Question:

I’m starting on my weight loss journey and a huge obstacle for me is eating healthy. I’m a mailman so I spend 8-10 hours working outdoors with no access to a microwave and only fast food restaurants near me. Do you have any advice needed on how to eat and maintain a healthy diet? 

– Cesar P.

Answer:

The best solution I can see for you, Cesar, is to bring healthy lunches with you during your shift. Since some carrier units even deliver groceries, I’ll assume you are allowed an insulated lunch bag or cooler in your vehicle. Information from the National Association of Letter Carriers indicates a lunch break for mealtime is 30 minutes – plenty of time to enjoy a healthy meal.  Whatever your route’s authorized lunch locations may be, a meal from home works. 

Without a microwave, you can still enjoy a hot healthy lunch. Today’s Thermos® food jars can keep food hot over 5 hours; longer with the larger sizes. For best results, pre-heat your vacuum insulated stainless steel container with hot water for several minutes while cooking your food. Stews, pasta dishes, casseroles, rice meals, even stir-fry all keep well, but this technique is not suggested for items you want to stay dry and flaky. An insulated lunch bag or tote with a few ice blocks can keep several items cool at once. Consider packing a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, fruit, and carrot/celery sticks for a balanced meal. More grown-up fare like a tuna pasta salad with cherry tomatoes works, too. 

For the days when you don’t bring along your own food, dig into the menus at the fast-food establishments near you. Many offer some type of chicken breast meal/sandwich and a side salad option. Omitting cheese, swapping out the fries for a vegetable or fruit, and are all possibilities to improve a traditional drive-thru meal.  Iced tea or water are preferable over soda. A small juice works occasionally, such as with an egg breakfast sandwich. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


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