Tips for Healthy Eating On the Run

You may often find yourself complaining that “there aren’t enough hours in a day”, a common phrase used by every working person, mother and college student. With all of your daytime chores and obligations taking up all of your time, eating often gets placed on the back burner. But why should you let your deadlines, children’s play dates and hectic class schedules be full-time responsibilities and your health only a part-time one? I am not saying you should totally avoid eating on the run because I am aware that life gets in the way sometimes and it’s important to be able to grab and go when needed. What I am saying is, don’t allow convenience to become more important than making healthy food choices.

Here are strategies you can use to help fit nutritious foods into your “on the run” meals and snacks.

Plan ahead. Think about where you are going to be during the day and what the available meal options are. It is always best to aim for a place offering a wide variety of menu items so you don’t run out of time and get stuck eating a burger and fries.

Always check for a healthy section and be aware of “red flag” words that often pop up on menus. Foods that use the words batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamy, crispy or breaded should be avoided due to their high fat content. Menu items that are better options include descriptive words such as baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted or steamed. These words typically indicate that the food has less fat and fewer calories.

Be smart with sides. Replace French fries with a baked potato or a side salad and omit the bacon or mayonnaise on your sandwich to make your meal well balanced and nutritious. Increase the nutritional value of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers or other vegetables and ask for the dressing or condiment on the side so that you can control how much you put on.

When it comes to on-the-go breakfasts, avoid foods with simple carbohydrates, like croissants, muffins, bagels and biscuits. These foods are void of nutrients and will leave you hungry in a couple of hours. Always keep balance in mind with breakfast and choose a whole grain, lean protein, fruit and dairy.

Nutritious on-the-go breakfast ideas include:

– Individual serving cereals, like Cheerios, a banana, fat free milk and a hard- boiled egg

– Egg white breakfast burrito on a whole wheat wrap with veggies and low fat cheese

– Whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter, mixed fruit cup and an 8 ounce carton of low fat milk

– Oatmeal “on the go: cups with fresh fruit

Eat your lower calorie foods first. Start with a soup or salad and follow with a light main course. If the meal comes with a side of bread, chips, cookie or piece of fruit, opt for the piece of fruit most often!

While eating on the run is at times unavoidable, try the best you can to plan ahead so that you can take homemade food with you, or eat at home before you leave. Buy an insulated lunch bag and pack your own food to avoid skipping lunch or stopping at the drive through. Don’t forget to include nutritious snacks to keep you energized throughout the day, so that when meal time does come you are not overly hungry.

Don’t let your busy schedule become the reason why you make unhealthy food choices. This is the time to begin thinking about healthy eating on the run now that the summer is coming to an end and the hectic school year is about to begin. Make your health a full-time responsibility!

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and those struggling with their weight take back control so they can get the healthy body and life they want. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, nutrition education and caring support. The result is they lose weight, keep it off without dieting and achieve a sense of relief by being freed from the ties of dieting.

Bonnie is a registered dietitian, certified dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and she teaches people to tune into their internal hunger and satiety signals to guide their eating.

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