Eating on the run

Eating on the run

Nutrition expert Zoe Nicholson explains how eating on the run can still be healthy provided you plan ahead and make the right food choices.

Most of us have had a day where suddenly it’s 3pm and we’re starving! Not being in a position to buy lunch, you just make do with what’s at hand; service station food, something from the vending machine, or sweet biscuits from the work kitchen.

The occasional day like this is unlikely to be a problem. If it becomes a habit, chances are it’s going to impact your health.

Four reasons skipping meals can be problematic

  1. You miss out on important nutrients including carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals to fuel your brain and body throughout the day.
  2. Skipping meals leads to a drop in blood sugar; you may feel lightheaded or start finding it difficult to concentrate. This can result in sugar cravings.
  3. You get over-hungry and over-eat at your next meal.
  4. Constant sugar cravings and over-eating means your weight starts creeping up.

Top tips for eating on the run:

  • Plan ahead. The most failsafe method is to prepare lunch in bulk. Soups, stews, casseroles and salads work well.
  • Keep healthy non-perishable food at work (e.g. nuts, muesli bars, tinned foods). A simple meal of tinned tuna in olive oil and four bean mix is nutritious and filling.
  • Know where you can access healthy food quickly. Supermarkets sell the above foods, service stations have sandwiches, and sushi is available in many stores.
  • Healthy planned snacks can be eaten on the run and will keep you fuelled throughout the day. For example 30g nuts, a muesli bar, and a serve of fruit provides the energy and nutrition found in a meal.
  • For restaurant or cafe food, choose meals with at least three different veggies. Ideally half the meal should be veg. Avoid heavy carb based dishes like pastas, risottos and pizza.