Busy lives and busy times mean we rely on conveniences. When we do, it often leads to us choosing options that are less than healthy when it comes to food because fast options are convenient though usually not very healthful. But healthy eating doesn’t need to be complex, mystifying, or worse, flavorless, especially when you’re busy and on the go. Whether you’re looking for healthy snack ideas or for healthy food on the go, there are many ways you can approach it without compromising taste or making yourself crazy counting calories.
Make it yourself
The best way to eat healthy on the go is to prepare in advance and make healthy snacks or meals to take along to your workplace. Setting aside some time on the weekend to organize your snacks is a smart way to eat more healthfully while still making it a convenient choice. But if you want to start eating healthy food on the go, you’ll need to start shopping smarter at the supermarket. Keep reading to find out how!
Preparation tips for making healthy snacks on the go
The first step to making healthy snacks on the go is to get your kitchen ready to make them. Here are our top 3 ways to make the whole process smoother and easier so you won’t fall back on that dusty old vending machine at work to get you through your day!
1. Never go to the store hungry
The absolute golden rule for healthy eating is to never go to the store hungry. Everyone has done it. And when we do, we usually load our carts up with convenience foods or impulse purchases. Make sure you eat something first and drink a glass of water too. You’ll be less tempted to buy those unhealthy convenience foods.
2. Stick to the perimeter of the store
The inner aisles of your supermarket are lined with shelf-stable processed foods. The fresh stuff is on the outer rim. If you’re going for grains, choose whole grain options. And never pick anything that has loads of ingredients you can’t pronounce on the label.
3. Get the right storage
If you truly want to have healthy snacks on the go, you’ll need to store them properly. Invest in small plastic containers to toss in your bag, or use snack-sized bags. Having
everything you need ready when you’re prepping your healthy snack ideas or even healthy food on the go will keep you from straying into fried, fatty, sugary fields that you should avoid.
Healthy snack ideas
Once you’ve shopped for your fresh and healthy foods, you’ve got to make your snacks. If you’re new to healthy eating, you might not know what good choices are out there. They don’t need to be bland and boring either. We have plenty of healthy snack ideas for you to choose instead of chips, cookies, and other unhealthy munchies. Try these out for your healthy food on the go!
1. Hard-boiled eggs
One hard-boiled egg is 78 calories, making it an ideal healthy snack to propel you through your morning. You can easily boil these up, but if you always have trouble getting them just right, try steaming them in your rice cooker instead. Make a bunch of them and you’ll always have one ready. They keep for about a week once they’re hard-boiled and can give you the protein, vitamins, and boost you need to power through your morning.
2. Hummus with fresh-cut veggies or whole wheat pita
Visit your produce section or your local farmer’s market and select seasonal vegetables that are ideal for dipping. You can cut up and store carrots, celery, cucumbers and more once you get home from your supermarket run and keep them fresh and ready to go. This guide to storing cut vegetables is like the holy grail of keeping veggies fresh.
With hummus, you can make it fresh yourself or buy it ready-made. Just keep an eye on the label for added ingredients that aren’t fresh. Hummus is mostly comprised of chickpeas which are full of antioxidants and fiber, so you’ll feel full and satisfied with plenty of energy to go. But portions are important too! A serving of hummus is about 1/6th of a cup.
Make your snack even more substantial or turn it into a meal by adding whole wheat pita or whole wheat crackers. Whole grain really fills you up because of the fiber, but again, keep portion size in mind. It’s not healthy if you eat the entire package of crackers or pitas, no matter how whole grain they are!
Nuts are a fantastic way to give you protein and fiber wherever you go. They contain heart-healthy fats too, plus magnesium, something most of us are deficient in. The key to nuts is portion control. Pistachios, almonds and walnuts are among the best for you. You can make a mix or you can stick to one type. Just keep it limited to about ¼-cup or else you’ll have too much of a good thing.
4. Fresh fruit
Fresh seasonal fruit is always a good healthy snack idea. Bananas and oranges are especially good for days when you truly have to rush out the door fast. You can make your own fruit cups too and store them in the fridge a few days in advance. Make a berry medley or create something with melon. Mix them together. The possibilities are truly endless and completely healthy as long as you use the right sized storage containers for your portions.
5. Mason jar salads
If you think salad is lame and unfulfilling, then you’re not making it right. Mason jar salads have become all the rage because they keep the ingredients that should stay crunchy from getting soggy. Plus, you can create an array of textures in a perfect portion, making it an ideal way to take healthy food on the go. There are tons of recipes for creating the perfect mouth-watering mason jar salad for you. You can even prep them in advance so all you have to do is grab and go. Don’t be heavy-handed with your dressings though or you’ll add on more calories than you bargained for. Even if you use Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, remember that one tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories.
