Nutrition tips: How to eat well on-the-go

young woman drinking water from a bottle

Sometimes, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet can be difficult if you lead a non-stop, busy lifestyle. Between going to work or school, dedicating a portion of your night to fitness and fitting in time to spend with your girls, there isn’t much time left to sit down and enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal. That’s why – unfortunately – so many people turn to fast food for a quick meal which often results in gaining unwanted pounds.

But eating well on the go doesn’t have to seem impossible. There are a few, simple ways you can make healthier, more nutritious choices while you’re strapped for time.

Start meal planning
If you want to start your week off on the right foot, Medical Daily suggested meal planning every Monday. It’s a great way to track the foods you eat throughout the week and use up ingredients in the kitchen before they go bad, all while motivating you to stay away from the fast food. Planning your meals out a week in advance will save you time, energy and money and will ensure you’re eating a healthier, well-balanced diet.

Avoid pre-packaged snacks
There are plenty of pre-packaged breakfast foods you know you shouldn’t grab on your way out the door – muffins, pastries, donuts and bagels – but there quite a few left out of that list that are surprisingly unhealthy. Shape magazine reported that trail mix, granola and dried fruit are among many snacks that are misleading when it comes to nutrition. These snack foods are advertised to be high in fiber, vitamins and minerals – which is true, however, they’re also loaded with added sugars and salts that basically defeat the nutritional content. If you can’t get enough of these on-the-go snack foods, just consider making your own. That way you’ll know exactly what’s going in your trail mix and you won’t have to worry about lingering calories from added salt.

Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruits to avoid added sugars and salts.Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruits to avoid added sugars and salts.

Brew your own coffee
For some, starting the day off on the right track all begins with drinking a cup of coffee – followed by multiple throughout the day. But if you’re a coffee drinker who makes multiple stops at the local café, you’re spending money, time and calories you could easily be saving. Even though you can avoid extra cream and sugar by telling your barista you want your coffee black, the base of their coffee could be a sugary recipe. By making your own coffee throughout the day, you can avoid the stress of waiting in line at the shop, spending your extra dollars and wondering what exactly is in your brew.

“Ask for dressings and sauces on the side while you’re out.”

Eat smart while you’re out
Sometimes, the only convenient time for you and your friends to hang out is over dinner. And while you really want to see them, your diet is telling you to go home and eat the healthy meal you prepped early in the week. Nobody wants to be the person who says they can’t go out to eat because of a restricted diet, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Dining out doesn’t mean you have to go against your improved eating habits, just opt for healthier choices. Stay away from fried options and ask for dressings and sauces on the side. It doesn’t hurt to ask the waiter for the calorie count or nutritional information either, so consider it.

Always choose water
Between soda, sweetened teas, lemonades and juices, the amount of high fructose corn syrup and empty calories really add up. While it might seem like the most convenient choice to grab these beverages while you’re out and about, your body won’t appreciate it. Make water your go-to drink wherever you’re headed – it’s great for hydration, has zero calories and it costs you nothing if you carry around a reusable bottle that you can fill up at a fountain. If you’re not a fan of the plain taste, just add lemon juice – not only will it add flavor to your water, but it packs a nutritional punch, as lemons are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.