Eating Well on the Go: Healthy Snack and Meal Ideas
Health care workers are always on the move, whether they’re tending to multiple patients in one hospital shift or driving from location to location. When you’re crunched for time or on the road, it can be challenging to take proper meal and snack breaks. All too often, vending machines and drive-thrus seem like the easiest options!
Sooner or later, though, a diet that leans heavily on fast food and convenience foods – which tend to be high in sodium, sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats – will leave you feeling run-down. Instead of another greasy cheeseburger, try these tasty, portable, budget-friendly ideas. They’re quick and easy to prepare, and you can easily reheat them or enjoy them cold.
Snacking between meals helps you stay energized. The key is to choose snacks that offer plenty of protein, rather than sugar and refined carbs. High-protein foods keep you feeling satisfied for longer, and they also tend to contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Try these easy snack ideas :
- Hard-boiled egg
- Almonds or walnuts
- Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Nut butter and whole-grain crackers
- Nut butter and apple slices
- Hummus and whole-grain pita wedges
- Granola or trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Homemade energy bars/bites/balls
- Low-fat cheese slices, Greek yogurt, ricotta, or cottage cheese with fruit
- Yogurt dip and sliced veggies (peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes)
- Smoothie made with yogurt, milk or kefir and fruit
- Roasted chickpeas
- Beef jerky
Delicious lunches and dinners
Here’s a clever time-saving trick: when cooking dinner or making meals on your days off, prepare extra portions to enjoy later. Leftovers make great lunches, and you can add other ingredients to create tasty new dishes. Leftover roast chicken turns into chicken salad. Steak slices are great in a beef-and-veggie wrap. Quinoa, farro, or lentils become a grain bowl. Salmon or tuna takes pasta salad to the next level. Try these pack-and-go lunches, many of which you can eat cold:
- Salads: Choose a leafy green such as lettuce, spinach, or kale. Add a combo of veggies, apples, tuna, roast beef, chicken, tofu, beans, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, or boiled eggs. Drizzle with your favourite dressing.
- Wraps: Add cooked eggs or chicken to a whole-grain tortilla wrap and pile on spinach, peppers, carrots, or avocado. Or, instead of a tortilla, wrap the filling in lettuce or collard greens.
- Grain bowls: Layer cherry tomatoes, red pepper, kale, beans, chickpeas, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, peas, roasted squash, red onion, dried seaweed, or other veggies over cooked quinoa, farro, bulgur, brown rice, or another whole grain.
- Frittatas: This baked egg dish is enough for two or three meals. Fill it with colourful veggies such as spinach and peppers.
- Whole-grain crackers: Top crisp crackers with nut butter, tuna salad, or hummus and enjoy with a side of veggies.
- Chili: Make a big batch of chili on the weekend and you’ve got lunches or dinners for a week. Beans are a great source of protein and other nutrients.
- Stir-fries: Stir-fries are a delicious way to combine proteins and veggies (just go easy on the sauces). Try chicken, lean meats, tofu, or tempeh with peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, cabbage, zucchini, or carrots. Enjoy over noodles or rice.
More fast and tasty ideas
Canada’s Food Guide: Recipes
Easy meal and snack ideas that reflect food guide recommendations.
Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes
Nutritious lunches to take to work, from Dietitians of Canada.
50 No-Heat Lunch Ideas to Bring to Work (or Your Home Office!)
Wraps, salads, bowls, and more by Food Network Canada.