I was recently asked this question: what foods do you choose when you are on the road (doing errands, commuting, etc.) and are starving?
My answer might surprise you, or even annoy you, but it also just might change you life:
Do not leave home without healthy food.
This is where I usually get an annoyed look (this time was no different though I will not name names ) and a response like: “Obviously, but what if I am in a hurry?!”
Americans are always in a hurry. Can you think of the last time that you weren’t rushing to the next “thing”? When was the last time you skipped breakfast, or lunch for this reason? Eating on the road goes hand in hand with the American culture. In fact, the average American spends fewer then 30 minutes a day preparing food. The problem is, when you choose food cooked outside of the home, you almost inevitably triple your calories, increase fat, and sodium. There certainly are better choices than others, and tips and tricks you can use but truly, the best thing you can do for your health is to grab a few quick and easy snacks before you leave the house.
I love Real Simple’s idea of having a “Snack Station” ready to go in the fridge so that you can just grab something (Hey Moms, this is great for back to school!):
Here are some other choices to spare yourself what I like to call, “food decision anxiety” on the road:
Pretzels, carrots, or apples and peanut butter- Try putting a handful into a plastic bag with a small storage container of peanut butter for dipping (and some added protein to stay full). Justin’s Nut Butter makes great organic packets of peanut butter that are portable but a little expensive. I tend to just fill a small container.
Granola- I make a huge batch from this recipe and throw it into plastic bags.
Walnuts- try these spiced walnuts yum!
Almonds- try making salt and vinegar almonds for something extra. Spread whole, unsalted almonds on a cookie sheet, douse with any flavor vinegar, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 400 degrees until the liquid has evaporated and the almonds are dry.
Spiced Mixed nuts: I got this recipe from Whole Living and it is easy to make in bulk and have on hand: Mix 3 cups whole nuts with 1/4 cup each flax seeds, quinoa, and sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 egg whites with 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne, cumin, and cinnamon. Toss with nut mix. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake at 325 degrees until dry, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Scrape from pan while cooling, to avoid sticking. Makes 16 servings (178 calories each).
Pita bread and hummus- try the same plastic bag/small container strategy
Hard boiled eggs- I am a big fan of this snack
Baked Kale Chips (trust me, they are amazing!)- Try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Whole Wheat Wheat Thins- This recipe is next on my list to try
Fruit- always a smart choice!
Just remember, we are trying to avoid a food environment that includes this monster:
Starbucks Raspberry Scone: 500 calories, 26 grams of fat (15 g saturated fat!)
What are some other healthy foods you bring with you on the road?