When it comes to healthy eating, there’s one word that dictates the whole battle. (And no, it’s not cheesecake.) It’s control. Maintaining control over your choices, your environment, and your temptations is the key. The more you control—through shopping, keeping your hunger in check, and the time of day that you eat—the better your chances of changing unhealthy eating habits to healthy ones.
As we know, control isn’t the easiest thing to, well, control. Life happens, and sometimes your schedule looks like an air-traffic log—everything coming from all directions while you’re just working to take off and land every item on your to-do list. Sometimes, that means your commitment to eating healthy gets sacrificed.
Here’s a common scenario for those who are always on the go: You’re out and about with one appointment after another, and the only choice you have when your stomach is growling like a mama tiger is to run into the gas station and grab something on the fly. We get it. Our lives are so busy that you cannot always have salmon burgers packed in your pockets.
You know exactly what we’re talking about: Walk into a convenience store and just about every choice looks like it’s going to make a beeline from the shelves to your thighs. Packaged pastries, gnarly hot dogs, soda cups the size of gas tankers. Convenience foods are convenient not only because they’re quick to buy, but also because they’re an easy way to fast-track you to an appointment with the diabetes doc.
So what to do? Have a strategy. When you’re in a pinch—and your only option is a pit-stop purchase—your fuel could look like this:
- Bag of nuts :
Nuts have protein and healthy fat. And thank goodness, it’s becoming more and more common to see packages of unsalted nuts in gas stations. Avoid the sugar or honey-coated versions.
- Bottle of water :
Hydration is important, and a bottle of water is the best choice among all the other high-calorie and high-sugar options in the gas station fridge. Or you can grab a cup of joe or tea (skip the sugar and milk).
- Fruit pack :
No, not the gummy kind. Many gas stations will have apples or bananas to purchase, and sometimes prepacked apple slices or berries.
- Cup of Greek yogurt :
If you can find it in the store, there’s a good amount of protein here. Go for no-sugar-added versions, if they’re available.
- Hummus :
Often sold in small packages with pretzels for dipping, this snack is loaded with protein and healthy fat.
One final note: Be wary of items that “sound” healthy. Granola bars and trail mix can appear healthy, but they’re often loaded with sugar. And that stick of beef jerky that looks so easy to eat with its high protein? Stay away, as processed meats are loaded with ingredients that, in our opinion, cancel out the positive power of protein.
Finally, if that soda fountain looks tempting, fill up one of those jugs with ice, then buy a bottle or two of sparkling water. Fill ‘er up and get on your way.