The hours we keep can be a downfall to staying nutritionally on track. One of the fastest ways to get derailed is skipping meals and getting overly hungry from the long hours we spend at work.
We've all been there. Too much time passed and now you're ready to eat anything that comes your way. However, missing meals during the day can lead to destructive eating behaviors in the evening.
Fast food restaurants may become a regularity after work because you're too hungry to cook a meal. Even if you make it home you find yourself eating poor food choices, and possibly more than you would usually eat.
However, minimize this eating habit by keeping a cooler in your car. This is not the same lunch bag you use during the day. It's a separate, smaller cooler specifically for your car, to be refilled frequently with non-perishable foods.
Why non-perishable? Although fruits, veggies, yogurts and meats are convenient and healthy snacks, if you leave your cooler in the car on a hot day these foods will rot. You certainly won't be able to eat it, and it will make your car smell horrible--written from experience. Instead, opt for foods to satisfy your hunger long enough to get a healthy meal option.
Water, an essential nutrient, and can stave off hunger for a short period of time if needed. Carry several bottles of water in your car cooler for hunger, or dehydration.
You'll also use it to mix protein powder; which is in your car cooler also.
Carry a snack bag, or two, with protein powder in it. Each bag should contain one serving size of protein. This is anywhere between one scoop and three depending on the type of powder you use.
Then, stuff the baggies into the shaker bottle. There are many types of shaker bottles to buy, but you can also use coffee mugs with a snap lid. 7-Eleven carries them for $1.99 and they make great shaker cups.
There are also shaker cups with separations so that you can carry an extra serving of protein. Many of these shaker bottles are longer, and may take up too much space in your car cooler.
Protein bars and snack bars
Although you don't want bars to replace all your meals; some food is better than no food. Keep several protein, or snack bars in your car cooler for moments when stuck in traffic, or when you need a quick pick-me-up driving through town.
Remember, I'm not talking bout a Snickers bar. Though I love them; it's not what I mean.
Dried fruit has high sugar content, but a single serving won't kill you. It's a good replacement to nip your sweet tooth.
Place single servings into snack bags, or purchase single serving pre-packaged bags to keep in your car cooler.
Seeds and nuts
Big benefits come from seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats, and a substantial amount of protein as well as make you feel full. A serving of these with water will get you to your next meal.
I have a bag of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, as well as roasted soy nuts in my cooler. Peanuts and almonds do not sit well with my stomach, but if nuts don't bother you, keep a nut butter in your cooler, too.
Take along nut butters, but don't forget a utensil
Nut butters travel well, and make a healthy snack. It is high in fat and protein, but offers a different consistency to the "whole" nut. It can be eaten alone or paired with a serving of pretzels, or with a protein drink.
Don't forget the utensils though, or you'll look like a Neanderthal eating with your fingers.
Pretzels are easy to carry, and offer few calories when eating in single serving sizes. For example, Classic Pretzel Crisps are baked, and extremely crunchy for a real "snacky" feel. The serving size is 11 crackers with 110 calories. Combine these with one tablespoon of peanut butter (1/2 the serving size) and you have a 210 calorie snack.
What's your favorite hold you over snack?
Everyone has their own ideas on healthy snack foods. If you have one that will last a few days or even a week in your car; throw it in. However, if you're allergic to it; don't eat it. Also, this is to help you get from point A-to-B without stalling out, and not meant to replace your regular meals.
Copyright ©2011 CPT Lisa M. White. All rights reserved.