Eating On The Go

December 30, 2014

I’ve had several requests for a post on how to eat well on when you’re on the go, on days when there is no time to cook or prepare food in advance. Many clients have rather stressful lives. Knowing how to combine foods so you’re getting a balanced meal can be helpful in staying on the diet and feeling good throughout the day. Most people make better food choices when the right foods are available. Being on the go usually means a choice between eating something junky or nothing at all. While I encourage clients to plan ahead and cook meals as much as possible it’s perfectly understandable that some days just don’t let you do that.

The table below shows a list of foods that require no cooking or preparation except for the potatoes/yams. To have a balanced meal keep in mind the importance and benefits of eating fat, protein and carbs together at the same time. In short, nutrients are better absorbed when combined with protein and fat. The glycemic spike that comes from carbs is substantially reduced when combined with protein and fat. We are most easily satisfied when a meal includes all three of these macronutrients; protein, fats and carbs. Protein is particularly satiating. The table shows which foods are high in each of the macronutrient areas so you can see which food from each macronutrient group to combine.

 ProteinFat Carbohydrate
Eggs, hard-boiledHighModerateNo
Salmon, tuna, or sardines (canned)HighLowNo
Jerky, any kindHighLowNo
Almond ButterModerateModerateHigh
Macadamia or Pistachio NutsLowHighLow
Potatoes, Yams*NoNoHigh
Banana, apple, orange, or other durable fruitNoNoHigh

Here are several examples of meals you can put together with the foods listed above.

  • Combine canned tuna or salmon with avocado. The creaminess of the avocado is a replacement for mayonnaise. Add 1/2 or full banana or berries for your carb. Include a carrot for more fiber and vitamin A.
  • Hard-boiled eggs, macadamia or pistachio nuts and a potato or yam. (The potato/yam will either have to be baked/boiled ahead of time or microwaved for 5 minutes wrapped in a moist paper towel.)
  • Jerky, avocado, berries or banana with carrot
  • Almond butter with a celery stick along with an animal protein like egg, jerky or a can of fish.

I added berries separately because they may not be durable enough depending on what you’re doing. Interchange these foods as you desire. Just be sure that you’re including one food high in protein,  one high in fat and one made mostly of carbohydrates.

If you’ll be in a car think through everything you’ll need. For example, if you’re bringing a can of tuna you’ll need a can opener and possibly a garbage bag for the empty can as well as a container and fork to combine the tuna with avocado. If you’re going on an airplane, eggs and jerky might be better than a can of fish unless it’s the type of can you can open by hand. If your day takes you through warm temperatures then celery, berries and some types of fruit may not work. The more you try to bring your own portable food the better you will get at combining foods that will work for you.

This is not an all-inclusive list. I encourage you to experiment with other foods. Just keep in mind the protein, fat, carbs combining principle.