Your Menu for Healthy Eating on the Go
Even instant rice takes five minutes to cook. If possible, push aside the considerable absurdity of that fact and think of it instead as a commentary on the time it takes to cook for yourself. That temporal investment is one of the few cons of making your meals. But if healthy eating on the go is your goal, you may have to toss out the more time-consuming components of cooking.
After all, busy schedules don’t pair well with building layers of flavor over hours of work on a succulent braise. That’s sad for your tastebuds and, possibly, your overall health.
Cooking really is great if you have time. You control the ingredients, level of salt, and tend to produce healthier fare. Not to mention all the other mental, emotional, and financial benefits you cook up by being your own chef.
But slowly steaming yourself for hours over a hot, humid array of pots and pans isn’t the only way to eat healthy. You can still enjoy meals that are easy, quick, and good for you. It just might mean holstering your wooden spoon and spatula in favor of foods you don’t need to cook. The good news is that tasty and healthful options abound.
Browse the menu laid out below to help you pick healthy on-the-go food options. Any one of them is a massive improvement over a trip to the vending machine, drive thru, or spin around your favorite delivery app.
On the Run: Grab-and-Go Healthy Meals and Snacks
Somedays, you’re in such a hurry that you’re basically a cartoon tornado. You’d be lucky to make it out of the house with two of the same shoes on, let alone any healthy on-the-go food. During these most hectic times, you can still take a few minutes (and that’s all it will take, promise) to grab a snack or nutritious meal replacement.
Here are your best options to snag as your whirlwind morning or afternoon slings you out into the world:
- A high-quality shake with plenty of nutrients and designed for sustained energy
- One or two snack bars for the day—ideally, packed with whole-food ingredients, a good source of fiber, and appropriate for your dietary goals
- A protein-packed cheese stick
- Whole fruits (apples, oranges, and bananas are very portable) or even single-serving applesauce or other no-sugar-added fruit cups
- A bag of on-the-go veggies, like baby carrots, celery sticks, mini sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, or radishes
Healthy Eats Thrown Together Quickly
There are times you aren’t literally sprinting out of the house. It might not feel like it, but you actually do have time—especially if you cut out a few minutes of early morning doomscrolling on social media—to toss a few ingredients together.
A few of your quick, healthy meal options are as follows:
- Celery sticks and your favorite nutritious nut butter
- Carrots (baby or stick style) and hummus
- A handful of nuts and fresh berries
- Single-serve popcorn
- Greek yogurt and a fresh fruit of your choice
Full Meals Done as Fast as Possible
Having a bunch of easy snacks to make is essential to eating healthy on the go. But sometimes your day requires more of a traditional meal to fuel the madness. You don’t need a five-course tasting menu, though.
Quick and easy healthy meal options can include:
- Veggie or salad wraps
- Pre-made or easily stirred up salads (go with the bagged kit and replace the dressing with oil and vinegar if the included option is too packed with sugar, fat, or calories)
- Stuffing a sandwich with fresh veggies and some lean, low-sodium meat (if you want)
- Skipping the bread and just roll up sliced tomatoes, peppers, or avocados in low-sodium lunch meat
- Piling sliced or chopped veggies and canned beans into a bowl
- Avocado toast or other enhancements to toasted bread (nut butter and pomegranate seeds, for one)
A Little Prep Pays Off for Healthy Eating on the Go
It may seem like cheating to count meal prep done by your past self. But that weekend or less-busy version of you could do present, in-a-rush you some favors. To pull this off, you’ll need to do a little bit of planning and commit to working ahead on healthy meals you just need to mix up, mash together, or microwave.
You can boil eggs, bake proteins, prepare produce, and make more than you can eat at your non-rushed meals to guarantee leftovers for the next day. Maybe you only want to—or have time to—cook once a week. Use that time to make batches of soup, grain bowls, or other easy, healthy meals.
Create a future that’s little less frantic food-wise and make healthy eating on the go possible with a little bit of prep work. Whether it’s more planning or a better understanding of healthy on-the-go food, you have the tools to eat smart without spending too much time sweating over the stove.