Food Choices on the Run

Planning, shopping and preparing food at home is the recommendation for most of the foods we eat, so we know what goes into our meals and snacks and it is usually more affordable. But sometimes life gets busy, and we need to quickly pick something up to eat while we are out. What we choose when eating out can make a difference in how we feel and how we function.

Here are some tips for food choices on the run:

•    Vegetables and fruit can sometimes be hard to find when choosing convenience foods. Look for pre-cut fruit or veggie cups, salads, or a smoothie with no added sugar. 

•    Protein foods are great to include when eating out to help us feel satisfied and give our body what it needs to function well. Look for hardboiled eggs, yogurt cups, hummus and crackers, individual cheese portions (or unsalted nuts and seeds for those over 4 years old to limit choking risk). Limit processed deli meats and opt instead for plant-based options or cooked/canned fish or poultry in sandwiches.

•    Whole grain foods provide fibre which helps digestion and keeps us feeling full longer. Choose wholegrain bread, buns or wraps when available. Oatmeal cups are another easy option.

•   Make water your drink of choice. Carrying a water bottle with you can help you meet your thirst while on the run. Milk or fortified soy beverage are nourishing drinks. Plain milk or plain fortified plant-based beverage is recommended over sweetened versions. It’s best to avoid sugary drinks, including 100% fruit juice. If 100% fruit juice is given, limit to no more than 125 mL (½ cup) a day in an open cup and only as a part of a meal or snack. Do not give children energy drinks.  

•    Seek ingredient and nutrition information. Many eating establishments selling convenience foods can provide ingredient and nutrition information on request if it’s not labeled on the product itself. Look for items that list whole grains rather than sugar in the first few ingredients and choose items with little added sodium (salt), sugar or saturated fat.

For more ideas and resources:

HealthLink BC has many great resources for eating on the run: Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out