How to Eat Healthy on The Go

It’s that time of year when people start thinking road trips. No, not the kind from your college days when all you needed was someone with a car that had gas, a cooler, a place to stay and a group of friends looking for adventure. I’m talking about the kind that involves staying healthy and eating right and still being able to enjoy the warmer weather and longer days of sunshine.

So, whether your spring travels involve getting outside the house, office or hitting the open road, eating healthy on the go starts at home. Make sure you have a reusable water bottle, preferably glass or BPA safe, a travel mug, glass storage containers with snap on lids, reusable food and sandwich bags, and a small cooler with cold packs or an insulated lunch bag.

Then do a grocery store run to stock up on healthy to-go options covering all the food group bases: proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains. Knowing you have choices and options will lessen the stress of trying to find a balanced meal or snack and you will be able to put something together from your purchases that are healthy and easy to grab and go. Here are a few suggestions of foods to fill up on:

Protein:
-String cheese or other individually wrapped cheese. Buy the 2% milk cheese if you can.
-Greek yogurt (plain is best and add your own fruit).
-Low-fat cottage cheese.
-Hard boiled eggs.
-Nuts and seeds.
-Nut and seed butters (like almond or sunflower seed butters).
-Minimally processed snack made from nuts, seeds and dried fruit such as a KIND bar.
-Pouches of tuna or salmon that can be eaten as is or used on top of salads or bread.
-Single serving hummus cups or packs.
-Protein powder in a zip lock bag or in a single serving packet. You can add powder to water and shake.

Fruit:
-Fresh fruit. Either a fruit with skin or fruit you have washed, cut up and put in a reusable bag or container.
-Dried fruit. Put into single serving bags so you are not tempted to overeat.
-Fruit and seed KIND bars. These gluten free bars are made of fruit juice, vegetables and chia seeds. Although a convenient way to get in two servings of fruit it is not a true substitute for real fruit.
-Purchase cut up fruit at the grocery store in pre-prepared individual servings.

Vegetables:
-Sliced fresh veggies. Prepare your own or get them already prepared at a grocery store. Skip the ranch dressing and instead use hummus, salsa or a single serving of guacamole.
-Try baked kale, spinach or zucchini chips made with a little olive oil and sea salt. These are very easy to make at home.
-Vegetable juice: Fresh is best but low-sodium V8 juice will work in a pinch.
-Salad: This is such an easy way to work extra veggies into your daily diet. Just avoid the high calorie add ons like full fat cheese, dried fruit, nuts, avocado and creamy salad dressings.
-Soup: Broth based soups made with veggies are another great way to up your daily vegetable intake. Steer clear of the creamed based soups. Even though I am a big fan of butternut squash bisque, I limit this because it is usually made with heavy cream and sugar.

Healthy Fats:
-Avocado is a healthy fat. Get in the habit of only eating half and scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon so you don’t get all those extra calories. Do enjoy the health benefits of monounsaturated fats, fiber and potassium that avocados provide.
-Single serving olive packs. They too have monounsaturated fat (the good kind) and only have 50 calories per pack.
-Single serving packets of chia seeds or ground flaxseed. They’re an easy way to add fiber and texture to oatmeal or yogurt.

Whole Grains:
-Single serving packets of oatmeal can be mixed with hot water.
-Popcorn is a whole grain and provides filling fiber. It’s what we usually put on it that makes it unhealthy. Try adding a little sea salt or MSG free seasoning, like Mrs. DASH.
-100% whole wheat or grain bread. Make a simple sandwich with one of the nut butters or with a healthy non-nitrate turkey or chicken.
-Whole grain crackers. Look for the kind that have a least 4 grams of fiber in one serving. To make sure you only eat one serving, separate into single serving bags.
-Baked potato. Potatoes offer fiber, Vitamin C and potassium if you eat the skin. Sweet potatoes are best and are also high in Vitamin A.

Remember to drink plenty of water. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated. And then relax. Enjoy being outside and on the go for longer periods of time without worrying about preparing a big dinner or doing a run at a fast food drive-thru.

Lisa Burbage

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