Following a healthy eating plan can be a challenge at the best of times, not least when you’re away from easy access to the luxury of cooking appliances, fridges and microwaves. Learn how to eat clean on the go with the tips and tricks provided in this article! You’ll be guaranteed to achieve ultimate success of following your healthy eating without compromising on the quality of food or worse yet, going hungry or thirsty.
Fortunately, learning how to eat healthy on the road is relatively straightforward and anybody can apply the below principles, regardless of how confident you are with cooking food or if you’re new to following a food plan.
The guidelines and food ideas provided below can be applied to any person, no matter what your diet or where you plan to go, including people who go to school, work, college, camping trips, day trips, shopping trips, commuting, transporting family and friends to destinations, picnics and even travelling abroad. So read on for tips and tricks to avoid being caught out and smash your diet goals!
When leaving the house for whatever reason, there are some considerations you should bear in mind if you want to maintain you clean eating regime. This is where planning in advance takes precedence. Below are a list of questions you should ask yourself to guide you in choosing how you will keep the hunger pangs at bay while away from your home.
- How long will you be away from the house and how many meals or snacks will you need to eat during that time?
- Can you eat before you leave the house to reduce the amount of snacks or meals that you’ll need to bring?
- Will you be dining out at any stage? If so, you may not require as many meals or snacks.
- Will you be bringing all your food from home or will you need to purchase it on the day?
- Have you food and drink storage containers available?
- Do you need to make this food in advance or is it already prepared?
- Do you need to bring cutlery or utensils or will they be provided?
- Will you need dressings, seasonings or the likes of sugar and milk for your tea or coffee?
- What times do you plan to eat your foods?
- How long will your flask keep your food or beverage warm or cold for?
- Where will you store your food while travelling and while waiting till it’s time to eat?
- Will you have access to a fridge within 2 hours of removing the food from your fridge?
- Will you have eaten the refrigerated foods within 2 hours of removing the food from your fridge?
- Will you need to heat the food?
- Are there cooking appliances available to cook or reheat your food?
- If you don’t have access to reheating appliances, can you store your food or drink in a flask?
- What standard of eating facilities are in the areas you will be going?
- How easy is the food to eat on the go? E.g bananas are much easier to eat than oranges, which can squirt juice everywhere and leave a citrus smell.
- Will you need to bring wipes or napkins to clean your hands with?
- How will you dispose of food waste?
- What type of fluids will you have access to throughout the day?
- Do these foods fit in with your calories or macros for the day?
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The below foods can generally withstand being kept out of the fridge for up to 2 hours. If they are not refrigerated after this time, they are susceptible to the danger zone where bacterial can rapidly grow and potentially result in food poisoning. This can be avoided by storing foods and liquids in flasks or by selecting foods that don’t need refrigeration.
Flasks: Food flasks are extremely convenient as you can hold hot and cold foods for hours on end without the need to refrigerate them or heat them up. Examples include porridge, broth, pasta, meat, fruit, yoghurt, soups and even stews, to name but a few foods. The quality of flasks has immensely improved over the years.
In terms of food flasks of excellent quality, the Food Flasks 2 Pack 17 oz + 24 oz Insulated Food Container is an absolute steal as it comes with not just 1, but 2 food flasks! I honestly thought that there must be a catch because almost any product of similar specification was charging the same price for just 1 flask. But there’s no catch, trust me – I spent a while researching! It also boasts an impressive ability to keep foods hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours, and even comes with 2 folding spoons for added convenience.
Leftovers: All those meals you created during your meal prep marathons can finally earn their keep by fuelling your breaks and lunches. Whether it’s porridge, a yoghurt and granola pot or a chicken curry, ensure the foods you bring with you can be eaten at your destination, bearing in mind the food facilities available to you.
Ready meals: While they’re often not the healthiest of options, food manufacturers are endeavouring to create healthy ready-meals designed for consumers who are conscious of counting macros, calories and avoiding processed foods. Once you find a meal that you have deemed healthy, stock up on a few or purchase them on the day, provided you have access to a microwave or the necessary cooking appliance.
Salads: Whether you invest some time and effort preparing your own salad at home or you purchase a ready-made one in the supermarket, they’re rather portable provided you have some cutlery along with you. Sometimes it’s best to bring your dressing separately in the original container or pour it into a salad dressing squeezy pot for ultimate convenience.
Sandwiches / Wraps: Don’t overlook the humble sandwich or wrap as a meal while on the go. Remember, these don’t need heating up, which makes them perfect if you’re going to be lacking cooking appliances. Ideally, as opposed to buying them, you should make your own healthy version and either wrap it in tin foil or place it in a container, which protects it from being squashed and is also more environmentally friendly!
Yoghurt: The single serving yoghurt pots are very convenient to bring on the road. Provided you’re not planning on leaving the yoghurt sit for greater than 2 hours outside of a refrigerated zone, this food would be an ideal item to bring along, particularly if you’re bringing it to school, work, college or somewhere with a fridge. Alternatively, you could just eat it within a few hours of removing it from the fridge, or pop into a supermarket and buy some there.
The type of adventure that you’ll be embarking on will be influential in determining the type of snacks that you can bring to keep hunger at bay. The below portable snack are relatively low maintenance insofar that they don’t require refrigeration, freezing or heating. What’s more is most of these items come individually wrapped, so you can literally grab them and pop them in your bag with no preparation needed.
