Published on September 07, 2016

Healthy food is fast food

5 on-the-go foods that are also good for you!

Time is often a barrier for those looking to improve their lifestyle choices. It does sometimes take a little extra effort to prepare meals and snacks for yourself or your family and, although the effort is worth it, making the time can be difficult.

However, there are many "fast foods" that are also quite nutritious. Next time you're reaching for that bag of chips or sleeve of cookies, consider grabbing one of these items instead:

  1. Fruit. Think about it – fruits come in their own natural "wrapper" and many take no more preparation to grab on your way out the door than a bag of crackers. Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, pears, etc., make great grab-and-go snacks.
  2. Yogurt. As long as you eat it within a few hours of leaving the fridge, yogurt is an easy item to grab on your way out the door, either as part of breakfast or as a snack. It also offers a good balance of carbohydrates and protein.
  3. Nuts, nut butters and seeds. Many vending machines offer these alternatives to chips and crackers. Not only do they contain healthy fats and fiber to keep you full, they can also be a great source of protein.
  4. String cheese. Another protein-packed, ready-to-go snack item that will pair well with your piece of fruit.
  5. Popcorn. Especially if you can air-pop it yourself ahead of time or pick a un- or lightly-salted and buttered version, popcorn can be a fiber-filled snack perfect for munching.

There are many other nutritious snack options out there that might require a just a little extra prep to be "grab-and-go." Try cutting up veggies and portioning them in containers with hummus or other dipping sauce, making your own granola, granola bars or energy bites (with rolled oats and plenty of nuts and seeds), or prepping fruits such as pineapple, pomegranate, melon or grapes that need a little extra attention prior to consumption.

As a general rule, try to pair a complex carbohydrate with a lean protein at snack time. These options will help keep you full and get you to your next meal without crashing. Any food can become a "fast food" with a little extra (worthwhile) effort!

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Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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