I have been quietly working away at a long held goal. Since July, I have worked hard to lose 35 pounds. I have a ways to go still, but I feel really good about my progress so far.
Today I thought I would share how I manage to eat healthy while on the run – all while saving money. As I have mentioned before, we have four kids, three of whom are still in school (read: many activities) and none of those 3 can drive yet. Therefore, I am on the run. Nearly constantly. But eating out gets expensive fast, so I have a set of go-to snacks that I can prepare myself or buy in bulk.
When I started my weight loss journey I told myself that there would be no excuses – only challenges to figure out how to work around. And eating healthy on the run can definitely be a challenge.
- KIND bars. I am a big fan of KIND bars. My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants. Although it does have 14g of sugar (keep reading for one that has less), it is so tasty that it feels like a real treat. The 180 calories (4g of protein and 2.5g of fiber) make it a perfect hold over when I have an hour or two before I can make something more filling. KIND’s Nuts & Spices bars have 5g of sugar or less; Madagascar Vanilla Almond is my favorite (5g of fiber and 7g of protein give it even more staying power). I buy the Nuts & Spices bars in bulk at Costco.
- Nuts. In my case, specifically cashews. These are easy to pack into a baggie, hold up well in my purse and stay fresh for a few days without any problems. They are not cheap, but a little goes a long way (about 1/4 a cup is all you need) and the protein gets me through a couple of hours when it is close to dinner or when I am hungry before bed. I buy mine in bulk from Costco.
- Kirkland Cashew Crunch. Another Costco fave! A serving of 150 calories is 5 pieces. The mix is 50% cashews, so it is high in protein and gives a satisfying crunch. The bit of sweetness is perfect for the 3:00-I-want-something-to-snack-on fix. These don’t stay as fresh in a baggie in my purse, so I store them in a container at home and just pack 5 right before I head out, when I know I want to have them for a snack.
- Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry. These delicious little treats immediately solve my chocolate cravings. A whole serving is relatively high in fat, so I usually eat half a serving (8 pieces) for a quick, decent treat. They pack really well in my purse (just in a snack sized baggie), so I usually have some in there at all times. Again, Costco has the best price on these.
- Fruit. This is not something I would leave in my purse all the time, but fruit is pretty portable. An apple or banana (or pear!) is easy to toss in your bag as you head out the door. Stick with something in season for the best taste and prices.
- Veggies. A couple of times a week I take about 30 minutes to wash and chop carrots, cucumbers, peppers and celery. I toss a good selection into a bag and have a great snack that will tide me over for very few calories. If I want something more filling, I will add a small container of hummus for dipping. These sorts of veggies are very reasonably priced, too!
- Wrap. You cannot beat the portability of a wrap! I like to use Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Tortillas because they pack a whopping 26g of fiber per tortilla! They are nice and large, so I can fit in some grilled chicken and sliced carrots, cucumbers, spinach and a little dressing. Maybe even some shredded cheese if I want a tasty treat. I wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and have an easy, healthy lunch on the go. (I grill a bunch of chicken at once and have some in the refrigerator or freezer to add protein in a pinch. Hard boiled eggs work well for this, too.)
- Water. Many times I find I am less hungry if I keep up with my water intake. I always have a water bottle when I run anywhere, and I either have a plan to refill it or pack more in a cooler so I don’t run out. I hate buying water on the run – it can really add up.
Part of my eating plan is to really limit added sugar, so I pretty much avoid any added sugar all day long, so I let myself have a reasonable amount in certain snacks (like the KIND bars or the Dark Chocolate Acai). To keep it in check, I mix up the snacks all the time, so I am not eating the same thing every day for days in a row.
As you can see, just because I am working to live a healthy lifestyle does not mean I am suffering when it comes to delicious food! And just a little bit of planning makes all the difference in me being able to stick to my plan and reach my goals; AND keep the costs down.