Gas Station snacks|Can goodness be found?

Posted on October 22, 2009

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finding nutritional goodness in the gas station

finding nutritional goodness in the gas station

It used to be that individuals, friends & families would gear up for road travel only over the holidays and for summer vacation. But in today’s world, we have more people on the roads than ever before, and trying to get to more places in less time that should even be possible in the time-space continuum.

But, alas, this is the world we live in today – and somewhere along that journey of highway signs, road kill, and drivers too busy texting to steer, lies the gas station.

Eternally awake to refuel both cars  & stomachs at all hours of the day and night. This 24-hour culture we live in today is proven at the fill-up station by the segue of coffee bars next to stacks of slim-jims and creepy looking breakfast sandwiches stored where once foot long, crinkled hot dogs rotated under the red sun of the heat lamps.

And there will come a day, when no matter how well you’ve packed your snacks & meals ahead of time, you will have to stop & seek nourishment from the snack food hell on earth- the gas station. Where you could fill your levi’s with snack cakes & your trucker cap with mountain blue blast slurpee.

How does anyone in their right health-conscious, fitness-intending mind find something here? Well, you must, for clearly you cannot starve – it would be your fault if you caused an accident from fainting due to lack of food in your system! You have to eat something, and you’ve been working hard to implement health & fitness into the rest of your life – you cannot seriously let one day out on the road mess that up by choosing some of the ridiculous things you’ll find on the shelf for sale at the gas station. 

And  remember, your body needs fuel every 4 hours or so to maintain its metabolism, and to ensure optimal fat burning and NOT muscle burning through the day or night. So here are some alternatives for you to go for the next time you’re on the road again. Remember, we’re going for ‘as perfect a snack/meal as possible’- does this mean it’s ok other times to have this stuff? Not if you have a choice! But at the gas station, we’re making do with what we can find, so here we go:

  • Tortilla/corn chips & salsa: hey, you can text & drive so don’t tell me you can’t dip your chip & drive! Corn chips (if eaten in moderation) only major sins are that they are made w/plenty of salt & corn oil – but when compared to pork rinds, this one’s a winner.
  • Roasted nuts: you may only find roasted & salted nuts, in which case, buy them, but drink plenty of water & be aware of your sodium intake for the next 48 hours. Good protein here, but plenty of fat too, so watch your servings.
  • Cheese sticks & a banana: God knows where that banana came from, but at least it’s wrapped up tight in it’s thick skin. And cheese sticks are usually found in the deli sections where they have the pre-made sandwiches (which you should never eat. ever.) Since there may be nothing else for you to have, if this is your meal, go for 2 cheese sticks.
  • Container of regular or chocolate milk: I would rarely tell you to eat any dairy from a source that was not hormone-free & steroid-free simply because the health risks are too great, but again, it’s a 1-time choice you need to make, and the milk will provide protein & carbs for energy.
  • Microwavable oatmeal container: Blessing of blessings if you can find these in the gas station you’re at! Some of these fancier gas stations that have 19 coffee flavors for sale, also have extensive breakfast items, and microwaves to heat things up. If you can find one of these containers that has a peel off top and you can microwave it for hot instant oatmeal, then baby, you better pony up because this is a gas station jewel! The oatmeal will provide long-lasting energy, and if you heat it with milk, will provide a decent level of protein to feed your muscles.

And now for a few rules for what never to buy at the gas station:

  • Granola bars, regular chips, sodas, slurpees, anything made with multiple different chemicals AND no redeeming nutrition qualities about it is a NO BUY!
  • Prepared sandwiches are scary little bombs of white flour, processed/sodium filled meats, and tons of dressing or mayo. This is a NO BUY!
  • That also goes for breakfast sandwiches – don’t think for a moment that “oh, I’ll just take off the english muffin & eat the egg & ham – do you really think eggs in a gas station is ever a good idea? NO BUY!
  • I shouldn’t even have to mention donuts, coffee cakes, candy bars, hot dogs & anyone who comes from the family of “don’t know if it’s even made from ingredients found on earth” – but here you go, NO BUY!

So the time you’re travelling these great roads & need to refuel at the nearest gas station, keep this post in mind and your fitness & nutrition plans intact & choose wisely as you peruse the aisles of the neon goddess, the gas station.

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Posted in: nutrition