My previous posts have all assumed that you all would be eating at home 24/7. Although it’s great to eat a home cooked meal, some days it just isn’t possible. While on the road or at work there will be times when you need to stop at a convenience store or fast food restaurant. It may not seem like it, but there are healthy options hidden among the donuts and slurpees that will keep you both satisfied and on track. Here are some common items found at convenience stores that are good options:
- Any kind of fresh produce: Many convenience stores have begun to increase their selection of fresh foods, which make excellent snack options. Bananas, apples, and baby carrots can almost always be found.
- Fruit cups: The next best alternative to fresh fruit would be a fruit cup. Look for an option “packed in own juice” or “packed in water” instead of “packed in syrup/light syrup”. This will ensure you won’t be consuming added sugar.
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy: Most stores will have at least a small dairy case containing milk, cheese, and yogurt options that can yield a serving of protein. Low-fat string cheese paired with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit is a great snack choice. You could also try a yogurt with granola or a banana.
- Whole grains: Single serving cereal cups paired with fat-free milk are an easy option for a snack or breakfast. An ideal choice would be under 160 calories and containing at least 3 grams of fiber. Plain air-popped popcorn is also another good whole grain choice.
- Nuts: Nuts and trail mixes are always available at convenience stores. Look for a single serving, low sodium option. Although one serving is a great source of healthy fat and protein, however, nuts are very energy dense and can contribute a lot of calories when eaten in excess. If there are no single serve packages, you could purchase a larger container. One serving is typically the size of your palm.
- Real food bars: These have also started to become more popular at convenience stores. My favorite options are listed here. Look for whole food ingredients, less than 10 grams of sugar, and 3 or more grams of protein.
Many rest stops and convenience stores are connected or close to a fast food restaurant. When you are looking for something a little more satisfying here are a few healthier options to choose from.
McDonalds: Egg White Delight McMuffin – 250 calories, 4 grams fiber, 18 g protein, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat
Wendys: Small Chilli with Garden Side Salad (light vinaigrette dressing) and apple slices – 355 calories, 8 g fiber, 18 g protein, 11 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat
Subway: 6″ Rotisserie Style Chicken Sub – 350 calories, 5 g fiber, 29 g protein, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat
Dunkin Donuts: Egg White and Veggie Wake Up Wrap – 190 calories, 1 g fiber, 11 g protein, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post.. it will be ideas for healthy meals and snacks to bring on the road with you!