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Monday, November 1, 2010

Eating Smart: What to eat on the go.

One of the most difficult parts of eating healthy is finding food that can be eaten on the go that's still healthful and not chock full of bad chemicals, bad sugars, bad fats, and refined ingredients. Many foods that tout themselves as healthy absolutely aren't, and even fast food restaurants that offer "healthy" options (here's lookin' at you, Subway) often offer food choices that are chock full of preservatives.

You can't really trust the labels that fast-food restaurants assign themselves, but finding high-quality, delicious food on-the-go is a real pain in the neck...especially without the convenience of stores like Whole Foods. So where do you turn when you simply don't have time to prepare your own food, or when you are stuck somewhere far from home with little time and a growling belly?
First things first; fast food should absolutely be a last resort. If you have to eat fast food, try to limit your intake of meat (which is usually sub-par and full of hormones) and stick to salads or other raw foods options. Avoiding fried foods is a large part of the anti-anxiety lifestyle, so pass on the fries. Soda is really terrible for you, so stick with tea or water. If you do eat something unhealthy for lunch, don't fret! It's not going to ruin you. Just make sure to have healthy meals the rest of the day and make sure that you balance your calories. At the end of the day, its more important to balance your blood sugar than to stringently avoid unhealthy foods.

Despite all of this, I've found the most practical way to avoid fast food is to make sure I always have something on hand. Clif and Luna bars have been a godsend for this reason...I can throw one in my purse in the morning and not worry about refrigeration or spoiling. If you have to run out quickly in the morning, a meal bar like that can be combined with a piece of fruit and a cup of Greek yogurt for a quick, satisfying breakfast on the go. Make sure that the bars that you eat are made of high quality, whole ingredients and not chock-full of sugar.

If you will have access to a refrigerator (at work or school, perhaps) then it's always good to have some vegetables on hand. Slice broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green peppers, and carrots and keep them in individual portions for easy grab-and-go snacks. Some whole grain crackers and all natural cheese slices make a great snack as well, or slices of apple and natural peanut butter. You can also buy thermal lunchbags and an icepack to preserve food without the use of a fridge, and bring back your schooldays memories.

If you know you will be in a mad hurry in the morning, then cook ahead and use containers to keep single-portions of food that are easily grabbed on the way out the door. A little creativity goes a long way in having healthful, delicious food on hand! And when you don't have to worry about the healthiest item on the fast-food menu, it's definitely worth it.

The Calm Cook

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