Eating well doesn’t have to be hard when you’re busy. Here are our tips for healthy eating on the go
It’s the end of the day and you’re just not feeling up to going home to prepare dinner, and you know the fast food restaurant around the corner is not your best option. The ease of pulling up to a drive through window knowing that you will have food in hand in the next several minutes sounds appealing, but what if there is a more nutritious option that is just as convenient? You can focus on healthy eating and still grab and go!
Making better food choices on the go is easier than you might expect, especially if you know what to look for. Recently, restaurants, convenience markets, and grocery stores have started to include healthy food options at their grab-and-go stations and on their made-to-order menus. Don’t hesitate to step outside the box, you will not be disappointed. Here are 5 tips for healthful eating on the go:
1. Find a location with good variety
Finding the perfect location might be tricky depending on where you live. Explore your local convenience stores and restaurants for made-to-order and take-out options. When in doubt, start with your local grocery store. Grocery stores will have the best variety and the deli section almost always has a few cold salads to top a bed of leafy greens or to wrap in a whole grain tortilla. The produce selection might also have prepped veggies perfect for dipping in a light dressing or hummus. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble upon a made to order sandwich bar and soup station. Healthy eating does not have to be hard, if you get creative.
2. Healthy eating starts with protein
Lean protein should be the foundation of all of your meals. Options including, grilled chicken, turkey, light tuna salad, beans, and eggs are a great place to start building your meal. Lean protein will keep you full longer and help maintain blood sugar to avoid that dreadful mind afternoon crash.
3. Add some color
Colorful vegetables pack a nutritious punch and as a bonus are loaded with dietary fiber. Fiber helps keep you full, can help reduce cholesterol and promotes gut health. Look for vegetables that are either steamed, sautéed in olive oil or even raw if you’re feeling a salad that day. Set the goal for non-starchy vegetables to fill half of your plate, including leafy green, broccoli, sweet peppers, zucchini and carrots just to name a few!
4. Portion control
Go in with a plan. Check yourself on what you are craving versus what your body needs to maintain good health. For the most healthy eating, start with a serving of lean protein that is about the size of a standard deck of cards, include plenty of colorful vegetables and finally add in a ½ cup serving of whole grain carbohydrates like a whole grain dinner roll, brown rice or whole wheat pita. Click here to view a full list of whole grain carbohydrate options.
5. Finish it off with a piece of fresh fruit
A piece of fresh fruit is the perfect palette pleaser at the end of a meal. Finish your meal with a piece of fresh fruit like a small banana, apple or cup of mixed berries. Fruit is full of nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene which are antioxidants that help prevent illness and chronic disease.
When you have a little more time, try our Winter Harvest Buddha Bowl. It’s great to prepare ahead and take with you.
List of the Best Carbohydrate Options with Suggested Serving Size
Bread, Grains & Pasta
Brown Rice – ¼ cup
Cous Cous – ¼ cup
Bulgar (cooked) – ½ cup
Whole grain roll – Small roll, 1 oz.
Whole wheat pasta – ½ cup
Croutons, low fat – 1 cup
Pita 6 in. across – ½ pita
Whole wheat bagel – ½ bagel
English muffin – ½ muffin
Whole grain sliced bread – 1 slice (1 oz.)
Raisin bread, unfrosted – 1 slice (1 oz.)
Bread stick, 4 in. long x ½ in – 2 sticks (2/3 oz.)
Crackers, saltine – 6 crackers
Popcorn, popped – 3 cups
Starch Vegetables, Beans, Peas & Lentils
Corn – ½ cup
Lima beans – ½ cup
Peas, canned or frozen – ½ cup
Potato, baked- 1 small, 3 oz.
Potato, mashed- ½ cup
Sweet Potato, yam – 1/3 cup
Squash (acorn, butternut) – ¾ cup
Lentils (cooked) – 1/3 cup
Beans (cooked) – 1/3 cup
Baked beans – ¼ cup
Apple – 1 small or ½ large
Orange – 1 small or ½ large
Peach – 1 small or ½ large
Pear – 1 small or ½ large
Banana – 4 inches or ½ large
Unsweetened Applesauce – ½ cup
Grapes – 17 grapes
Prunes – 3 prunes
Melon, cantaloupe – 1 cup
Berries – 1 ¼ cup