Eating on the go can be healthy

Tips and ideas for eating on the go when working, traveling or going for a short ride.

Michigan 4-H programs encourage young people to think about the foods they eat. This includes taking positive steps to increase their intake of foods that will keep them healthy no matter what they are doing, such as eating healthy when on the go.

Whether you are traveling to work or a work-related program, or maybe just starting out on a vacation, there are foods you can eat while on the road and not have to worry about stopping. What can you eat that is healthy that you can grab and go? Many fast food locations are great for timing, but there are not always healthy choices available and many not-so-healthy choices that can get in the way.

It is easy to grab something for now and continue on, but you need to start thinking about your food choices and how much that candy bar, bag of chips or soda costs these days. That can add up. Eating frequently and in smaller amounts can help, and make sure you include protein. Also, drink lots of water.

Before you start out on any trip, plan out your stops, meals and food ideas you can include in your trip. In hot summer months, a cooler is a good choice to have on the road to keep foods that need to be cold.

Some top choices to put in your food box or other type of container to keep your food items together should include water bottles, peanut butter and bread. Other types of snacking choices can include fresh and dried fruit; crunchy vegetables; whole grain crackers, tortillas or pita; cheese chunks or yogurt; or granola, nuts or cereal. All of these options can make traveling easier with children and adults; the preparation and pre-planning takes time, but worth it to be healthy.

If driving or riding in a care for longer distances or more than usual, make it a point to get out and get some exercise. Take time at those rest stops to actually walk for 5 minutes. Make time to stop and see what types of exercises you can do, such as leg stretches, arm circles and bending sideways. This also goes along with pre-trip planning—maybe there are some points of interest to stop at with the family so everyone gets a break. If you are on the road for your job, put in some exercise clothes and take advantage of the exercise rooms in hotels or the swimming pool.

Michigan State University Extension has some tips on eating healthy that families can learn about for when traveling or just staying around home. Visit the 4-H Food, Health and Well-being website to get ideas and resources to learn about eating healthy. The Nutrition and Healthy Eating section provides resources for healthy after-school snacks.

To learn about the positive impact children and families experience due to Michigan State University Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing young children for success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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