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Fast Food Alternatives: Grab-and-Go


By Dr. Mark Hyman
This article originally appeared in UltraMetabolism.

You shouldn't let frequent travel, being out of the house, or working at mealtime get in your way of a healthy mind and body. When you travel, it can be somewhat difficult to find quality food options that fit into The Daniel Plan. When you go to work, it can be daunting to have to prepare and pack a lunch every day.

What follows are a number of menus that you can easily take with you. You can either prepare these on the road or prepare them in advance and bring them with you in a cooler. They help you stay out of trouble in the vast minefield of convenience stores and junk food that awaits you when you leave home.

Grab-and-Go Options

These grab-and-go options give you some quick choices when you are really busy and don't have time to prepare a whole meal. And they still allow you to eat healthy, whole foods.

These foods can be prepared at home in advance. Consider keeping a small cooler in your car so you are never without healthy choices. You can store these foods in your cooler and pull them out as needed.

In addition to these grab-and-go options, I often suggest canned beans or legumes as well as frozen vegetables. You can heat these up at work for a simple, healthy meal. You can also cook dried beans or chop fresh vegetables yourself in advance, and then bring these as food options.

Breakfast choices

Grab-and-Go Breakfast #1: Yogurt Parfait

  • Plain organic soy yogurt
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Milled flaxseed
  • Chopped raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans

Grab-and-Go Breakfast #2: Morning Wrap

  • Tofu, baked
  • Sprouted grain corn tortilla
  • Dijon mustard with curry powder
  • Fresh fruit in season

Grab-and-Go Breakfast #3: Eggs Dijon

  • Hard-boiled omega-3 eggs (Hard-boiled the night before)
  • Yogurt Dijon (2 parts plain organic soy yogurt with 1 part Dijon mustard)
  • Fresh fruit in season

Grab-and-Go Breakfast #4: Nutty Banana

  • Banana
  • Natural nut or seed butter (almond, macadamia, cashew, sunflower)
  • Chopped nuts such as Brazil nuts or walnuts

Grab-and-Go Breakfast #5: Omega Morning

  • Sardines or wild salmon
  • Red onion, tomato, and fresh dill sprigs
  • Gluten-free flax crackers
  • Pink grapefruit

Lunch Choices

Grab-and-Go Lunch #1: Soup 'n' Such

  • Lentil soup
  • Baby arugula salad with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon dressing
  • Gluten-free flax crackers
  • 1 small apple

Grab-and-Go Lunch #2: White Bean Wrap

  • Gluten-free brown rice tortilla
  • White cannellini beans
  • Fresh arugula leaves or fresh basil leaves
  • Avocado and tomato
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh pear

Grab-and-Go Lunch #3: Wild Fish Lettuce Wrap

  • Wild salmon or sardines, drained
  • Fresh dill sprigs and red onion
  • Horseradish and fresh lemon
  • Boston lettuce leaves (for the wrap)
  • Blood orange

Grab-and-Go Lunch #4: Mediterranean Salad in Minutes

  • Mesclun greens
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Kalamata olives
  • Walnuts
  • Fresh lemon juice/extra-virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free flax crackers
  • 15−20 red grapes

Grab-and-Go Lunch #5: Asian Soup and Salad

  • 1 cup gluten-free miso soup with baked tofu
  • Cabbage salad (ready and washed cole slaw mix of cabbage and carrots)
  • 30-second dressing (rice vinegar and sesame seeds)
  • Gluten-free brown rice and seaweed crackers

The key to staying on the program when you are busy or traveling is never being caught without a healthy, whole-foods eating option. I'm extremely busy. I treat patients, travel internationally to present at and attend conferences, and write books. But I stick to the programs outlined in my books. How? I always have a snack with me in case I get hungry.

In addition to the grab-and-go options above, make sure your cooler is stocked with a few emergency snack items. These might include:

  • Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, or any mixture of these
  • Healthy snack bars (see Resources for options)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Chopped vegetables in zip-top bags

However, I am also aware that eating out is sometimes necessary—both for business and pleasure. So for more on how to eat out successfully see my article Tips for Eating Out Wisely.

To learn more quick tips for success on The Daniel Plan, join my Nutrition Coaching Program.