Convenient ways to eat healthy at The Beach
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 00:09
There are a lot of things you shouldn’t eat at the convenience stores on campus. However, for health conscious students trying to fill up without filling out, the convenience stores aren’t just diet pitfalls to be avoided. Hidden amongst the junk food is a wide variety of nutrient-packed options to ensure ample energy for a long school day.
Breakfast bagels and frosted donuts are never an ideal start to the morning, providing only quickly digestible carbohydrates in the form of sugar and calorie-dense fats that set up the body for a quick relapse into hunger. When in the mood for a to-go breakfast, grab a “Clif Bar” instead. It has whole oats, grains and protein, and is available in numerous flavors that will satisfy a morning sweet tooth.
For lunch, any frozen “Lean Cuisine” or “Healthy Choice” meal serves as a good entree. Avoid the heat-lamp hamburgers and metal-roller hot dogs, and be wary of prepackaged subs that can cram a whole day’s worth of sodium into a simple lunchmeat sandwich. Anything that provides more than 35 percent of your daily value for sodium is best left on the shelf.
Most meals have carbohydrate side dishes, and carbs are a preferred snacking choice. For the health-conscious, chips in general should be avoided, as most are loaded with fats and salt while offering little nutritional value. Try any “Food Should Taste Good” snack instead. They boast a wide variety of health claims, like being gluten-free and vegan, and offer the healthy fats and complex carbohydrates that the body needs. And as a bonus, they actually taste really good, so flavor isn’t sacrificed for health.
Just finish a workout at the gym? Pass on beefy protein bars. They aren’t bad like candy is bad, but most offer huge amounts of protein while lacking the other two essential nutrients, carbohydrates and fats. Unless being eaten as a meal replacement or a means to add muscle mass, the huge amounts of protein they offer are unnecessary. Go for a “Balance Bar” instead. “Balance Bar’s” provide protein, fats and carbohydrates in the ideal proportions instead of focusing on just one.
Fruit. This item is debated among some students who claim the high markup on price makes the purchase unadvisable. By economic standards, that holds true — nutritionally, not so much. Fruits, along with vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, are the most nutrient dense foods available. So, if the aim of a purchase is to buy the healthiest possible item and not find the best deal, then fruit is still the way to go.
Avoid Gardetto’s, “Chex Mix “or similar salty, fatty snacks. They are nutritionally sparse, meaning that they offer very few nutrients per calorie and are a sure fire way to sabotage any healthy eating plan. The worst offender is “Cup Noodles,” packing a whopping 12 grams of fat and 50 percent of the advised daily amount of sodium into only 300 calories.
The convenience stores on campus house more empty calories and sugary sweets than anyone could ever need. It is a snack shack, after all. But strewn about amongst the diet-destroyers are a surprising number of healthy options that will leave any 49er feeling ready to take on the day.