Tips for eating on the go

Tips for Eating on the Go

Our dietitians have some great tips for eating on the go, because let’s face it: With today’s hectic lifestyle, being at home for every meal and snack is rare! Between work, school, sports, errands, and so much more, it’s no surprise that you might find yourself eating while out and about.

However, don’t let the hectic pace of life lead you to skip meals or resort to unhealthy fast food choices. Even with a busy life, you can stay on track.

Before we share our dietitians’ best tips for eating on the go, let’s start with a quick review of the components of a healthy meal or snack:

What to include in a meal or snack

  1. Protein. This includes items like meat, nuts, nut butter, tofu, beans, cheese, or yogurt.  This food group helps you to feel full. 
  2. Fat is found in nuts, cheeses, high-fat meats and seafood, fried foods, avocado, nuts, nut butter in some beans, and more. Fats trigger satiety in your brain, making you feel good. 
  3. Carbs are those starchy items like pasta, bread, rice, beans, oats, dairy items, and others. This component provides energy for your brain to keep functioning at full potential.
  4. Fiber is a component of plant-based foods. Fiber helps you by providing bulk to a meal, satiety, and helps to decrease the risk for chronic disease.

It is important to have a balance of the main food groups in your meals or snacks, which keeps you feeling full and satisfied. This also gives you energy to get through your busy day.

Top tips for eating on the go

Now that you are familiar with the components of a healthy meal or snack, it’s time to check out our dietitians’ top tips for eating on the go. These are designed for busy people who want to stay on track with healthy eating…but who aren’t always home when hunger strikes!

1. Have healthy snacks on hand to bring with you.

Probably one of our best tips for eating on the go is to keep your fridge and pantry stocked with items you can grab on your way out the door. Options abound and in fact, here are some of our dietitians’ favorite, healthy, grab and go snacks:

  • Tuna and crackers
  • Mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus packs and baked chips
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Cheese sticks/cubes and crackers
  • Slices sweet peppers/carrots with hummus
  • Individual to go salads
  • Peanut butter & jelly sandwich 
  • Fresh fruit & cottage cheese
  • Rice cakes & nut butter

2. Forgot snacks? Make a healthy choice at your local gas station.

Another tip for eating on the go is to head inside when you fill up your tank. Gas station snack options have come a long way! In fact you might be surprised by how many healthy snacks are available at your local gas station convenience store. But be sure to skip the soggy donuts and candy bars and make a choice that benefits your body. Meanwhile our dietitians scoped out the gas station snack scene and came up with some great options. Click here to read our blog post on healthy gas station snacks.

3. Pick healthier options at fast food restaurants.

It’s meal time and you want something heartier than a snack, but you aren’t going to make it home for a meal. Sometimes fast food might seem like the easiest option. So here’s another tip for eating on the go: As you pull into a drive thru, remind yourself that nearly every menu has something on it that is a healthier choice. Below are just some examples from national chains that you probably have in your area:

  • Chipotle‘s burrito bowls are a solid choice. But go for brown rice or greens, add beans for fiber and protein, and load up on veggies. Add guacamole for a healthy fat.
  • Panera Bread offers items such as half salad and half sandwich combinations.
  • Wendy’s chili is a good option that’s high in protein and fiber. They also have fresh salads that are standard on their menu year-round.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts has healthier options that are available all day, such as their Wake Up Wrap with turkey sausage, and their Avocado Toast.
  • Chick-fil-A offers a grilled chicken sandwich that is a good bet. Or opt for one of their salads. (Just avoid any with fried chicken on top!)

Also keep in mind that nutrition data for places like these is available online. In addition, calories are often listed right on the menu at the drive thru and inside the restaurant. You therefore have all the tools you need to make the healthiest choice possible.

4. Avoid these common fast food restaurant traps.

You’ve made a healthy choice in the drive thru line. Great job! But then you get that familiar question: “Do you want fries with that?” Don’t panic! Here are some additional tips for eating on the go when your meal involves a stop at a fast food restaurant.

  • Keep portion size in mind. If you can’t resist the fries, remember this: a small McDonald’s fries has 230 calories and 11 grams of fat. Meanwhile the large has 480 calories and 27 grams of fat. Size maters!
  • Avoid purchasing combos with fries and a soft drink.
  • Choose water as your beverage.
  • Ask for sauces on the side. These tend to be loaded with sugar, fat and calories.
  • Use salad dressing sparingly. Don’t dump the entire thing on your salad!
  • It’s helpful if you review nutrition data in advance, so you can make the healthiest choice. Sometimes the items we think are “healthy” aren’t when you review the data.

Want more tips for eating on the go?

Sometimes you are not able to control the time or location when your hunger strikes. However, keeping the above tips in mind can help you make better choices when you are eating on the go. Our dietitians have many more ideas for how you can fit good nutrition into your busy life! So consider booking a nutrition counseling session by clicking the button below. We even take insurance!