It’s 4 pm and you’re out on what seems to be a never-ending errand run. You thought you’d be done by now, but you’re still in line at the dry cleaners and you’ve got three more things to check off your list before you can go home. But you’re hungry and all of the signs (your impatience at the checkout line, your sudden irrational need for that candy bar, etc) point to some serious “hanger” settling in soon. Could this situation have been avoided? You bet! And it all comes down to planning. Take the advice of these savvy registered dietitians on how you can stay fueled for when you’re “on-the-go”!

The Best Tips for On-the-Go Nourishment from Registered Dietitians

Culinary nutrition expert Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN: “My best tip for on-the-go nutrition is to always have a balanced snack on hand, and by that I mean a snack that has a combination of carbs and protein and/or fat. Whenever I’m heading out the door I take a washed apple with me because that’s a fruit that can be eaten straight out of hand – no mess and no utensils needed. Along with it I always have a small reusable container with raw nuts or roasted chickpeas. The protein/healthy fat/high-fiber combo provides just the balance I need to keep my blood sugar levels stable, satisfy any cravings, and keep me from getting hangry.”

Elizabeth Shaw MS RDN CLT CPT, Nutrition Expert & Author: “My best tip: always pack a snack, or two! Fueling on the go means you never want to leave home without something, so even if you’re not hungry when you leave, it’s best to plan ahead for the inevitable. I try to focus on a snack that hits at least two or three food groups: carb, protein and fat! While there are a variety of on-the-go snack bars you can purchase, I like to either make my own (recipe below!) or stash a few bags of mixed nuts with dried fruit, like cherries, for a satisfying snack! The protein and fat from the nuts keeps you body fuller for longer while the dried fruit provides the shelf-stable carbs to provide your body with energy!”

Grab the recipe for her Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars!

Shannon A. Garcia, MDS, RD, LD with KISS in the Kitchen: “My best on-the-go nutrition tip is making sure I plan out nourishing snacks for the week, not just meals. This could include making energy bites like these Creamy Cashew Lemon Bites or just making sure all my bags (work bag, gym bag, purse and soon-to-be diaper bag!), have non-perishable snack bars already in them so I’m super prepared to fight off hanger!”

Lori Zanini, RD, CDE and creator of The 6-Week Solution: Diabetes Made Easy: “I make sure to keep healthy protein bars, nuts, and whole fruits available in my car and work bag so that I always have something on hand (that doesn’t require refrigeration) for a quick go-to option on the run.”

Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, Intuitive Eating Counselor & Blogger at The Foodie Dietitian: ” I always pack a variety of snacks with me to have on hand throughout the day so I have choices based on what I’m in the mood for. One of my favorite on-the-go snacks are granola bars – I love that they have a variety of textures (both crunchy and chewy) and that they are packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats to keep me satisfied until my next meal.”

Marisa Moore, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Atlanta, GA of Marisa Moore Nutrition: “Anyone that knows me knows that to avoid hanger and pit stops for french fries, I always have food with me or in a nearby car or desk drawer. My best tip for on-the-go nutrition is to plan ahead. Stash fruit like a pear or grapes and nuts or seeds in your bag for energy when you need it and to skip those tempting treats that are much more appealing when you’re half past hungry.

Grab the recipe for one of her favorite granola recipes. It keeps for a week or more in the pantry and it’s perfect solo or sprinkled over yogurt!

Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D., Test Kitchen Manager, EatingWell Magazine: “Instead of relying on packaged snacks or reaching for the same baby carrots and hummus duo, pack up snack-size portions of grain salads in half-pint mason jars. You’ll have a balanced, healthy and delicious snack, or small lunch, to have on hand when you’re running out the door. My favorite picks are grain salads with a little bit of protein, some whole-grain carbs and fruit and/or veggies with an easy vinaigrette.”

One of her favorite recipes is this Cherry Almond Farro Salad!

Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, CLT of Nutrition to Fit: “I have several food allergies and sensitivities, so I find keeping some shelf-stable snacks on me can help create a more well-rounded meal out or can hold me over until I can find an option for a nourishing meal. For example, I can usually find a simple salad when I’m out, but I may reach to my purse to complement it with some sunflower seeds, a piece of fruit, an energy bar, or a homemade energy ball, like my popular Oatmeal Cookie Energy Balls.

Lara Field, MS, RD, LDN – Founder of FEED Nutrition Consulting: “Always be prepared! I never leave the house without thinking about how the day will take me. Let’s face it, there is access to food EVERYWHERE, however if we plan ahead, we will make better choices. Thus, I always keep snacks on hand – typically a fruit/nut filled snack bar or some sort of produce + protein (banana/peanut butter, bell peppers/hummus, raisins/walnuts). I love making these protein bites as well! ProTip: Keep these protein bites in the freezer – they will last longer, and you will be less inclined to eat more than you should if they are frozen (take longer to chew!)”

Do you have a favorite on-the-go nutrition tip? Share in the comments!

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