5 Tips for Healthy Eating on the Run

Posted June 10, 2014 by Marie Arcidiacono in Life After Five
If you’re anything like me you understand the need to eat on the run. You also probably feel the temptation to reach for something easy and quick, which unfortunately may end up being unhealthy. Seriously, why is healthy food not cheaper and quicker to assemble?! First World Problem, Check! Where are my healthy food options that are actually truly healthy at the drive-thru? Don’t even try to convince me that a fast food salad is “healthy”, double check that sodium and calorie count….ugh!! Side note: Let’s all take a minute to collectively realize that ALL salads are NOT healthy, I’m looking at you, Chicken Caesar Salad!

Admittedly, I do a pretty good job eating healthy on the run but that’s only because I’ve taken time to actually try and plan out my choices. If I’m being really honest, it’s also taken me a very long time to get “better” at eating healthy. Part of this process involves some of what I call my, “few hard and fast rules” when it comes to eating better.

People ask me often how I manage to eat “healthy” while I’m out on the road traveling with my debate team or flying to and from conferences so I thought I would share*:

  1. No Fast Food: I am proud to say that I’ve been fast food free since October 2007(Full Disclosure: The ONE exception to this is In-n-out and even that is only maybe once every couple months and in my mind, it’s the best alternative). Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King are on my, “Will Not Eat List,” because they just aren’t good for my body. Honestly, I’m sure some of my friends think I’m a total diva when I refuse to “Just this once” crack and eat fast food with them late at night or on a road trip, No thank you, I’ll wait until we get to a grocery store. Sorry, not sorry.
  2. No Vending Machine Food: I won’t eat anything that comes out of a vending machine (as a meal that is, maybe occasionally I will grab a bag of pretzels). This has helped a ton in eating healthier on the run, but it also makes it slightly challenging. Let’s face it, you’re not getting a healthy meal out of the vending machine and you’re probably going to be dissatisfied with the “food” and end up eating again later. Just say, “No,” to the Hot Pocket and Cup of Ramen, not healthy or filling.
  3. Love Grocery Stores: I love, love, love going to the grocery store—is that weird or what? Grocery stores are abundant (unless you are driving on a remote road in the middle of nowhere, see #4) and they have, wait for it, healthy options in abundance! A quick stop into the grocery store can take just as short amount of time as running into a fast food chain and you’ll actually get food that is good for you! Quick tip: Shop on the perimeters—that’s where the fresher food is usually housed.
  4. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks: Yes, I’m “that girl” who brings food from home with them places. I almost always have some type of protein bar/granola bar in my bag because I know that I can reach for it when I’m hungry and unable to find that glorious grocery store quickly. Sometimes I pack a bag of almonds, or carrots or grapes to take with me. Not having to cave and get fast food because I am “hangry” is easily accomplished with a quick reach into my bag for a pre-packed snack!
  5. Meal Prep: I (sort of) meal prep. Now this is one that I am trying to do more of simply because it has the ability to save me time and money in the end (and who doesn’t love saving money). So often we are tempted to get something unhealthy because it’s quick and easy and we don’t want to take the time to prepare something healthy, hello 8:45pm on a work night when you just got home. Meal prepping helps with that. Yes, it’s going to require some time on a Sunday but it’s SO nice to be able to reach into the fridge and grab a pre-packed meal and pop it into the oven or onto the stove. It also helps you stick to eating healthy at work because you can bring a pre-packed meal with you and avoid that, “It’s lunch and I only have 45 minutes what should I eat” problem.

Obviously I’m not perfect at eating healthy and I’m not a registered dietician so you can take my hard and fast rules with a grain of salt. I just know that as a working woman on the run that it’s tough to eat healthy and that any little tip helps me!

It’s a jungle of unhealthy food options out there, good luck!

Share with me: How do you eat healthy on the run?

*Disclaimer: You should ALWAYS talk to your regular physician before starting any new eating routine. The author of this post is NOT a physician/nutritionist/dietician. This is what works for the author’s body, and all our bodies are different, so please consult your physician to obtain a nutrition plan that works for your body.

About the Author

Marie Arcidiacono

Marie is a Speech Communication professor who also coaches a debate team. She truly loves what she does and hopes to continue to teach for decades to come. In her "free time" she is an avid runner. Marie enjoys running a variety of distances, including the Half Marathon. She is dedicated to living as healthy a lifestyle as she can while balancing a very busy schedule. Marie loves to network and share ideas so writing for Career Girl Network is perfect for her. You can also read about her adventures on Why Not Girl!.