Menstuff® has compiled the following information on how to eat a healthy breakfast even when you travel.
Commuters regularly use their steering wheels as breakfast tables. Here's how to "Honk if you're eating a healthy meal."
As a home-care physical therapist, Ron Peterson averages 120 miles a day on the road. That's more than 600 miles each week. With his hectic schedule, he just doesn't have time to eat breakfast at his kitchen table. "I eat two meals a day in the car," he says, and one of those meals is breakfast. "I'm just not gonna sit down and eat a bowl of cereal."
For busy commuters like Peterson, eating right on the run may not be easy, but it can be done. And while driving and eating is risky, it's a reality for many folks. So if your steering wheel has to be your breakfast table, try these rules for the road.
Healthy Breakfasts: All Aboard
1. Avoid fast foods. While it's tempting to stop at the
drive-through, these meals aren't going to do much for you in terms
of health and nutrition. An egg, cheese and bacon biscuit, for
example, derives 59 percent of its 477 calories from fat. (The
recommended percentage of fat is less than 30 percent averaged over
the day or week.)
2. Pack your own breakfast and bring it along for the ride. This allows you to control the fat and calorie content of your meal and regulate its nutritional value.
3. Store healthy nonperishables in your car so they're available on mornings you walk out the door empty-handed. Possibilities include breakfast bars, rice cakes, serving-size cereal boxes and packages of dried fruit.
4. Avoid fat- and calorie-laden foods that are easy to grab, such as donuts, toaster pastries and even bagels. Most people think of bagels as low fat; they're actually one of the higher calorie breads out there. Bakery bagels, in particular, often pack as many as 300 calories to 400 calories per bagel because they're so large. And bagel sandwiches, which are growing in popularity, usually include cream cheese or other spreads, raising their calorie count to as high as 500 calories per sandwich. Better to opt for smaller, store-bought bagels and make your own sandwiches.
5. Look for alternatives. If you've left the house without breakfast and have to stop at a mini-mart, try some healthful alternatives. Instead of a donut and coffee, opt for yogurt and a banana, a breakfast bar and juice, or even a fortified shake like Carnation Instant Breakfast or Slim Fast.
6. Invest in a mini-cooler or cooler lunch bag so you can travel with healthy perishables on board. Toss in some fruit and you're off.
Quick And Easy, Make-It-Yourself Alternatives
If you're wondering what kind of breakfasts you can pack ahead of time, here are some suggestions.
Choose a regular-sized -- not super-sized -- bagel and make yourself a sandwich. Add up to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (180 to 190 calories) combined with either sliced banana or dried fruit. This concoction is a good source of protein, the fat is mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and it's hearty enough to hold you over until lunch.
Shake Up Your Morning
Try a homemade breakfast shake. Combine milk (skim or 1 percent) with one scoop of frozen yogurt, and then add pineapple juice, some banana, fresh strawberries or a combination of the three. Not only is it easy, but it also includes calcium, protein and vitamins. Add a whole banana or 1/2 cup of berries and the shake counts as a fruit serving for the day!
Skip the prepackaged convenience store muffins and bring along your own, homemade versions. It'll take a little planning, but if you set aside some time on Sunday you can make muffins and have them on hand for your commutes during the week. Here are some guidelines for making your muffins healthy:
1. Include fruit, such as bananas, apples or berries.
2. Supplement regular flour with whole-grain flours such as wheat, oat bran or corn meal. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, use 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup of whole-grain flour.
3. Some packaged muffin mixes are low fat, but you can reduce the fat even further when preparing them by replacing oil with applesauce (1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce) and eggs with egg substitute. You can also add raisins, chopped apples or bananas.
4. Add veggies. Favorites include zucchini and carrots.
Easy Breakfast, Bar None
Grab an 8-ounce carton of orange juice or skim milk and a breakfast bar, and you're set! Most breakfast bars on the market are fortified with vitamins and calcium and are definitely a better alternative to donuts. Rules of thumb for breakfast bars include:
Keep fat grams per bar 2-4 or under and eat just one!
Look for bars with more than three grams of protein.
Read the food label and look for a comprehensive profile of vitamins and minerals, comparable to what you would find on a cereal box.
Cereal Sans Spoon
If cereal is one food you never considered eating in the car, think again. Take your favorite brand -- preferably one easy to grab by the handful -- and stash it in a sealable bag. Munch the crunchies and wash them down with milk. Not only are most cereals low fat, but many are also an excellent source of fiber. One cup of shredded wheat will give you 6 grams of fiber; wheat chex have 4 grams.
So how does Ron Peterson do in his daily commute? Turns out that
most mornings he does pretty well. While he will stop once in a while
for a donut, most mornings he can be found packing his own healthful
breakfast. Some days it's a breakfast drink, other days a breakfast
bar or peanut butter on toast with coffee. OK, Ron, you can honk.