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How to Make a Decent Meal from Convenience Store Food

Being on the road is no longer a good excuse for a potato chip dinner. Even gas station mini-marts offer some nutritious choices.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Pep up soup or salad Start with a ready-made soup or salad and make it more nutritious by adding a can of beans to it, like lentils or chickpeas.
  • TIP: Keep a Swiss Army knife on hand so you can open cans and cut fruit.
  • Step 2: Choose a protein Choose a high-quality protein, like water-packed tuna, low-sodium beef jerky, or peanut butter. Hard-boiled eggs are also great, if available.
  • Step 3: Add a good carb Add a complex carbohydrate, like whole wheat bread, crackers, or crispbreads. Or grab a cereal whose first ingredient is whole wheat or whole grain.
  • Step 4: Include some dairy Get some dairy, like low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, reduced-fat hard cheeses, and string cheese.
  • Step 5: Go nuts Grab bags of nutrient-rich nuts and/or seeds, like raw pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • TIP: Walnuts are a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fat, while cashews are one of the least healthy nuts.
  • Step 6: Look for fruit Look for fresh fruit, like bananas, apples, and oranges. Or choose dried fruit -- just remember it's higher in calories, so eat less.
  • Step 7: Grab a drink Grab a bottle of plain water, not the flavored and vitamin-enhanced kind, which are glorified low-cal sodas.
  • TIP: The most nutritious fruit juices are, in order, pink grapefruit, orange, white grapefruit, pineapple, prune, grape, and apple.
  • Step 8: Have some dessert Enjoy a jar of baby food fruit for dessert. It's a delicious way to end a meal, plus it provides a gram or two of fiber for just 40 or 50 calories.
  • FACT: In 2007, 7-Eleven announced that it would start stocking more fruits, vegetables, salads, and sugar-free Slurpees.

You Will Need

  • A convenience store
  • Some knowledge of nutrition
  • The discipline to pass up the snack cakes
  • A Swiss Army knife

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