We all know when we walk into a gas station that we are treading on dangerous ground. It’s like our eyes and noses are assaulted by the sights and smells of candy, doughnuts, sweet drinks, hot dogs, melted “cheese” and chips. You try to slap some sense into yourself, but it’s too late. Your stomach is convinced that it needs that chocolate cream pie and an iced coffee drink to go.
These treats are hard enough to avoid when you are traveling for fun, but what if traveling is a part of your day, for 40 hours each week?
The temptation can be hard to resist for shift workers and those who spend their work week on the road. If you are one of the many in our community who struggles with quick shop cuisine being a regular part of your diet—read on. You will find tips to help you eat better on the go!
Prepare and plan ahead
The best part of this step is it will help save you money! Be kind to your wallet and purchase traveling snacks at the grocery store. The typical cost of a candy bar can be between 89 cents and up to $1.60 or more at the gas station. At Walmart, you can purchase a six-count, full size Milky Way package for $4.27. This small example saves you a buck or more.
Just think, if you applied this to all your other on-the-go foods! Better yet, when traveling, pack a cooler from home with wraps, veggies, fruits and other healthy options such as nuts instead of the typical gas station fare.
Mentally prepare yourself
If you have to purchase food at a gas station, plan your attack. Have your mind made up before you go in about what you will purchase? Go directly to those items and don’t give in to impulse purchases. You will save money and useless calories.
Make smart food swaps
If you know what to look for, there are plenty of food options that are good or even better choices in the gas station. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Almond Joy? To satisfy a need to crunch, try pistachios or almonds. They are full of omega-three fatty acids and heart healthy. Choose shelled nuts, instead of unshelled to help you slow down and enjoy the flavor! And, avoid versions that are sweetened or have extra salt.
Need protein? Jerky is a good answer. It’s packed with protein and is generally low in calories. The protein will also satisfy your hunger, but beware of the sodium as some brands of jerky contain a lot!
Sugar calling your name? Opt for fruit instead of a candy bar. Fresh fruit such as bananas are usually available in your local convenience store and are a better choice than candy because of the fiber content. The fiber slows the body’s reaction to sugar helping prevent a sugar rollercoaster.
Craving something creamy? Try a Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is superior to regular yogurt because it has less sugar, more protein and generally is lower in fat.
Want chips and dip? Try hummus! Individual serving size containers are often found in convenience stores and are loaded with fiber and delicious. Often, they come with pretzels, which could be swapped for veggies like carrots, celery or peppers. All of those offer the crunch of a chip and with the humus helps satisfy the need for something zesty.
Is a bar what you need? Try a Quest bar or another protein bar, instead of candy. When you are shopping for a protein bar, read the label and look for one with a higher protein content, without a lot of sugary calories. It is often difficult to tell the difference between an energy bar and a protein bar, although both serve a purpose.
For more healthy eating tips while on the go, I recommend checking out these helpful articles:
Cooking Light: Healthy traveling snacks
Men’s Fitness: 16 health snacks to get at a convenience store
Prevention: Best foods to buy at gas stations
Campbell County Health Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region.
At Wellness, you can receive daily community blood draws, lab tests, and health and wellness screenings in Gillette, Wyoming.
To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call (307) 688-8051.
By: Rachel Wilde for CCH
Republished with permission by 82717