When a home-cooked meal isn't an option, here are some healthy options for on-the-go nutrition
In a perfect world, we'd have the time and energy to prepare a nutritious breakfast every morning, pack a wholesome lunch for everyone to take to school and work, and make a balanced dinner every night.
Here in the real world, however, we sometimes need something quick and convenient. And, believe it or not, it is possible to find healthy options at convenience stores, highway rest stops, and even fast food restaurants!
Here in the U.S., convenience stores like 7-11, WaWas, Royal Farms, and Sheetz have made a concerted effort to ramp up the healthy offerings. Yes, you'll still have to walk by the slurpees and fried chicken to find the better options, but fresh and minimally processed foods are increasingly available.
Here are a few of my road trip stand-bys:
Best Convenience Store Foods: Refrigerator Case
- Hard-boiled eggs (invidivually wrapped)
- Hummus or guacamole (single serving containers)
- Cut raw vegetables (pair with above)
- String cheese (individually wrapped)
- Whole fruit
- Plain yogurt cups with honey and/or granola add-in
Best Convienence Foods: Snack Aisle
- Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Turkey jerky
- Peanut butter (squeeze packets)
- Tuna (foil packets)
- Energy bars (look for lower sugar, higher protein options like ThinkThin or KIND Nuts & Spices)
- Trail mix (one without candy-coated pieces)
- Low-sugar, whole grain cereals (individual portions)
Best Convenience Store Beverages
- Unsweetened iced tea
- V-8 vegetable juice (not Fusion fruit juice blends)
- Flavored seltzer
For more on how to spot the healthiest packaged and prepared foods in the grocery or convenience store, see chapter 3 of Nutrition Diva's Secrets for a Healthy Diet.