How to make healthy food choices when you're on-the-go.
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Smart Snack Options
Whether you're out on the road or running errands around town, it's inevitable you'll find yourself at a gas station or a convenience store feeling a bit famished.
Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares healthy snack options that will keep you full throughout your busy day.
A piece of fruit is an easy, portable snack loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Have it with a string cheese for extra protein, or enjoy a piece or two on its own.
Tip: Pick out a piece of fruit with a peel, like an orange or banana, that won't need to be scrubbed free of any potential pesticides when you're on the go.
Nuts & Seeds
A small bag of peanuts, cashews or sunflower seeds are rich sources of heart-healthy fats and protein. Pick up a vegetable juice or some low-fat milk from the convenience store fridge for some additional vitamins.
Tip: You can find nuts and seeds in trail mixes, but be sure to look at the serving size before munching away on an entire bag. The addition of chocolate-covered nuts or candy can also inflate the number calories you're taking in with one snack, so pick an option with just nuts and dried fruit.
Choose one with no added sugar or, even better, a Greek-style yogurt for a snack loaded with Vitamin D, calcium and protein. Add some fresh fruit or a single serving of a whole-grain cereal for a heartier option.
Crackers & Dip
More and more convenience stores are including snack-portions of crackers or pretzels with hummus and dip—a great option for protein, heart-healthy fats and carbohydrates. A bean-based dip will also include fiber to help keep you full between meals.
Tip: If you can't find any small bags of crackers, single-serving bags of baked or pita chips are another healthy alternative.
Find a bar made with whole grains, nuts, dried fruit and seeds for a snack complete in fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and heart-healthy fats. Avoid bars with too much chocolate or processed sugar, as they'll be closer to a candy bar in nutritional value.
Tip: check the serving size for granola bars that come in a two-pack. Although there may be two bars in a single package, the calorie, sugar and carbohydrate count on the nutritional information may only count for one bar.
Pick up a single-size box of cereal or full sized box and keep it your car for a handy snack throughout the week. Select one that's high in fiber and low in added sugar. If you're at a rest stop, pour it over yogurt or nonfat milk for a more complete meal that includes calcium.
If you're looking for something on the sweet side, popcorn is an excellent treat complete with whole grains and fiber. Be sure to avoid any flavors coated in caramel, butter or cheese as they're likely to have more processed sugar and fat than you need.