Calorie conscious meals without the prep

by Joe Wauters on Wednesday 05 January 2022

3 min read

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you’re on the go, you’re starving and only have limited food options available. We want to share a few tips on how you can make healthy decisions when faced with these challenges.

When you’ve access to a restaurant, café or takeaway

If there’s a food vendor nearby, there’s probably a way to create a healthy meal. When making your choices, keep in mind that most vendors are focused on creating strong flavours over nutrient quality.

First, look for menu items that include lean protein sources like chicken breast, roast beef or salmon. For example, a steak sandwich is a common menu item, but you might want to ask the vendor to serve you the steak without the bread to save on carbohydrates. If the steak is marinated then you'll need to account for added sugar and fat.

Secondly, look for vegetables and greens. These can be added to your meal, or used to substitute filler foods like bread, potatoes and rice. If they come with a sauce or dressing, you may want to ask to get this on the side to use sparingly for flavour.

Whilst sauces, dressings, and dense carbohydrates are fine in moderation, when you’re eating out and unsure of all the ingredients used we want to focus on protein and vegetable sources first.

When you’ve only got access to a supermarket

If you’re in this situation, you probably can’t enjoy a cooked meal, but there’s still lots you can do.

First, look for deli ham, chicken, or roast beef. These contain plenty of protein, and not too much fat. Smoked salmon or tins of tuna also work. Cheese slices contain protein too, you’ll just need to be conscious of higher fats.

Second, grab some vegetables you can eat raw. Snow peas, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, even capsicum will work.

Remember that we do need some fats to maintain a balanced diet. You could use some nuts or seeds, quality dark chocolate or a pot of yoghurt.

If you want some denser carbs, look for crackers and savoury biscuits. Just be careful as these may contain extra fats to make them more flavoursome.

Your last resort: the petrol station

You’re out in the sticks, everything is closed, and all you’ve got is the local petrol station, but all is not lost. There's likely to be some high protein nuts available, perhaps even some fruit. Do they sell jerky? This is a fine source of protein in moderation. Like so many things related to your wellbeing, it's about making the best out of challenging real-life situations.

Bonus tip

If we could only give one nutritional tip this would be the one: chew long to live long. Wherever you get your meal from, remember to chew your food completely before you swallow. Fully digesting your food in your mouth before it gets to your stomach has so many benefits including improved stomach absorption, improved digestive hormone release and improved stress management. So simple, yet so effective.

Every time you make a positive decision, you’re reinforcing the behaviours that create an exciting lifestyle full of opportunities to live well. You CAN do this, especially because we’re always here to help you every step of the way. 

At Virgin Active, we’re here to support you to be your best, year-round. Get in touch with us today to learn how our world-class trainers and facilities can help you.

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