Fast Food Friday: 5 Foods That Are Easier Than Drive-Through

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
strawberry shake

Our lives are lived in motion. We have full-time jobs. We are full-time parents. We are members of the PTA and volunteers in our communities. The weekdays are a whirlwind and weekends far too short. Our lives are more crowded than ever.

Convenience is at the core of the busy American lifestyle. Instant gratification drives our daily decisions. Eating can feel like a chore barely worth our time. And the fast food industry knows it.

The CDC reports Americans consume over 10 percent of their daily calories from fast food and that obese adults are consuming the highest percentage. Frequent fast food consumption has been linked with higher caloric and fat intake. But even more concerning, is the link between fast food and a lower intake of healthy nutrients. Americans are over-fed and under-nourished.

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A busy life doesn’t have to be the death of your healthy lifestyle dreams. Knowing a few on-the-go meal tips can keep you on track to your weight loss goals. Research suggests eating small meals often throughout the day leads to greater weight loss and maintenance. This will stave off hunger helping you make healthy choices to keep your diet in line.

So don’t get caught empty handed. And don’t get caught at the drive-thru. Keep these five healthy and satisfying foods within reach to avoid falling into the fast food trap:

Shakes & Smoothies
Shakes and smoothies are portable meals that shouldn’t be dismissed. They have the potential to be nutritional powerhouses. Using fresh fruit, vegetables and a healthy protein can deliver balanced nutrition in a snap. Prep a bag in the fridge or freezer of your favorite healthy ingredients and blend in the morning. Throw it in a to-go cup and you’ve achieved a nutritious breakfast on the go.

No time to blend? Invest in a great meal replacement protein powder and blender cup. Throw a powder packet in your bag and shake it up when hunger strikes. Nutrisystem shakes are packed with protein and fiber, plus 22 vitamins and minerals. One shake counts as one PowerFuel on the Nutrisystem program.

Whether you shake or smooth it, watch your sugar. Avoid fruit juices, flavored nut milks and sweetened yogurts. They add unnecessary sugar and empty calories. Check the label on your shake powder for sugar content. Excess sugar can lead to excess weight gain.

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Hard Boiled Eggs
On Sunday, give them a boil! Grab a half dozen eggs and hard boil them for the week. Each egg will deliver under 80 calories, six grams of lean protein and five grams of healthy fat. Eggs also dish out B vitamins, selenium, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc. That’s a lot of nutrition in one little egg!

Hard boiled eggs do spoil faster. Refrigerate within two hours of boiling and use them within one week. Eggs make a great on the go snack or salad topper. One large hardboiled egg counts as one Powerfuel on the Nutrisystem program, providing essential protein and healthy fats.

Veggie Bags
Packing a bag full of carrots, cucumbers, edamame, peppers or tomatoes can make eating on the go healthy. Add an individual serving of hummus or guacamole, which provide healthy fats, and there you have it: A satisfying and complete meal-on-the-go.

The USDA recommends adults consume two to three cups a day of veggies every day. These non-starchy veggies are unlimited on the Nutrisystem program. Load up and eat the rainbow.

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Healthy Bars
A perfectly wrapped protein bar may be the easiest way to eat on the go. Meal replacement bars can be found in all different flavors and sizes with varying nutritional values. Look for meal replacement bars around 200 calories without excessive sugar.

Throw one or two in your bag to keep the hangry monster away. Nutrisystem bars are perfectly portioned on-the go treats great for busy mornings or lunch-time meetings. Bonus: With flavors like chocolate peanut butter and fudge graham, you’ll enjoy some guilt-free indulgence.

Get Nutty
Nuts may be your best friend. The healthy fats in nuts will keep your stomach satisfied and your heart healthy. The vitamin E, zinc, protein and fiber make them nutrient-dense and a great choice for snacking. A 2013 report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested people who ate nuts every day lived longer, healthier lives than those who did not.

Grab a box of 100-calorie almond snack packs or buy in bulk and measure out a half ounce of these super nuts. Packing in individual bags can help you avoid overeating. Walnuts contain higher amounts of antioxidants than most foods. Research has suggested walnuts may decrease inflammation and cholesterol. Keeping you full and out of the drive thru lane is just an added bonus.

A half ounce counts as one Powerfuel on the Nutrisystem program.