How to Eat Well on the Go
By AlternativeRelief in Food & Exercise
The trick to eating well on the run is to know a little about nutrition and your body. Knowing what your body needs helps you make healthy choices when trying to catch a quick lunch or snack in between chores and appointments. In today’s fast paced world it’s hard to worry about a well balanced diet and nutritional value when running head first into the day just trying to finish everything on the to do list and hoping not to run out of daylight. While our modern lifestyles may not allow for the traditional three meals a day, there are a few ways to eat healthy while on the go and still maintain a nutritious lifestyle.
Tips for healthy quick breakfasts
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If there is no time to make a big healthy breakfast in the mornings, try putting together a small quick breakfast the night before and heating it up. Keep healthy quick breakfast alternatives handy that you can grab on the way out the door and eat on the go like fruit, yogurt that comes in the easy squeeze snack pack, a pint sized container of milk or non sweetened juice, a bagel or bran muffin. Other options are portion sized fruit cups, healthy cereal bars or individual portions of cereal that can be prepared and eaten out of the container.
When making that mad morning dash at the local gas station, resist the urge to buy candy bars and energy drinks for a quick energy boost. Many convenience stores offer healthy alternatives such as fresh fruits or granola snack bars and all natural fruit drinks. They just aren’t usually right next to the coffee machine.
If you have a place to store items at work, keep a few individual portion packs of healthy none sugary cereal here. Most offices have a coffee machine as well, so you can run some hot water through it and use it to make individually portioned oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits or a nutritious hominy bowl.
Fast and easy lunch alternatives
Fine dining may not always be possible in a fast paced office scene where time is crunched to make deadlines or when running between classes at school. If possible, pack a sack lunch the night before with a balanced meal in mind. A tuna sandwich on wheat, a banana or apple and maybe some wheat and cheese crackers or a boiled egg are a good alternative to that two piece fried chicken meal that looks good but is not quite as healthy as you would like.
If you have a desk or cubby or locker at work or school, keep a few bags of healthy snacks there too. You can grab them on the go and don’t have to worry about picking a healthy alternative while waiting in line at the cafeteria behind the guy who is guzzling a coke while trying to decide which chicken wings have the hottest sauce.
If you must go through the drive through, pick a place that has a healthy alternative to fried foods, like salads or fresh veggie wraps. Don’t drown your food with dressing, it defeats the purpose of buying healthy, too much ranch can be just as unhealthy as two double cheeseburgers with fries and a soda.
If you are at a lunch date with a client, they will not be offended if you choose a light and healthy lunch entrée. Many restaurants offer healthy alternative versions of their popular dishes so you need not deprive yourself of great flavor or eat “rabbit food” just to avoid unhealthy foods. Always ask about an item if you aren’t sure. Be careful when choosing off the lite menu. Not all items on the lite menu are the healthiest choice, they may be low fat but high in other unwanted calories. Limit dressing on salads and sauces on entrees and side items. If possible order items without the sauce altogether as this is usually the most non nutritious part of a dish. Items such as steamed vegetables, fresh fruits and leafy salads also help boost your energy level and fill you up rather than leaving you feeling full and sluggish.
Healthy, easy and fast dinner ideas
For the family on the go, prepare entrees ahead of time and freeze. When you find some extra time in your day, make up two or three healthy entrees, that way all you have to do is reheat them. Cutting a half an hour or more off your meal times by having them ready is much easier than trying to read the labels on the back of the frozen TV dinners at the store or trying to pick the healthiest pizza toppings, especially if you or a family member is on a special diet.
When ordering out, try alternative dining like a local deli instead of a fast food chain restaurant or pizza parlor. Many grocery store chains have deli sections that make prepared meals to order and cater to health conscious people. Specialty deli restaurants often carry a wide variety of low fat, low carb and alternative recipe dishes that are designed with the healthy consumer in mind. They often package several healthy dishes in family meal packs. Always check with the establishment to make sure their dishes meet your nutritional standards.
Other tips and ideas
When stocking your pantry at home, buy healthy snacks like trail mix, raisin snack packs, non fried and non salted chips or nuts, cheese or peanut better crackers or granola or cereal bars to keep in the car (or for students, in your backpack or locker) to cure those in between meal munchies on the go. A baggie of dry healthy cereal beats a cupcake any day in nutritional needs and it won’t melt in the sun. Avoid salty items or products with sugar additives.
When choosing beverages, buy bottled non flavored water, fruit juice or non caffeine bottled teas instead of sodas and coffee. Caffeine may make you feel better with a quick energy boost, but the down side of this favorite addiction is that is can cause your blood sugar to rise and then drop quickly, making you feel sluggish later on in the day.
Don’t do the diet fad thing. Ordering burgers to go only to take the bread off does not make them any healthier for you. Statistics indicate that trend diets rarely work long term and can often cause dieters to gain more weight back than they originally had to begin with when they quit the diet program.
Keeping a freeze pack in your car can also be handy. A beverage container designed to hold two or three drinks with some dry ice can beat sitting in the drive through on a hot day for a soda that isn’t good for you anyway. You can also store precut bags of fresh vegetables and fruits here on a daily basis to enjoy during your breaks in the day.
Invest in a thermos. This is a great way to store healthy soups and stews that hit the spot on a cold day and a ready made meal whenever time allows.
Try to make time for at least one well balanced meal a day. This will insure that your body is getting all of it’s needed nutrients, even if you can’t plan a 9 course meal every time you sit down to the table.
Vitamins, while not a substitute for a healthy meal can help to relive the body’s need for essential items which it will otherwise not get if you can’t make time for a well balanced meal regularly.
If you decide to go with vitamin or protein shakes, make sure that they are balanced out later in the day with a solid meal. While great for the person on the go, they are not recommended for healthy long term diets.
Deserts should be kept to a minimum. Every once in a while a slice of cheesecake is great and it isn’t going to cause you to gain 10 pounds. Choose natural alternatives to refined sugar items. Fresh fruits are excellent for desert and have been a traditional after dinner or in between meal treat for centuries.
With a little forethought and minimal planning, eating well while on the run can be quite easy, and often cheaper than eating out for convenience.
About the Author
This post was written by one of our staff writers at Alternative Relief!