Many of you will be hitting the road this holiday season, which will probably mean eating on the go. You might even find yourself needing to grab a bite at a gas station convenience store. While that doesn’t sound like the ideal place, there are better options there than you may think. (You just have to keep walking past the hot dogs, cookies, donuts, and the super snazzy soda fountain! Yep, keep walking!)
Most larger gas stations now have a wide variety of healthier options available. Fruit, veggies, hard-boiled eggs, salads … I stopped in to the U-Gas on Hampton this week to see exactly what they had!
Now, keep in mind that we’re trying to make some better choices here — not perfect. And I found quite a few things I’d consider pretty good choices — and, honestly, better than most fast-food options.
Like I’ve mentioned before with nutrition, the key is to look for protein + veggies.
And, if you’re stopping in to a gas station, then you might need to put a few things together to make a meal. If you can, take the time to look at the ingredients. If you don’t have the time, then just focus on selecting the best protein you can and add some fruit/veggies.
These portable protein packs contain 12 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat. I’d add a hard-boiled egg and some veggies to make a complete meal.
Most convenience stores do have pre-packaged fruit & veggies. Grab a cup, add 2 hard boiled eggs or a protein pack, maybe even some almonds, and you’re good to go!
Salads are also an awesome option (if you aren’t driving!). Just go light on the dressing if you truly want to keep it a healthy choice. (Pro tip: I like to dip my fork in the dressing instead of dumping it onto my salad. However, that may not be doable on the road!)
The gas station I visited had lots of sandwiches and wraps. Normally, I would say wraps are a great choice, but the particular wraps I found here had a ton more questionable ingredients than the sandwiches. I think it was mostly due to the fact that there was not a whole-grain wrap option (at least when I was in). Just take a look at the ingredients — and opt for whole grain when you can.
Pumpkin seeds are also a great option and pack about 10 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat to keep you full. Now, these particular ones contain quite a bit of sodium, so watch your portion size or look for some with less salt added. (You could also toss some of these onto your salad.)
Whole almonds are a great source of fat, if you can add some protein somehow. Add some hard-boiled eggs or jerky (this kind has just a few ingredients and a good amount of protein — again, just pay attention to your sodium intake) and veggies, and you’re set.
I did take a look at the protein bars available, and honestly, I’d just stick with the foods above. It’s a daunting task to read the protein bars’ labels sometimes, because there are so many ingredients. And if you’re trying one for the first time, it could potentially upset your stomach — which will ruin your travels! If you want a protein bar, I would buy one you’re familiar with or just pack your own if you have time.
Now, maybe you just want a snack for the rest of the drive. I’d say a bag of Skinny Pop is one of your better crunchy options. (And it’s pretty tasty! Coach Missy loves Skinny Pop!) They also sold Kind Bars, which are a delicious sweet treat (with familiar ingredients and some protein, too).
And don’t forget to grab a water before you get back on the road!