7 Nutrition Tips for Food on the Go

Are you always on the go? Between busy schedules and long commutes, many of us eat in our cars on a regular basis. If you don’t plan ahead, those on-the-go snacks and meals can add up to a lot of unhealthy fast food.

If you find yourself in the same drive-thru several times a week, look up the nutrition information for your usual order. You’ll probably be surprised at how many calories that value meal contains.

To save yourself some serious calories (and cash), try some of these nutrition tips for better eating on the go.

Plan Ahead

Look over your schedule and think about when you’ll eat. Could you have a meal waiting in the crock pot so you could eat a quick bite at home? Could you make sandwiches ahead of time and grab them on your way out the door?

Know Your Options

Sometimes a sack lunch isn’t an option. Take some time to compare the menus and meal options at common fast food restaurants. Identify the most healthful items on the menu and know what you can order in a pinch on a long car trip or in an airport. Even a salad can contain a lot of calories once dressing and toppings are added, so checking nutrition information is a must.

Make One Small Change

Not ready to switch from double bacon cheeseburgers to salads? Then make one small change to your normal order. Choose a small order of fries instead of the large. Switch to diet soda. Get a fruit cup or apple slices instead of fries or onion rings. Hold the mayo – most fast food chains add about 150 calories of mayonnaise to their sandwiches. Ask for ketchup and mustard instead.

Try for Balance

Think about how to add fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your meals.

Consider the Grocery Store

When you’re on the road, stopping at a grocery store might be just as easy as waiting in the drive-thru line. Go through the salad bar or grab a bag of carrots, a piece of fruit and some deli meat. You’ll get a nutritious meal and more food for less money.

Expect the Unexpected

It’s good to have a backup plan. Stock your glove compartment, briefcase, backpack or purse with snacks like dry cereal, trail mix, nuts and dried fruit, crackers, or granola bars.

Get Out of the Car

We tend to eat in our cars and eat those in-car meals quickly. If you have a few minutes, get out of the car and sit down at a table. Eat slowly and be mindful of every bite. No matter how rushed you are, you deserve to savor your food.

Learn more about Wake Forest Baptist Health's Weight Management Center.