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November 23, 2011

Healthy choices exist when eating on the go

Each week a nutritionist from the University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post on healthy eating. This week, Elaine Pelc weighs in on healthy snacks.

Most people don’t eat three meals a day. Lack of time is a common complaint of those who skip breakfast and lunch.

It is very important to feed your body at regular intervals throughout the day. Doing so maximizes the efficiency of your metabolism and helps keep your body strong and well-nourished.

Having a balanced meal while you’re on the run is possible with a little forethought.

Grocery shelves house many meal replacement options, many in the form of bars or drinks. The difficulty is knowing which ones are good for you. Remember that your body burns through carbohydrates faster than it does fat and protein.

Choosing options with a small amount of healthful fats and a decent amount of protein will help keep you full longer. The trick is to find a bar or drink that has a nutrient composition that is similar to a balanced meal.


If you are more of a “bar” person, look for something that is between 150 and 300 calories, with at least 5 grams of protein and less than 5-10 grams of fat. Kellogg’s makes a variety of Special K Protein meal bars that are less than 200 calories and have 10 grams of protein. Some other bar options are Cliff Bars, Luna Bars, Think Thin bars, Slim-Fast meal bars and ProBar Halo bars.


Drinks are another meal replacement option. Some good products include Slim-Fast shakes, Glucerna, Ensure or Boost. You can also make your own protein shake with three-quarters cup of low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt, three-quarters cup of frozen fruit, one-quarter cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or light juice.

Fast meals

Some people prefer on the go options that more closely resemble a meal. Try a low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt with a one-quarter to half a cup of high-fiber cereal or a sandwich packed the night before.

Other healthful snack ideas to use in a pinch:

1-2 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a piece of fruit.

Almonds and walnuts in pre-portioned bags.

High-fiber cereal.

Single-serving bags of low-fat popcorn.

Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.

Eating a balanced diet while on the go can be easier than you think. These suggestions can help ensure that being on the run doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your diet.

Posted by Kim Walker at 3:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Nutrition

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Andrea Siegel, a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covers mostly crime and courts in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, as well as legal issues. She wishes she was more physically fit, and, as she's more fond of chocolate than exercise, fitness is a challenge. Her partner on a one-mile-plus daily walk is the family dog, a mixed breed named Moxie, and she exercises at the gym where the D.C. snipers once worked out.
Jerry Jackson has been a photo editor at The Baltimore Sun for 14 years and an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. Inspired by the movie "Breaking Away," he started racing as a teenager in Mississippi when leather "brain baskets" were still the norm. He regularly commutes to work by bike and still enters several mountain bike races a year for fun.
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Leeann Adams, a multimedia editor at The Baltimore Sun, also dabbles in content for the mobile website and iPhone app and covers the Ravens via video. She did a triathlon to celebrate her 40th birthday and continues to swim, bike and run -- none of them quickly, though. Her biggest fitness challenge is to balance working, working out, spending time with her husband and being a mom to a 6-year-old boy.
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Anica Butler, the Sun's crime editor, is a former high school runner and recovering vegetarian who spent more of her early-adult years on a bar stool than working out. She is currently training (though poorly) for a half marathon and is trying to live a generally healthier lifestyle. She also hates the gym.
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