When your life is busy, it’s often easier to grab food on the go. Sometimes, though, we sacrifice good nutrition for convenience. The good news is we can get the nutrients our bodies need even when we’re pressed for time. Here’s eight easy ways to make healthy, nutritious choices when you’re eating on the go:
- When you’re going on a trip, pack your own snacks. Bring apples and peanut or almond butter. Cut up veggies to dip into hummus or guacamole. Try whole-grain crackers with low-fat string cheese. Or make your own trail mix with raw or unsalted nuts, dried fruit and seeds.
- Make sure you have the right containers. Use insulated lunch boxes with a cold pack for items that should be kept cold or a hot thermos if you are packing soup.
- Eat healthier fast-food options. If you like Mexican food, try a chicken fajita with vegetables on a small corn tortilla with a little guacamole, salsa and cheese. Or instead of a hamburger, grab a grilled chicken sandwich or oatmeal with dried fruit.
- Convenience store foods can still be healthy. Pick up some low-fat plain or Greek yogurt along with dried fruit to mix in. Look for snack bars or protein bars with the fewest ingredients, fewer than 200 calories, more protein and fiber, and less sugar. Beef and turkey jerky are good choices for protein.
- At the deli, skip the chips. Choose lean meat like turkey, and get it on whole-grain bread with lettuce, tomato and mustard. Skip the mayo and oil.
- If you’re dining out, look at the menu online before you go. Take a few minutes to check out the nutrition information of the meals they offer, and decide what you’re going to order ahead of time.
- Whip up a fruit smoothie. Put a cup of water, a few ice cubes, 1 scoop of high-quality vanilla protein powder, a cup of berries, a handful of spinach and 1 Tbsp. of ground flax seeds or chia seeds in a blender, mix and go!
- Rethink your muffins. Make a batch of oatmeal with rolled or steel cut oats according to directions. Then line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, and portion out the oatmeal evenly. Add some favorite toppings (like berries, raisins or chopped nuts), and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
With a little planning and creativity, we can come up with healthy ways to get the nutrition we need. For more options, visit eatright.org.
Nelida Rivera is a registered nurse at the Florida Blue Center in Winter Haven where she teaches free health and wellness classes that are open to the public in addition to providing health coaching and assessments.