6. Deli roll-ups
Want a sandwich without the bread? Roll up 2 slices of turkey from the deli with one slice of cheese. Add a tomato for some veggie-punch in there too. You’ll get almost 12 grams of protein from it, making it a perfect quick bite!
7. Energy bars
Pre-packaged foods are often filled with sugar and other nasty hidden ingredients, but the KIND brand is a fantastic all-natural choice filled with nuts that you can stash in your bag for moments when your hunger turns more into a hangry status.
8. Kale chips
You’ll have to prep these in advance, but they’re well worth it. They’re easy to make and
are perfect for potato chip crunchers. Mix 2 cups of fresh kale with a tablespoon of olive oil and season it with a little salt and garlic powder. Bake it in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for just 15 minutes or until crispy. Warning: you may want to bake multiple batches. They vanish fast. But if you eat the whole tray of it, you can do so guilt-free!
9. Cucumber “sub”
If you love sub sandwiches but don’t want to eat all that bread, use a hollowed-out cucumber as your vessel. Slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then, fill it with a couple pieces of deli meat, cheese, and any veggies you want. You can also use tuna drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or even make it a Caprese style with cherry tomatoes and pearls of mozzarella and fresh basil. You can totally have fun with this one and explore tons of creative and tantalizing options.
10. Air-popped popcorn
Popcorn that is air-popped without fake flavors and butter is a healthy and satisfying snack choice. It contains lots of fiber, plus if you add nutritional yeast to it, you’ll add even more healthful nutrients and give it a cheesy taste that’s vegan-friendly.
Healthy food to grab and go
Now that you’ve got some healthy snack ideas you can make and take anywhere with you, let’s talk about what you can grab and go when you’re truly unable to make something healthy for yourself. Perhaps you’re on a business trip or life has truly come at you full-force and you haven’t even had a chance to go near the supermarket, leaving you with no choice but to grab something on the road. When that happens, here are some quick healthy tips to help you can grab and go without ruining all your healthy hard work!
1. Grab the salad
Most salad options at fast-food and fast casual places are a smart choice. Just beware of your proteins. It’s always best to opt for grilled meats. Don’t add on tortilla strips or croutons and watch how much dressing you use. You can keep your salad meal under 400 calories easy if you watch what’s added to it.
2. Tacos done right
When you get a hankering for drive-thru tacos, go for the grilled chicken soft taco variety. Taco Bell’s Fresco version is a light choice, or you can get a Power Burrito which doesn’t have rice in it, making for another fresh alternative. Additionally, this fast food
chain offers tons of customizable options that you can select from your smartphone so you can leave off extras like sour cream or switch sauces, add more veggies, and make it fit your lifestyle.
3. Rotisserie chicken meals
Place like Boston Market give you plenty of healthy options that can fill you up.
You can enjoy a quarter white chicken rotisserie meal with dill potatoes and steamed veggies for 400 calories, as long as you remove the skin. Avoid unhealthy sides like mashed potatoes and gravy and creamed spinach.
4. Half a whole wheat sub
Sub shops are everywhere and if you’re craving a sandwich on the go, get one of America’s favorite hand-held meals. Watch your choices though. Roasted chicken or turkey is always a smart choice. Order whole wheat bread, skip the mayo, and don’t ask for extra cheese. Load it up with veggies and you’ll have a fast yet healthy meal on the go.
5. Avoid big combos
With the exception of places like Boston Market where you can get a healthful, square meal with sides, don’t fall prey to other fast establishments’ big combo offers. They’re tempting but that giant drink and those other sides are going right to your thighs. Order only what you need. You’re not saving that much by going with a combo. Don’t drink soda, even the diet stuff either. Get a bottled water instead.
By thinking smart when you are out, you can get healthy food on the go. Even a burger at a drive-thru restaurant isn’t a bad choice – if you only eat one and don’t order fries. The most important things about healthy eating are controlling your portions, moderation, and making smart choices. While you shouldn’t hit the drive-thru for a burger every day, if you’re on the run and have no other choices, one like the Whopper Junior from Burger King comes with vegetables on top and has less than 350 calories.
It is possible to eat healthy food on the go. The best option is to make it yourself, but when you can’t, knowing how to order smart at those go-to places will surely satisfy your hunger while saving your health.