All of us will feel the need to eat on the go at some point - and most of us do it regularly. A research study in 2015 found that people who eat on the go often are more likely to gain weight over time. This is mainly because it can have an enormous impact on your health and fitness regime, without you even noticing it.
Worry no more, luckily for us busy bees the food industry and restaurants are catching up, so it’s becoming easier to eat out and still stay in control of our calories. If you want to eat healthy on the go, there are a few things you should be aware of, and we’re going to take a look at 4 key secrets to help you save time and prevent putting on unwanted weight – or with a little more control you can even be on a weight loss journey and still allow a few meals out.
1. Look before you leap - and lunch
How often do you check labels for ingredients of the foods you eat when on the move? And, in fact, how often do you do it with your grocery shopping? The truth is that many the staples of the British diet - bread, pasta, dressings, mayonnaise - are all packed with either lots of sugar, salt, unhealthy fat and much more besides.
So, if you really want to start making a difference when eating on the go, start checking labels. You will be surprised at how much junk is in standard food products, and it’s easy to think you are eating super healthily, even when you’re not. Always search for products with low sugar, low saturated fat, low salt, and higher protein content if you want to consume nutritious food that will support your lifestyle and workout schedule.
2. Get to know your local deli
A lot of people are under the misconception that the deli is a healthier place to grab a bite than the supermarket or sandwich shop. It’s easy to see why - the lure of fresh, organic, locally produced food is a strong one, for sure, but it doesn’t make those products healthy. Ask the staff members about the source of the foods - where are they from, and how were they made?
Processed meat - all those hams and salamis you see in the deli fridge - might look tasty and full of protein, but they can also be high in sodium and other ingredients such as unhealthy fats. Even the soups on sale at a deli can be packed full of salt and sugar. Yes, there are definitely foods that are healthy for you to grab at lunchtime, but you won’t know if you don't ask. So, always get to know the counter staff, and ask questions about the origin and ingredients of any food you buy.
3. The DIY snack alternative
Of course, checking food labels and asking questions of delis is a time-consuming process, and if you are only looking for a snack, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball. The only way of guaranteeing your ‘on-the-go’ food is totally healthy is to make it yourself, so start prepping snack boxes.
Cutting up fruit and veg is an obvious starting point, but you can also get a little creative in the kitchen. Make your own egg muffins instead of stopping off at the local fast food restaurant for your elevenses. Use almond butter on chopped fruit instead of buying a chocolate bar, and cut out all sugary snacks - not only will you keep your weight in good shape, but you’ll also have more energy later in the day.
4. Lunch options
Going to the supermarket might not be as unhealthy as you think. Take a look at your local supermarket meal deals, and you will see there are plenty options. The major chains are cottoning on to the fact that people want a healthy option and not everyone wants bacon, sausage, and ketchup-filled sandwiches. Look at the labels and only choose ones that are colour-coded with as much green as possible - avoid the all red ones completely.
Also, choose salads wherever possible, although you should avoid the ones containing pasta, and leave the little packet of dressing unopened. As for your accompaniments for your meal deal, be sensible. When you are hungry and in a rush, a packet of crisps might seem like a filling option, but the fat and salt in them makes them incredibly unhealthy. Grab the cut-up vegetable option instead, and go for fruit as a pudding rather than a chocolate bar or sugary snack. Finally, watch out for any flavoured drink. Even the ones that look healthy are full of sugar and can destroy your gains from eating a healthy lunch in a few quick gulps.
OK, so hopefully these tips can help you form healthier eating habits when eating on the go is necessary. The key takeaways are:
If you are struggling with nutrition or weight loss, get in touch today, and we can discuss how you can start hitting your personal fitness goals.
Owner and creator of One Small Step, Joe has been in the health and fitness industry for 8 years and takes an all-round approach to his coaching.