Look beyond the potato chip aisle.
Every now and then, we all find ourselves stuck at a convenience store looking for something that remotely resembles a healthy snack. Regardless of whether you practically live out of your car during the week, are road tripping across the country or just need some nutrition in a bind, don’t lose hope if the gas station is your only option. As you refill the tank, here are seven fuel options for your body that won’t wreck your health goals.
Jerky is a tasty and easy way to add a significant amount of protein to your day. Both beef and turkey are great options so long as you stick to the traditional style — teriyaki flavor is just loaded with sugar. And if you can find a bag that isn’t made with nitrates, you’ll be even better off. Just snag a bottle of filtered water, too. The sodium content of jerky usually isn’t on the low end.
We’re not talking about movie theater popcorn slathered in faux butter here. You have to go plain to make it a reasonable snack. Simple popcorn with a hint of sea salt is a solid whole-grain option that also keeps the fat in check. And the crunch will give you all of the potato chip vibes with none of the greasy mess in the car or dietary consequences.
3. Fresh Fruit
Most gas stations these days have fresh fruit in stock. Bigger storefronts probably have a variety of fruit cups in the refrigerated section, and smaller shops will at least have apples and bananas on hand. They’re not the most exciting options, but they’re an easy health win. Just pair them with a to-go pack of nut butter, and you have a balanced and sustaining snack.
4. Trail Mix
You’d be hard-pressed to find a roadside pitstop that doesn’t sell trail mix. The trick, however, is finding the ones that keep it simple with just a variety of nuts and dried fruit. Sorry, but you have to skip out on the chocolate candy pieces or super salty savory seasonings to make this one healthy. So find a basic blend that skips the less nutritious extras, and you’ll be in the clear.
5. Raw, Unsalted Nuts
The one thing that’s even simpler than trail mix is the raw, unsalted nuts themselves. It’s not too difficult to find a bag of almonds or peanuts that ticks these two boxes, so when in doubt, go nuts. Plain shelled sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are also fair game. All of these buys have healthy monounsaturated fats paired with a decent amount of protein. Win-win.
6. Snack Bars
Believe it or not, there are bar options that only include real, whole ingredients and ditch the added sugar. Larabar, KIND and RXBAR are great go-to brands that you can rely on for a real energy boost, and it’s likely that your gas station carries at least one of them. But when in doubt, just read that ingredient label. You’ll find everything you need to know right there.
7. Dark Chocolate
For when that sweet tooth strikes, lean into the chocolate options that have at least 70 percent cacao content. You might not strike gold at every store on this one, but it’s definitely worth the hunt. Dark chocolate will give you an energy and mood boost to help you get to where you need to go, and the antioxidants are nothing to scoff at. Indulge intelligently, and you can’t go wrong.