“Fast food” has come to mean greasy, poor quality take-out from chain retailers like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Chick-Fil-A. But really any food can be fast if you prepare it in a convenient way.
Take these little fruit boxes, for example, that my friend Christa found on a street corner in Paris while on a recent trip. Appealing, easy to eat, and of course healthy. Definitely the type of fast food we could all stand to eat more of.
Below are some of my other favorite foods for eating-on-the-run. Yes you have to remember to buy and then pack them, but if this effort allows you to skip factory-produced, calorie-dense fast food, it’s more than worth it.
10 Great Healthy “Fast Foods”
Siggi’s yogurt – these flavored yogurts are a high protein, low sugar treat.
Trail mix – as long as it has more nuts, seeds, and dried fruit than candy, any kind will do. Stick to 1/4 cup.
Kashi TLC Cereal Bars – similar to, but tastier & healthier than, a Nutri-Grain bar. My fave is Cherry Vanilla.
Babybel Light Cheese – perfectly portioned and satisfies a cheese craving for only 50 calories.
Cruncha-mame – the salt & pepper flavor of these freeze-dried edamame tastes sinful but is far from it.
Dried mango – look for unsweetened (Trader Joe’s has it), which is plenty sweet, plus chewy and tangy.
Peanut butter pouches – I usually buy Peanut Butter & Co. squeeze packs, but Justin’s also makes nut butter packets. Combine with an apple, celery sticks, or crackers.
Stonyfield Organic Super Smoothies – these have more sugar than I’d usually recommend but they’re the best portable smoothie option on the market. Choose the 6-oz portion and eat it along with a veggie or fruit.
Boiled egg – cook and peel eggs ahead of time, and you’ll have a quick source of on-the-go protein.
Fresh berries – A whole cup is only 50-70 calories, so you can pack a big container like in the photo above and enjoy – no utensil required!
Healthy Snacking Tips
- Snacks that are a combo of carbohydrate, protein, and fat will be most satisfying. So pair whole grain crackers with cheese, hummus with veggies, fruit with yogurt or a few nuts, etc. Combining different foods is key.
- Include a fruit or veggie. Fresh fruits & veggies offer fiber and volume, which helps fill you up. If your snacks are limited to cheese, nuts, packaged foods, etc – you won’t be getting as much bang for your nutritional buck.
- Keep portions reasonable. “Snacks” are supposed to tide you over between meals, not become extra meals themselves, so read labels and pre-portion foods into single-servings so you’re not tempted to overdo it.