Bento snack boxes: Bento boxes have recently exploded onto the market, with various food influencers creating delicious Instagram-worthy bento meals that we can only yearn to make! Bento snack boxes add so much variety and the options are immense! Below is some inspiration on foods which many bento snack boxes include:
- Protein: meat slices, tuna, egg, greek yoghurt
- Fat: nuts, peanut butter, hummus, cheese slices or string cheese
- Carbohydrate: fruit or vegetable, e.g. apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, peppers, raisins, crackers, rice cakes
- Treat: Healthy bar, popcorn, fruit and seed mix
Eggs: Hard boiled eggs can last for up to 6 days refrigerated and are so easy to prepare in advance. Seasoned with a bit of pepper, chilli flakes or even paprika add a kick of flavour. They’re a healthy, filling snack that can be eaten on the go.
Fruit: Ideally you would wash the fruit before you leave, but you could also opt for fruits which need to be peeled instead, e.g. bananas. You do need to be slightly cautious with certain soft fruits that are not as capable of enduring bangs and being stored in bags for hours or even days on end. Apples tend to be rather rigorous, but berries, bananas, oranges and grapes for example, may get squashed or start to spoil if left for too long in unsuitable storage conditions. Many supermarkets now feature a grab and go section where you can buy packaged fruit which is ready to eat.
Nuts: It’s imperative not to neglect including a source of healthy fats in your diet. Nuts are a prime source of healthy fats and are easily portable. Whether you apportion out individual quantities into a container or you purchase individual packets, there’s no denying their convenience. Just ensure to opt for healthy nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts and peanuts, as opposed to nuts that have been salted or flavoured.
Protein bars: These are convenience at their best. Unlike fruit, they don’t spoil or expire easily and they’re relatively clean to and quiet to eat (unless you start chewing like a gorilla!). They’re also excellent as a way to keep your protein levels up, while also being rather filling; in addition, they are often a more superior source of satiety and satisfaction when compared with a regular chocolate bar or cereal bar, which are often laden with sugar.
My all-time favourite bar is the Biotech Zero bar, and here I explain why I can’t get enough of them: Biotech Zero Bar product review – high protein low carb bar
Protein snacks: Check out any supplement website and you discover an ever-growing list of protein snacks other than protein bars. You can choose from crisps, waffles, wafers, beef jerky, protein bagels, protein balls and so on. Again, similar to the protein bars, they’re very convenient to eat; the only watch out is that they often don’t contain as much protein as protein bars.
Rice cakes: Rice cakes are almost always endorsed by dietitians as healthy snacks, if you purchase them topped with dark chocolate or yoghurt, it adds some flavour to them so they’re not as bland.
Smoothies and juices: If made with the correct ingredients, smoothies and even juices are the equivalent to a meal. Smoothie bowls are all the range at the moment, so adding it to a portable container is the only difference being made here. Have you tried adding oats or even protein powder to your smoothie, or both? It’s not only filling and tasty, but it also adds a twist to your standard bowl of porridge.
Flasks: You can fill a flask with tea, coffee, and even alcoholic beverages if you’re so inclined, and like the food flasks, they also boast an impressive capability to keep your contents hot or cold for extended periods.
For example, the Hiwill Insulated Travel Coffee Mug, Double Walled Vacuum Stainless Steel Sports Water Bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours! Not only can it achieve that astounding record, it’s also leakproof, BPA and toxin free and can hold up to 450ml / 16 oz of virtually all drinks. So there’s no need to worry, this flask will keep you hydrated in style, regardless of the beverage or type of trips that you are on.
Protein powder: Don’t sacrifice your protein intake simply because you’re on the go and can’t eat a meal at the table. Add a scoop of protein powder to an empty shaker bottle so that you can mix it later. You can even buy single portion sachets for optimal convenience. Just make sure you either will have access to water or can bring or purchase a bottle of water to mix with the protein powder.
Travel mugs: These are an absolute must for people who enjoy their drinks on the go. Not everyone always has the luxury of sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or throughout the day, and the last thing you want to experience is a headache or a dip in energy levels due to a lack of caffeine. If the thought of a flask sounds excess for the amount that you’ll be drinking or too large of a unit to carry around, investing in a good quality travel mug will serve you for years!
This Double Walled Travel Mug Vacuum Insulation Stainless Steel with Leakproof Lid is an Amazon Choice product with glowing reviews, possesses leakproof and spill proof features and fits neatly in your car and backpack. So brush away fears of your beverage spilling all over the place and destroying your car, handbag or contents of your backpack. Additionally, it can keep 384 ml / 13 oz hot and cold for up to 6 hours. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered for those long car journeys or busy work days!
- Planning your meals and trips in advance is paramount to eating clean on the go
- Refrigerated foods will need to be consumed or refrigerated within 2 hours of being removed from your fridge
- Fruits are a healthy snack for people on the go, but some of them are liable to bruising or spoilage
- Protein bars and snacks are a convenient and quick way to fuel up on protein
- Flasks are ideal for keeping foods and liquids hot or cold for extended periods
- Travel mugs are essential for any coffee or tea drinkers who are on the go
With the above information, food and drink suggestions and tools to your aid, you should be able to smoothly whiz through the day while being prepared for any eventuality or trip that the day throws at you. Having some snacks left in the car or even in your handbag is a foolproof method of ensuring you don’t get caught out when hunger strikes or your excursion or your day lasts a bit longer than expected.
Also, investing in top quality items such as the ones listed above will guarantee success on your road to eating on the go, so make sure that you take bite the bullet right now and invest in the necessary gadgets.
How do you prepare for a journey out of the house? Do you have a travel mug practically glued to your hand? What kind of snacks do you eat, or do you simply eat whenever you feel hungry or the opportunity presents itself? Please share your comments, experiences and queries below!
Harney, G., 2012. Eat Clean On-The-Go | Fitnessista Healthy Eating. [online] The Fitnessista. Available at:
Rheiner, N., 2020. Eating Clean On The Go: It’s All In The Planning. [online] Breaking Muscle. Available at: