Monday, April 14, 2014

Staying On Track While You Are On The Fly!

The alarm goes off before the sun, feet hit the floor and go until we collapse into bed at night. Many of our meals get eaten absentmindedly, while checking emails or behind the steering wheel. Guilty, guilty, guilty of this, almost on a daily basis. So how is a trying-to-stay-healthy-gal supposed to survive this may-I-take-your-order culture? Planning, re-routing and packing.
For years, the kids’ activities have kept us on the go. In effort to stay on budget, we have become accustomed to packing coolers for the day. Occasionally, we have to get things while we are out, so it is important to know what could be good options on the go. I will try to offer some options for you!

If I had only 10 minutes to go grab some food for the family, rather than drive-thru, think about what you can grab at the grocery store.

First, hit the produce section. Having a water bottle on hand can serve as an emergency produce wash.
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Precut pineapple and melons
  • Plums/nectarines/peaches
  • Berries
  • Washed and de-stemmed green beans or sugar snap peas
  • Carrots
  • Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)
  • Celery
  • Pouchables (Pureed fruits and vegetables are a good option in a pinch, but are ingested quickly, and you may not realize you are full and continue to eat unnecessarily)

In the produce section, many carry mixed nuts in bulk containers. Look for ones that are not roasted in oil, sweetened or coated. For my family, I buy the big bags of roasted peanuts in the shell. Nuts in the shell are great for portion control, because the shells show you how many you are eating. Plus, you cannot just throw the nuts in your mouth by the handfuls!
Dried fruit and/or trail mixes are not likely to be your best choice unless you are very careful to select the type that has not been sweetened. Raisins are good, most dates are good, and apricots. Most other dried fruits are coated with dextrose or some other type of sugar. Trail mix was designed to offer a significant amount of energy for those back-packing/trail-trekking folks. If you are not doing that sort of activity, chances are you will just be storing all that extra energy, aka: putting on the pounds. Granola is the same sort of a beast. To make it tasty, it is sweetened with a variety of additives.

Ok, move on to the deli. There are some grab-and-go items in most deli sections such as:
  • Rotisserie chicken (high in sodium, but a decent option if you are on the go) If needed, see if the associate can cut up the chicken for you.
  • Hummus is great to dip the carrots, raw green beans, peppers and raw sugar snap peas.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Whole wheat pitas, mini or regular size to use for sandwiches or dippers
  • Natural peanut butter (Publix has fresh ground peanut butter in the deli section. To. Die. For.)

Now for the dairy section. I am VERY brand/ingredient selective in the dairy case. So many of the yogurts and cheeses have way too many additives in them, which work against your weight loss process. Many of them include starches and stabilizers to lengthen the shelf life.  
  • String cheese- Look for the ingredients to list milk, cultures, salt. Simple ingredients
  • Greek yogurt- I am going to camp here for a minute. Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, when it is the actual traditional Greek variety. This means that the yogurt has been strained to release additional whey liquid and the consistency of the yogurt is much thicker. This allows for a denser amount of protein per ounce. Read the ingredient label carefully. The best brands will only contain milk, live and active cultures (must say this or it does not contain the needed good bacteria). Many brands will add whey protein powder, potato starch, guar gum or other fillers.  Good brands are Fage, Chobani, and even the Winn Dixie brand is good. For weight loss, it is better to select the plain yogurt and add your own fruit, crushed pineapple, honey, or a tsp of Polaner (unsweetened) All-Fruit spread. Most fruit-flavored yogurts use high fructose corn syrup in addition to sugar. These will work against you in weight loss.
  • Cottage cheese- As stated above, several varieties contain unnecessary fillers. Daisy cottage cheese is a good, clean variety that you can trust.
Lastly, there are some select items in the isles of the store that are good choices:
  • Pickles (the dill variety)
  • Snyder’s pretzel sticks is one of the better brands, containing no high fructose corn syrup, however, they are made with enriched flour (not whole grain), and so these are on my “occasional” list.
  • Barbara's Bakery Fig Bars, Multigrain may not be sold in all stores, but you can find them here. Traditional fig bars consist of a large amount of high fructose corn syrup, but Barbara’s are sweetened with pineapple juice and are made of whole grains.
  • Popcorn kernels for homemade microwave popcorn. (1/4 cup of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold the top down 2 times. I use the popcorn button on my microwave and it comes out perfect every time. Pour the popcorn in a large bowl, spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and dust with sea salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, or parmesan cheese). Allow it to cool completely and put it in an airtight container for on the go.
  • Unsweetened applesauce is good, but READ THE LABEL. Most of them are sweetened.
Keeping fresh foods ready to eat in BPA Free Plastic Containers help to make busy days easier.  Do you have any other great ideas that you use?

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I love!

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