Gas station shops, liquor stores, and 7-Elevens are not known for healthy snacks, but convenience. These shops are a great way for quick and easy nourishment, but just how nourished is your body after a pitstop at one of these places? The answer – not very.
We’re busier and broker than ever, so the taking extra time and spending the extra money on health can feel almost counterproductive to our goals. While this point of view is generally inaccurate to begin with, let’s consider that it is possible to eat more healthily without breaking the bank. In fact, the shops that you’re already dropping by on the way into work for a donut and a coffee sell food that might improve your health.
This list contains a list of products on the healthier end of the mini-mart spectrum. If you’re just starting to consider a healthier way of life, this is a great place to start your transition. If you are just trying to cut a few pounds before swimsuit season, this guide is also for you.
You may not have noticed — distracted by the brightly colored packaging that seems to define these places — but a large number of these shops sell bananas, apples, oranges, and other fruits. This is about as healthy a food as you can find anywhere, let alone a convenience store.
- Natural sugars provide energy.
- Most fruits are low in fats, sodium, and total calories
- Great source of Vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, and other nutrients.
- Low caloric content means you’ll be less full / hungry sooner
- Can cause indigestion or gas
Not all yogurt is net-healthy, but most yogurts will provide at least some benefits. Yogurts are also pretty common at gas stations and 7-Elevens. Just make sure to check the expiration date.
- Probiotics found in yogurt can aid digestion, promote gut health, and strengthen the immune system.
- Yogurts contain many vitamins and nutrients, including B-vitamins, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and, of course, calcium.
- Many yogurts, particularly Greek yogurt, are very high in protein content.
- Yogurt contains dairy, so is not ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals.
- Many yogurts contain a significant amount of added sugar.
Carrot / Celery Packs
Probably the most accessible and enjoyable of the veggies for you or your children. Simple and commonly sold in the refrigerated section of many a convenience store.
- Carrots and celery are low calorie foods.
- Contain fiber, natural sugars, and a small amount of protein.
- If the snack-pack comes with ranch, the ranch is not a healthy food, though it is better than most other options in the shop.
- Low calorie snacks like vegetables are less filling.
Peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds — you name the nut, we’ll tell you it’s healthy. Generally speaking, nuts are a great source of calories when you’re hungry. Even the less healthy options are far better than anything in the chip isle.
- Most nuts are high in protein content.
- Nuts are high in quality fats that your body can use right away, giving you sustained energy.
- Packaged nuts tend to be high in sodium.
- Nuts that use sunflower oil and other oils are less healthy because of the trans fats contained in partially hydrogenated oils.
Ahh, meat. To many people, it’s hard to fill up without a meat or other protein heavy snack. Luckily, the majority of convenience stores sell some form of jerky.
- Jerkies are made of meat, and thus, they are high in protein content.
- Jerkies also contain little, to no, carbohydrates, depending on how it was cured.
- Jerkies are usually very high in sodium content.
- Jerkies tend to be more expensive than most other snacks in the store.
Canned tuna is one of the healthiest options you might find at one of these shops. It is very narrow in terms of benefits it provides; however, there are very few drawbacks to this one.
- Tuna is a meat that is high protein, often serving more than 20g of protein per can.
- Tuna is loaded with healthy fats that provide energy.
- Fish, like tuna, contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Tuna contains mercury, which is a known neurological toxin. This is only understood to be dangerous at very high levels, so eating cans of tuna daily is not recommended.
- Got a can opener?
Water / Tea / Coconut Water
Sometimes, hydrating yourself with water or giving yourself a caffeine boost from some sugar-free iced tea can help fight off feelings of hunger. If you’re hungry, and you shouldn’t be, perhaps it’s more of a phycological hunger than physical, and you can consider filling up with a low-calorie beverage.
- Most sugar-free or low-calorie beverages contain few or zero calories
- This can help promote weight loss by training you to skip unnecessary meals.
- Not filling when you are truly hungry.
Gum isn’t exactly a snack, but it can serve a similar purpose to the beverages described above. Sometimes your hunger-pains might be more akin to boredom. In this case, stopping for a pack of gum might make all the difference and quell that “hunger.”
- Some gums that contain xylitol are recommended by many dentist because they are said to strengthen teeth.
- Most gums have zero or few calories, depending on the amount of sugar each stick contains.
- Sugary gums are bad for teeth and not healthy.
- Not filling when you are truly hungry.
Hopefully you found this summary helpful. The quick and tasty snacks might make you happy while you’re consuming them, but they typically come with health issues or near-term discomfort as you digest. Use this information to improve your health, even when you’re forced to buy from a place that makes healthy eating into a challenge.
If you like the information in this guide, check out our page of healthy smoothie recipes.