By Mary Perry, Zone Director of Clinical Trials
It’s time for summer vacations, road trips, and the long days of sunshine. During times like these, sometimes you just want to pick up and go without having a plan – and that includes food. After a day at the beach you might be parched, in the mood for a small bite, or maybe you’ve run out of everything you packed and now you have to wing it on your trip home. Grab-and-go may be your only option.
Read on for tips on navigating convenience stores so you don’t have to throw in the towel on your good eating habits.
1. Learn to Navigate the Convenience Store
It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to walk the aisles of a convenience store. I rarely go in to them, but when I do, I know what I need, grab it and I walk out. I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to see how many more options they have these days that are Zone-friendly. Navigating this convenience store was very similar to how you’d navigate a grocery store when shopping for healthy options. Stick to the perimeter and don’t venture down the aisles if you don’t have to. You’ll still have to bypass a few things along the way, like the cold case that houses all the ice cream bars and sundaes, but keep looking and you’ll find options.
2. Find the ‘Convenient’ Zone Formula
It’s not always easy to tell if something is Zone-friendly, so it might require you taking a deeper look at the label. Typically for every 1 gram of fat, balance it with 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrate. If that seems too hard, then just pick something that is a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrate (e.g., like a piece of fruit and cheese).
3. Know Your Protein, Fat and Carb Options
The following are options I found at the convenience store I went to. Remember, these are suggestions for when you’re in a pinch. Most of the choices you’ll find below will probably be processed and high in sodium so make sure you drink a lot of water!
A good rule of thumb is if the grams of protein are closer to 7 grams per serving consider it a snack and if a serving or the whole container brings you closer to 21 grams of protein consider it a meal.
These are just some tips for staying in the Zone so that your diet doesn’t have to set sail when you’re eating on the fly. Just check labels, and your on-the-road meals can be as balanced as possible.