I am in outside sales, always on the road for lunch and occasionally dinner and morning breakfast as well. Packing a lunch is a great idea but it gets hot in TX so the idea of a cooler and cold food is not always appealing. Most areas have a grocery store but not all have healthy prepared meals. I am looking for ideas for quick eats on the road. Please offer advice given the idea I won’t know what restaurants will be in the area. I have found myself in the habit of stopping at the grocery and getting a fruit, 2 small yogurts and some bulk granola to mix. While I enjoy this, it gets old. Any advice would be appreciated. 

– Tommy S.


It sounds like you are at the mercy of what’s available wherever you find yourself at lunchtime. You’re right that some groceries do not offer a variety of ready-to-eat fresh meals or prepared produce in individual quantities. Your yogurt-fruit-granola solution works in a pinch. Here are some other ideas for a decent lunch: 

A salad mix with dressing plus the smallest container of pre-cooked protein (e.g. 6 oz chicken breast strips, 2-pack hard cooked eggs) or with a mini pull-top can of beans or tuna could work. You don’t even need a bowl – just eat out of the bag! 

Nuts or sunflower seeds are something that can serve as both a standalone snack or as a topping for your yogurt or on a salad mix. Look for them in a resealable container.  

Individual tubs of hummus with pretzel thins work well in combination with a pack of sliced raw vegetables if you can find them.  

Hot soup from the end of a self-serve bar, if there is one. For broth soups, add a soft pretzel from the bakery or hearty crackers (keep the rest of the box for later) and an individual wrapped snack cheese from the cold case. For stews, chili or heavy cream soups can be paired with some raw vegetables or an apple. 

Embrace the cold. Visit the deli case for pre-made cold salads, coleslaw, and perhaps even find roasted chicken drumsticks. You don’t have to reheat. 

For a to-go order at whatever restaurant you come across, ask if they can turn a sandwich into a wrap, adding a vegetable and holding the cheese or mayo.   

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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