Healthy Eats at a Gas Station?

So you’re on the road – maybe away on business or partaking in the great American road trip – when your stomach starts growling. There isn’t fresh, healthy food in sight. The only place to stop for the next 100 miles is the upcoming gas station. And we all know the range of quality fare (spare me) your average petrol station offers. In this video Mark will guide us through making sensible food choices when your only option is the dreaded convenience store.

This video is the first in a series of videos we will bringing to all of our readers here at Mark’s Daily Apple. In keeping with our mission for the blog on the whole we want this new feature to be educational, informative, challenging and fun. Check back regularly to view new video log posts to get advice and encouragement from Mark and his host of friends.

What do you do when you are in a bind on the road?

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25 thoughts on “Healthy Eats at a Gas Station?”

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  1. I love the road. I’m no good if I haven’t had my road trip for the month. I’m well attuned to the gas station diet, and here’s a few more tips:

    -Don’t get the Teriyaki jerky. One piece of teriyaki is tasty, but a whole bag will leave an aftertaste in your mouth that you’ll be stuck with until your next meal.

    -Nuts. All gas stations have nuts. And they’re usually cheaper than the grocery store. And go unsalted (I’ll explain later)

    -Can cozies for your drinks. These are the little foamy cylinders with Sports team logos on them usually located next to the beer display. They seem ridiculous, but they serve two purposes. 1) Drinks get warm fast in a car, this keeps them cool, and 2) if you drive a convertible or drive with your windows down, the moisture drops on the outside of your bottle will splash all over your shirt when you take a swig. The foamy drink cozy prevents this.

    Finally, as an addendum to Mark’s suggestion about pumpkin seeds: Most gas station pumpkin seeds are incredibly salty. They taste good, but before you finish a handful, your mouth will feel like you took a swim in the ocean and tried to catch sardines with your teeth. Whether nuts or seeds, try to go unsalted.

  2. Very interesting video.

    The musical choice was quite unique for an AM/PM experience.

    I especially enjoyed the ceiling of the Gas Station, as it was quite Pacific-Oceanesque.

    The message was succinct and educational for the target audience, which, in addition to Daily Apple, should be required viewing by the public in general. Perhaps the series could broadcast with the Daily School Bulletins in K-12?

    Better yet, it was also entertaining.

  3. Mark,
    Surprised to see you recomending power-bars.
    The ingredients in them are anything but natural.
    But I guess better then what most people eat….
    so lesser of two evils I guess.

  4. Lesser of two evils is right, Tatsujin. When visiting a gas station there aren’t many good options. Picking up a high protein bar is better than 99% of the items you will find in your average quickie mart.

  5. This is a good idea: showing small and easy steps to a healthier life. It doesn’t have to be difficult, because the better choice exists when you look for it. (Or someone points to it.)

    Just one question: what’s wrong with a whole grain ham sandwich and an apple? Or doesn’t that exist in the US?! The food bought in that video seems really good, but it wouldn’t get me far, neither would a carrot cake on the other hand… (Who could ever think a carrot cake or a muffins is healthy?) I try to bring my own pique-nique, but maybe I’m just too picky (and hungry!)

    (By the way, if you have hearing problems or another mother tongue than English, the music in the background makes what is said much harder to hear (and therefor to understand). So if you continue making videos (which is a really fun idea!) think of cutting the music completely when speaking. Thank you.)

  6. @Bradford: good extra tips, thanks.
    @Oxybeles: thanks for the kudos.
    @Tatsujin: You’re right, and I don’t normally advocate things like protein bars, but Aaron’s point nails it. Better off with a reasonable compromise than a trans-fat and sugar-stuffed muffin.
    And good points all on the music. We’ll note that moving forward.

  7. This was really helpful! I am always one who gets on the road, and then wishes about two hours later I had taken the time to pack a cooler full of healthy treats. Alas, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Thanks for helping to make it easy to be healthy without home-packed snacks, MDA!

  8. Great feature, Mark!! I spent five years in the convenience store business–two as a store manager. I ate so many hot dogs to get through the day that I was elected to the Spine Meat Eaters Hall of Fame! . Now there are only two things on my shopping list at a c-store: gas and coffee!

  9. Great video mark, i am thinking of doing a video for my website as well like showing healthy cooking demos. you know i actually found these glenny’s soy crisps at a few gas stations which are a great ptotien and fiber option. also, some actually have fresh fruit. I doubt its organic or anything special but better than dried fruit and definetly more filling. Sometimes on the road, i bring low sodium soup mix powders (like miso) and simply add the hot water from the gas station.

  10. I can attest to people purchasing carrot cakes and muffins, thinking that they’re “health foods.” My wife was working at a friend’s store a few weeks ago, and the owner of the store’s wife dropped by to bring them some dinner. She had gone to Au Bon Pain and grabbed them muffins. I believe she got her husband a chocolate muffin, and she brought my wife a carrot cake muffin, because she knows my wife is into eating healthy foods. She had assumed that because “carrot” was in the muffin’s name, that it must be a healthy option.

  11. Personally, I want to know where you were. Gas for $2.53 is all but a dream out here in N. California. ^^

  12. You have a great head of hair!

    Another suggestion…

    yogurt, fruit, and string cheese. Sometimes if you’re at the right station they may have hummus platters or fruit and nut platters likewise.

    I was also surprised to see you recommend protein bars, especially with the purchase of beef jerky. I was thinking you may find a banana or apple which is fairly commonplace at gas stations.

  13. Lala: A comment on your comment. At the top of the MDA food pyramid is a big “0” for sugar. I dare say that any yogurt availabe at a c-store is going to be chock-full of added sugar.

  14. I have found various yogurts for 8 g of sugar or less. It is always good to do your homework. Thanks!

  15. If you’re ever travelling through Charlottesville, VA then you are in luck. Many of our gas stations are known as ‘gourmet gas stations’ and include a wonderful deli. It’s always quite a surprise for visitors when we take them out to lunch at the local Exxon! 🙂

  16. Yep, doing your homework is a good idea. My experience from working in a 350-store chain is that the normal fare, IF they carry yogurt, is your typical little tub of Yoplait that has over 25 grams of sugar. But then we don’t have “gourmet” c-stores in this neck o’ the woods!

  17. The one thing that I wondered about when watching your piece was the sodium in jerky. Isn’t jerky loaded with it?

  18. The video has been removed by the user 🙂
    Please could you put it back?

  19. Agree, please put the video back on. I decided on the 30 day Paleo Challenge (3 weeks ago), knowing full well that 3 of those weeks would be spent on the road. Help!

  20. i’m visiting this page for the first time and was disappointed that the video is down?