We all know when we walk into a gas station that we are treading on dangerous
ground. It’s like our eyes and noses are assaulted by the sights
and smells of candy, doughnuts, sweet drinks, hot dogs, melted “cheese”
and chips. You try to slap some sense into yourself, but it’s too
late. Your stomach is convinced that it NEEDS that chocolate cream pie
and an iced coffee drink to go.
These treats are hard enough to avoid when you are traveling for fun, but
what if traveling is a part of your day, for 40 hours each week? The temptation
can be hard to resist for shift workers and those who spend their work
week on the road. If you are one of the many in our community who struggles
with quick shop cuisine being a regular part of your diet—read on.
You will find tips to help you eat better on the go!
Prepare and plan ahead. The best part of this step is it will help save you money! Be kind to
your wallet and purchase traveling snacks at the grocery store. The typical
cost of a candy bar can be between .89 up to $1.60 or more at the gas
station. At Walmart, you can purchase a six-count, full size Milky Way
package for $4.27. This small example saves you a buck or more. Just think
if you applied this to all your other on-the-go foods! Better yet, when
traveling, pack a cooler from home with wraps, veggies, fruits and other
healthy options such as nuts instead of the typical gas station fare.
Mentally prepare yourself. If you have to purchase foods at a gas station, plan your attack. Have
your mind made up before you go in about what you will purchase. Go directly
to those items and don’t give in to impulse purchases. You will
save money and useless calories.
Make smart food swaps! If you know what to look for, there are plenty of food options that are
good or even better choices in the gas station. Here are a few of my suggestions:
- To satisfy a need to crunch, try pistachios or almonds. They are full of
omega-three fatty acids and heart healthy. Choose shelled nuts, instead
of unshelled to help you slow down and enjoy the flavor! And, avoid versions
that are sweetened or have extra salt.
- Need protein? Jerky is a good answer. It’s packed with protein and
is generally low in calories. The protein will also satisfy your hunger,
but beware of the sodium as some brands of jerky contain a lot!
- Is sugar calling your name? Opt for fruit instead of a candy bar. Fresh
fruit such as bananas are usually available in your local convenience
store and are a better choice than candy because of the fiber content.
The fiber slows the body’s reaction to sugar helping prevent a sugar
- If you are craving something creamy, try a Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is
superior to regular yogurt because it has less sugar, more protein and
generally is lower in fat.
- Want chips and dip? Try humus! Individual serving size containers are often
found in convenience stores and are loaded with fiber and delicious. Often
they come with pretzels, which could be swapped for veggies like carrots,
celery or peppers. All of those offer the crunch of a chip and with the
humus helps satisfy the need for something zesty.
- If a bar is what you need, try a Quest bar or another protein bar, instead
of candy. When you are shopping for a protein bar, read the label and
look for one with a higher protein content, without a lot of sugary calories.
It is often difficult to tell the difference between an energy bar and
a protein bar, although both serve a purpose.
For more healthy eating tips while on the go, I recommend checking out
these helpful articles:
Campbell County Health
Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee
groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. At Wellness,
you can receive
daily community blood draws, lab tests, and health and wellness screenings in Gillette, Wyoming. To
learn more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde, PBT, CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services
Technician and Phlebotomist