Eating healthy on the go

Planning ahead can lead to healthier and less costly meals when short on time.

Keeping quick and easy food readily available can help to save time and eat healthy. Having quick and easy foods ready in your pantry/cupboard or refrigerator will provide your family with nutritious, less expensive foods to eat when you are running short on time and might otherwise run through the drive-thru restaurant. Planning ahead can save time and money.

If you know ahead of time that there will be a short amount of time for a meal before heading out, here are some suggestions:

  • Prepare food in advance, choose foods that are easy to eat on the run such as sandwiches or hard cooked eggs.
  • Purchase foods that pack easily such as yogurt cups, sliced cheese, peanut butter, in-season fresh fruit, baby carrots and other ready to eat vegetables.
  • Prepare food the night before such as cold salads, for example tuna salad or chicken salad.
  • Plan how much you will need, throwing away spoiled food that didn’t get eaten is certainly not saving money.
  • Pick the items that your family likes to eat and keep them on hand. Have a list of fast, easy food at your fingertips and pick different choices each time you shop. Some foods like cold salads are better on hot summer days while hot foods are appreciated during cold weather.
  • Choose nutritious beverages such as water, fruit juice or aseptically packed milk (milk that has been packaged in a sterile container and does not need refrigeration. It is usually found with the canned fruit juices in the grocery store).

No matter what time of the year, to keep your food safe Michigan State University Extension recommends storing foods at the correct temperature and properly washing hands. Washing hands doesn’t take long and is vital to keeping food safe. If there will not be running water at your destination or you will be eating in the vehicle, bring sanitizer wipes. When you are packing foods to take with in the car, use an insulated carrier to pack them in. Throw in several ice packs or ice cubes to keep your foods cold and safe to eat.  

For more information on this topic check out the MSU Extension website for safe food articles.

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