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Eating Healthy on the Run

With our hectic lifestyles, long hours, and the growth of two-income families, the way we eat has changed dramatically. Meals have become those foods we grab on the run and it is not always the healthiest option.


 Hectic lifestyles, long hours, and the growth of two-income families have changed the way people eat.  As a family, how many times last week did you sit down and eat a meal together? Meals have become those foods which we grab when we are hungry. 

Whether your eating on the run takes place in the car - (dash board dining is what I call it) - in the mall, or at the office, you can make healthy, low-fat/high-fiber choices.  At a grocery or convenience store you can find juice, soft pretzels, fresh fruit, fruit salad, low-fat frozen yogurt and whole wheat crackers.  If you are at the mall or at a fast food restaurant, try a salad with low-fat dressing, a baked potato with steamed veggies or a grilled chicken sandwich.

Be sure to ask to see the nutritional analysis first.

You may be surprised to find out that some grilled chicken sandwiches have as many or more calories than the hamburger you would rather have. And don’t forget about bagels, which if you add jelly or Neufchatel cream cheese, are much healthier than muffins, Danish or sweets any time of the day.

Finding a happy medium between convenience and healthy eating requires some thought and planning.

First, consider why you eat on the run and how this affects your food choices. Lack of time and stress from work prevents people from preparing meals. But you can use your microwave to make healthy foods. Frozen vegetables, for example, require little preparation, yet they are forgotten about during meal time. Keep a bag of your favorite vegetables on hand (spinach, string beans, carrots, peas), pour them in a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Nothing could be simpler.

Fresh fruits are great snacks which you can get anywhere; convenience stores, vending rooms and on the corner fruit stand. You just have to look. If you do not eat fruit during the day, set a realistic goal for yourself. Begin by eating one piece of fruit or drinking a small glass of juice. Add them to the shopping list. Dried fruits, such as raisins, are also very convenient because they will not spoil. Keep an apple or orange in your desk, or better yet, keep fruit juice in the office refrigerator instead of soft drinks.

It is possible to eat on the run and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. It does, however, take some planning and thought. It is not easy to change the way you have always eaten on the run, but it is possible.

Try this Raisin Bran Muffin Mix. It makes a large quantity and the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. Then bake the night before or in the morning while getting ready. When combined with a glass of juice and/or milk, you are off to a great start.


  • 1 (15-ounce) box raisin bran
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 cups flour
  • 5 teaspoons soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Mix in a large container the raisin bran, sugar, flour, salt, soda, and spices.
  2. In another bowl, combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Cover container and put in refrigerator.
  5. When ready to use, stir batter to distribute oil through mixture.
  6. Bake in greased muffin tins in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Tried & True Tip: Bake muffins on the weekend or night before and freeze in individual serving sizes. Then all that is needed the next morning is a quick heat in the microwave.

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

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