Your local 7-11 has more to offer in the way of health than most popular dining establishments. True, quick marts are a landfill of trans sprinkles and grease crisps, but if for no other reason than portion size, you can often fare better in the linoleum aisles of the corner gas station than in the extra-wide banquettes of chain restaurants. Even seemingly healthy items like salads and vegetable omelets are typically two or three times more than the average adult’s caloric needs (read all about sneaky sauces and oils in “healthy entrees”). While fresh is infinitely better than fried, canned, packaged or pickled, you can make out pretty well in even the most forlorn and dusty of gas stations. Road trip? No sweat!
What to pick:
Jerky is a surprisingly lean, healthy choice. Don’t get the teriyaki or flavored kinds – they contain a lot of sugar. While it’s not grass-fed meat, this beats a hot dog or burger and will fill you up.
Trail mixes are always a smart bet. Whether you pick one with dried fruit or not, make sure you’re going easy on the salt. Tip: avoid the mixes with coated peanuts or candies. “Yogurt” covered nuts are nothing more than a sugary, trans-fat coated nutrition disaster.
Nuts. Try to go for almonds or even seeds over cashews and peanuts (which are not actually nuts, as you all know by now from my endless admonitions on this unhealthy legume). Watch the salt, friends.
Water. Yeah, yeah, obvious choice. But no one’s holding a gun to your head making you buy soda! (hmm…that may, in fact, be a terribly tasteless joke. Sorry.)
What to skip:
Exhibit A: Why the gas station beats the Cheesecake Factory.
Even chain restaurants’ salads, stir fries and chicken dishes are larger than your average body builder’s biceps. If you dine out, split the portions, go “dry” with the sauces and oils, or pick smart sides like fresh steamed veggies and grilled fish.
What other smart compromises can be found in convenience marts? I’d like to hear your tips.