In Yellowknife we have quite a few fast-food options; 2 McDonalds, A&W, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos Pizza and a few other local joints, but when it comes to eating healthy in the North, there aren’t a whole lot of on-the-go healthy food options for those of us that live busy lives.
In actuality, I think that Subway is the only “healthy” option in YK (which consists mainly of processed meat and cheese), and because of that, a lot of people don’t even bother trying to eat healthy and use it as an excuse instead.
Throughout my posts on YkOnline.ca and on my own blog, something you’ll learn fast about me is that one of my favorite sayings is “No Excuses” (just go to my website, you’ll see it front and clear in the header) and when it comes to the food you put in your body, I will scream it loudly at you.
So, how do we eat healthy in Yellowknife, especially if we don’t have time to cook all the time?
Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
The biggest issue I’ve come across living in the North is when there’s no fresh produce or meat in the stores. This was terrifying the first time I saw it! What the hell are you suppose to eat when you don’t have any fresh produce or meat?
Well, something that most people don’t know is that frozen produce is actually very good for you because most of it is frozen at its highest peak of ripeness, it has a tone of nutritional value to it. And with some of the mold covered or expired foods we have up here, it’s probably better for you.
If there’s no fresh meat or fish in the store, you can always buy frozen as well. M & M Meat shops has frozen chicken breasts and the only thing added to them is a bit of salt because they’re frozen in salt water. They’re very lean and very healthy. Also, as much as I’m against processed foods, there are some half decent chicken or turkey burgers that you can get at Extra Foods or the Co-Op that you can top with veggies. And you can usually find some kind of lean meat in the freezer section of any grocery store as well.
Cook Extra at Supper Time
If you’re cooking supper at home but don’t have time to go home for lunch or cook a good meal, make extra at supper and brown bag it for lunch the next day.
As long as you’re eating clean and cooking healthy meals, home cooked meals are always a better option than anything else, so make extra and take it to work the next day. This saves a ton of time on your lunch hour, not to mention money.
Prepare Your Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time
As mentioned above, you should be eating home cooked meals not only because your other options are very limited, but when you cook at home, you have complete control as to what goes into your food and therefore what goes into your body.
If you’re a typical Monday to Friday, 9-5er, take a few hours on Sunday to prepare the upcoming week’s lunches and snacks. For example, make a full crock pot of chili and divide it into five tupperwares. That’s your lunch for the week. Or if you can’t handle chili everyday, freeze two of them and eat the other three Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Pre-cook three or four chicken breasts and keep them in the fridge. They’re a great grab and go protein to eat on the way out the door to the gym or to a meeting or to the kids sports. You can also cut them up and throw them over some spinach or lettuce with some added veggies for a quick salad. Please do not drowned your salad in some fatty dressing.
Keeping fruit and veggies and some unsalted nuts like almonds on hand is another big helper. Instead of reaching for chips or a chocolate bar, grab a banana or an apple and half a handful of almonds and chase it down with a full glass of water. You’d be surprised how filling that is for a snack.
The healthy options that exist to replace your Big Mac or slice of pizza are endless, and there really is no excuses for not choosing them. I live in Yellowknife and I cook for myself at almost every meal and I make my own snacks. Because I’ve taken control of what I eat, I’ve lost the initial 15 lbs I gained when I moved here. It’s just a matter of taking some time and being prepared. Don’t give yourself the option or opportunity to grab that bag of chips or to go through that drive-thru.