilled chicken and veggie wrap would be better than a fried chicken burger.
If you’re not sure where to start or you’re in a new neighborhood, the app AroundMe is a tool to help locate restaurants. You can add filters to find healthy options.
Familiarize yourself with the healthy options at your fave eateries, and then when those crazy-busy days hit, you don’t have to waste time stressing over what to eat!
Limit sugary drinks and caffeine
For an instant energy hit, it’s tempting to reach for a third coffee or a can of soda. While both of these are OK in moderation, it’s a good idea to limit yourself to just one or two cups per day. Try switching out your coffee for herbal tea – if you’re on the road a lot, invest in a thermos that’ll keep it warm all day until you’re ready to drink it.
And don’t forget that diet soda isn’t a healthy alternative to sugary drinks. It may be low-calorie, but it’s full of chemicals that can really mess you up.
Stay hydrated and Stay Focused – You Can Do It!
We probably don’t need to say too much about this one. Everyone knows how important water is. Invest in a good-sized water bottle to keep on hand. Just having it in sight will make you more likely to pick it up and actually drink.
A lot of the time when we think we’re hungry, it’s actually just that we’re super thirsty. Staying hydrated is an easy way to avoid overeating.
Don’t like water? Or just can’t find the motivation to drink enough of it? Maybe try adding some sugar-free flavor drops, a hint of lemon or fruit-based flavor sachets to your water.
While taking the time to eat healthfully and mindfully isn’t always easy, it’s something that’ll pay off in the long run. Hopefully these little changes will help you develop healthier eating habits, and you’ll start noticing the difference in your energy and vitality in no time!
Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.