On-the-go. To-go. Pokemon-Go (WTF? Is that still a thing?). Fast-casual. Amazon-telepathic-checkout.
I think you’ll agree with me, we’re moving faster than ever. Bustling around to try and do it all. Work, kids, school, activities, play dates and they are all fueled by our technology-enabled ‘FOMO’. (fear of missing out).
We could argue pros and cons of this “Fast & Furious” lifestyle all day- but I think one thing we can all readily agree on is that this ‘go-go-go’ lifestyle is certainly allowing us less time to find high quality fuel for our bodies!
Which is tough. Because when you are “on the go” is when you use the most energy and when it is absolutely vital that you get proper nutrition in your body to keep you going.
The question is, how do you eat healthy meals and snacks when you are traveling, on the road or running around trying to get your kiddos from one activity to the next?
The easiest answer to this question is to be prepared. If you know that you will be out and about for a big chunk of the day- make sure you grab a prepped meal or at the very least a single serving of QUALITY protein power ready to mix up before you leave the house. Easy, right? And we can end the article right there.
<Sigh>. It’s not always that simple, is it?
Sometimes the LAST thing you are thinking about as you leave the house is your next meal. And sometimes bringing your food along just isn’t an option. Have you ever tried trying to convince a TSA agent that your protein shake is so thick that it no longer qualifies as a liquid? I have.
Let’s just say it didn’t work.
So. here are some of my tips to help keep you from becoming the incredibly hangry person without resorting to quick and easy junk food…
1. Protein and Produce.
Protein and Produce. Say it again – PROTEIN AND PRODUCE. If possible, try to base your on-the-go eats around SOME form of protein and some type of produce (fruit or veggie). Both of these will keep you energized, and the fiber in veggies and skin on fruits will keep you full. Don’t fear the sugars in those fruits. If you’re body is truly in need of fuel, those sugars are being put STRAIGHT to use keeping your brain sharp and your body movin’.
2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Second.
Try to prepare for these times so that you don’t end up in desperation mode. If you are like me- when you are in that hangry mode all you care about is finding the first edible thing you can hands on. And that typically will be junk. TRY to get a plan rolling in your mind so that when the time strikes, you aren’t grabbing for that Snickers (PS – been there done that and it is nothing like the commercials. I’m still cranky and left with a sugar buzz).
How to Prepare:
Always, and I mean always, have a Blender Bottle on hand along with a ziplock filled with single servings of protein powder and individual packs of raisins dry fruit, nuts and or peanut butter in your car or bag. This rule is just for my special secret potions. Muah ah ah ah!
3. But it Is the Last Second.
Ok so the planning didn’t happen and now you’re hangry. JUST SAY NO to candy, junk and fast food. Meals on the go do not have to be bad for you. It may take a little creativity and thinking outside of the box, but you can find nutritious treats and eats. And always remember…
4. Something is Better Than Nothing.
Accept that in a pinch, your meal might not be perfect. It might not hit those carefully planned macros. It’s easy to just NOT eat because the choices aren’t optimal. But keep in mind that fuel is fuel. Sometimes putting 89 octane in the tank of your Ferrari (you ARE a Ferrari) that prefers 93 octane is better than putting nothing in it at all!
So let’s take a look at what your best options are at two of the more popular ‘on-the-go’ food.. er.. ‘destinations’.. for said 89 octane fuel…
Your Best Options at Kwik Trip or Equivalent Convenience Store:
They’re convenience stores and not health food stores- but you CAN find fuel in here that won’t totally compromise your gains! Look for:
- low fat cottage cheese
- low fat yogurt
- string cheese (don’t fear the fat! It will satisfy your hunger much more effectively than a ‘low-fat’ bag of pretzels or chips)
- fruits and veggies (better yet if they are washed and cut)
- If the store doesn’t have a cold section, you can’t go wrong with gas station staples like beef jerky (look for lower sodium) and nuts (non salted and raw if possible).
- Protein bar
Your Best Healthy Snack Options at Starbucks:
They might not be fresh off the deli counter, but you can usually find pre-made, semi-healthy sandwiches and salads that are cheap, easy and right at your finger tips. Try to avoid those colorful frosted pastries calling your name from behind the shiny glass cases!
When choosing a salad, pick one with cooked (not fried) protein, a variety of leafy greens, a ton of veggies and dressing on the side. Go towards sandwiches on whole grain bread or wraps, no mayo or sauces and lots of lean protein and veggies. And if they have coffee there – BONUS SCORE. Why, well, just because I love coffee. And I mean coffee – not fru fru mocha latte cooler a chinos. Those are no bueno on the waistline.
If the coffee shop has instant oatmeal, stir in a single serving packet of protein powder and top it with the peanut butter form your stash. Or better yet – shake any flavor of protein powder into cold press coffee and you have Protein-A-Go-Go To Go.
So. to summarize. Not every meal is going to be perfect. But now that you are armed with these hacks and tricks – YOU CAN stay fueled on the go.
The next time your body is running low on power with no plug in in sight, at least you have a back up plan to keep you going on the go.