Eating on the go can be a real struggle. Healthy eating on the go can feel virtually impossible.
I consider myself an above-average eater when it comes to incorporating healthy foods into my diet. I am an avid supporter of all things Brussels sprout and make a mean oven-baked salmon. But when it comes to making quick, convenient decisions, I’m definitely one to reach for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Fine, two bags.
When you pop into a convenience store only minutes before the last train home takes off, you have mere seconds to make a game-time decision. Ninety-nine percent of the time you’ll reach for the Sour Patch Watermelon candy. You’ll tell yourself it’s a fine choice — you’re “in a rush,” and there’s simply no time to sift through 7-Eleven looking for real options. But … what if there was?
I posted up in a 7-Eleven for 41 minutes of my life to see if “healthy eats” actually exist in convenience stores. I entered the 7-Eleven located only two blocks away from my apartment on a Sunday morning at 9:46 a.m. There were approximately four other people “shopping” in the store, and I grabbed a shopping basket to start my search. The store had a total of three shopping baskets, none of which were being utilized by any of the other customers. After taking my first lap around the joint, I became very aware of how bizarre the edible options at these stores are. I expected to see chips, I expected to see nuts and I definitely expected to see candy. But canned tuna was … a questionable surprise. In that moment, staring at a rather large supply of canned fish, I knew I had underestimated this establishment.
While the store had a relatively wide range of foods, there was a deflating lack of legitimate options. I almost dropped dead when I saw they still carry Lunchables but was extremely disheartened to realize they sold only the “Turkey & Cheddar with Crackers” variety. (Everyone knows Lunchables pizza is the move.)
Lunchables aside, there were some relatively healthy options at my disposal. Greek yogurt, oatmeal and cereal were all seemingly normal breakfast choices. Premade fruit salads, hummus and pretzels, protein bars and “skinny popcorn” would make do for snacks. Finding produce to make legitimate meals, on the other hand, was going to be a real challenge. This was going to require some really questionable creativity.
I was surprised to see 7-Eleven sells deli meat in addition to some very simple premade salads. I tossed both in my basket with plans to make a more sophisticated concoction on my own, along with a bag of crunchy roasted chickpeas to use as a salad topping. I then threw a dozen eggs and a low-fat cheese stick in the basket, figuring I could use both to make an omelet for dinner one night.
I checked out of 7-Eleven with four angry, confused customers (all of which were probably buying only one bag of Doritos) waiting in line behind me. It was officially time to make convenience a lifestyle.
Here’s what my three-day diet looked like.