Quick! You’re out running errands and you realize that you’re starving. You’ve forgotten to pack a snack with you and you can’t wait until you get home. What do you do? Wave your arms in the air and spin in circles? Suck it up and deal with hangriness (intense anger caused by starvation = hanger)?
No, you thank your lucky stars that you read this post and you know just the thing to do. Just kidding… sorta. When you are out and looking for something quick to grab, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is the best choice. Or at least the better of the not so great choices depending on your options.
Most people will stop at a gas station and get a diet soda and a bag of baked chips, or maybe a small veggie sub at a sandwich shop, thinking it’s a good low calorie meal. These aren’t necessarily bad choices but you can do better even in a pinch. Both choices are really carb heavy and lacking in protein.
Carbs aren’t the enemy but a better choice would be a mix of carbs, fats and proteins to keep you full longer until you can get home to prepare a meal. If you choose something that is mainly carbs while you’re hungry, your body will digest it quickly for energy and you’ll find yourself hungry again soon. If you add in protein and a little bit of fat, it will take longer to digest and keep you full longer.
Full longer equals a happy smile and time to finish the errands you had in progress. For a snack, it’s good to aim for 250 – 350 calories or so. Here are some options on what you can look for while out:
- Subway – 6 inch turkey or roast beef sub. Get all the veggies you want and make it open faced by eating half the bun. Try mustard or a little bit of BBQ sauce instead of mayo or other sauces. A small spread of mayo won’t kill you. Just don’t let them squeeze the bottle for dear life as they put it on!
- McDonalds – Grilled chicken sandwich, no bun, no sauce and a side salad (or even two!) with a drizzle of dressing. Secret tip – They have little baggies of roasted peanuts used for their sundaes. Ask and they’ll usually give you one for free.
- Wendy’s – Ultimate chicken grill sandwich, no bun, no sauce and a Caesar side salad with a drizzle of dressing. The sandwich has lettuce and tomatoes already on it for extra veggies.
- Burger King – They have a grilled chicken and side salad that fits with a mix of protein, fats, and carbs. I’ve tried it a couple times and I just have trouble with the weird tendergrill chicken pieces that come in a steamable baggie and mystery liquid. I’ll eat it if I have to but it tastes weird in my opinion. Steamy, sweaty chicken yuck.
- Gas Station – Small plain fat free yogurt, apple or banana, 1 oz plain almonds or peanuts. Watch out for flavored yogurts. Many have as much sugar as drinking soda or artificial sweeteners. Some gas stations now have hard boiled eggs. You can opt for an egg instead of the yogurt too.
- Deli – Small turkey sandwich with veggies and mustard. Try it open faced to cut some calories. You may have to take off some meat if the deli piles it high. You want to aim for a 3 – 4 oz serving which is about the size of your palm.
- Grocery Store – Plain non-fat greek yogurt, piece of fruit, and a handful of nuts from the bulk section. OR Pouch of tuna, bag of baby carrots, and a hummus or peanut butter. Lots of grocery stores have a salad bar to load up with veggies and grilled chicken. Just watch out for dressings and salads loaded with oil and mayo.
- Pizza Place – This one is a bit more challenging so hopefully you’ve got at least one or more of the options above within easy drive. If you are in the middle of nowhere and faced with only a pizza restaurant see if they have a slice of thin crust veggie pizza or thin crust veggie pizza with grilled chicken. No stuffed crust or deep dish! NO!
Thankfully it’s pretty easy to get something on the run now. You don’t have to opt for the burger and fries or a slice of deep dish. There are plenty of choices if you know what to look for. And of course now you do, right?