Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time-crunched treats

Life is busy. With only 24 hours in a day and a third of that dedicated to sleep (at least, in a perfect world), we're left with a measly 16 hours to cook, clean, work, play, and save the world with little free time to devote to meal planning and label reading. I'll be the first to admit, between the early hours of school, homework, and activities and the late hours of waitressing, meetings, and -- dare I say it -- fun, I'm quick to suggest a drive-thru dinner or opt for an assortment of pre-packaged snacks for lunch.

But all is not lost! For those of you who like it fast and no-nonsense, area convenience stores and grocers are not entirely at a loss for sufficient snack foods. Next time you're on hour two of your three hour commute and your tummy's growling for some grub, check out these yummy choices:

5. Hummus
Believe it or not, many convenience stores now carry containers of hummus in their refrigerated deli displays. The only downside to this protein gold mine is the fact that your leftovers need to keep their cool while in your car; save this one for when you have a carload of hungry passengers! Look for it right next to that awful bean and beef burrito (who eats those, anyway?!).

4. Pretzels
This one's for the snacker who craves salty. While far from low-carb-friendly, pretzels offer a low-fat option high in fiber and fill-ability. Unfortunately, Combos do not count...cheaters.

3. Nuts
Your best bets, if available, are shelled nuts like almonds, pistachios, and cashews. These varieties serve up a good dose of healthy fat that will keep you satisfied long enough until dinner. Plain peanuts are also a good choice, just make sure to opt against the salted and "honey roasted" Planters!

2. Salad
Seems obvious, but it's the type of salad that matters, too! Those with creamy dressings, croutons, and loads of cheese defeat the purpose of these vivacious veggies, so do some snooping and settle on a delicious Greek or bacon-free cobb salad.

It's a big trend nowadays; 7-11 hosts its own "fresh fruit" displays and refrigerated section. Not only is an apple or banana dirt cheap, fruit is a quick and easy way to recharge with a little bit of natural sugar and loads of vitamins and minerals.

There's no need to give up your occasional visit to White Hen for an on-the-go snack! Take two seconds to scan the store and you have nothing to lose. Well...except your excuse for having Twizzlers for breakfast. ;)