How do I Handle Evening Extracurriculars?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How do I Handle that Situation?’ In our new series of blogs, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will put their heads together and provide strategies to help you handle a variety of tricky situations. From eating strategies while watching sports with friends to how to be mindful while eating out, we will show you how to handle a variety of situations.

Along the way, Revive’s Registered Nutritionists will share some of the obstacles they encounter in their own lives and the tools they use to overcome them.

Extracurricular Activities in the Evening

In our society, we are constantly on the go! After a busy day at work, you may spend your evenings acting as a taxi for your kids, running to a volunteering event, or maybe fitting in an exercise class for yourself. Regardless of the activity, a jam-packed evening schedule can make it difficult to maintain a routine that supports your health and wellness goals. Do you find it hard to prep portable meals ahead of time for your family? Do you skip supper altogether because of lack of time? With a little preparation and the help of our Registered Nutritionists, you CAN maintain a routine that supports your goals- no matter how busy your schedule is!

When do I eat Dinner?

In the spring and summer months the evenings can be full of extracurricular activities which make it hard to focus on balanced eating. Without a plan our goals can fall by the wayside and we can end up too hungry to make healthy choices. When the activity falls between six and seven o’clock it’s easy to do anything but eat a balanced meal – stop at drive through, snack for the rest of the evening, or skip dinner all together.

If you eat your dinner beforehand, you risk going in on a full stomach and feeling awful during your workout or activities. If you eat after, you risk being “hangry” (hungry-angry) and eating a large meal after you get home, right before bed. So what’s the solution?  Try splitting your dinner meal into two. Before a workout or activity, you want fast hitting carbohydrates to give us energy paired with a small amount of protein. Limit fibre and fat beforehand as it will slow down digestion. Afterwards, finish off with a “snack” comprised of vegetables and protein.

So for example, if stir-fry is on your menu plan, have the rice and 1-2 ounces of chicken or beef before your workout. Come home to finish off your meal with the stir-fried veggies and the rest of the protein. You will feel better during your activity and you won’t go to bed feeling stuffed, which is very helpful for weight management in the long run. If your extracurricular activities involve your kids, pack a picnic and head to a park near the venue. This way you minimize your commuting time and your kids can have some fun running around.

Planning Ahead

Meal planning is truly the key to success when it comes to busy schedules and evening commitments. Most of our clients at Revive find that meal planning is the most effective strategy for staying healthy with food choices. People tend to be reactive, especially when hunger is talking, which often results in less healthy food choices on the drive to or from evening commitments.

To start meal planning, choose a weekend day (either Saturday or Sunday) and sit down to assess your schedule for the upcoming week, grocery shop and meal prep. This will help to plan for evenings that may not leave time for meal preparation or meals at home. Find a few simple recipes that can be made ahead of time. For example, beef or vegetarian chili loaded with veggies is an excellent example of a balanced supper meal.

Although it seems daunting and will take some time, meal planning will reduce stress around supper time, especially when your calendar starts to fill up. Fueling your body well is worth the time investment!

Portable Dinners

If you are not able to plan your supper in advance, it may help to have a few go-to “makeshift meals” or “survival suppers” up your sleeve to throw together before running out the door. Of course, a key element of “survival suppers” is that they must be portable. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Flaked tuna mixed with hummus and romaine lettuce leaves in a pita or tortilla with a bag of snap peas on the side.
  • Homemade muffin with nut butter spread inside, preservative free jerky and a baggy of mini cucumbers and bell peppers.
  • Smoothie: large handful of kale or spinach, few pieces of cucumber or celery, 1 large frozen banana, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tbsp. of chia seeds, 1 tbsp. of peanut butter blended with almond milk or water.
  • 1 large banana or other fruit, 2 pre-peeled boiled eggs (you can buy these at the grocery store), ¼ cup of mixed nuts thrown in with some chopped carrots and baby tomatoes in a plastic baggy.
  • A shredded rotisserie chicken in a whole wheat wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.