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Convenience Store Survival Guide (Low-Calorie Foods)

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Dear HG,

I travel a lot and am often stuck having a few convenience-store snacks instead of a real meal. (Especially when it's late and nothing else is open!) Can you recommend some choices that are balanced and filling?

Jenny on the Go

Hi Jenny,

Hungry Girl Convenience Store Food Guide

As a fellow frequent traveler, I can relate. And while convenience stores have a surprising number of guilt-free snacks these days, you wanna be smart about how you combine them if they're replacing a meal. Go for a combo that's high in protein and fiber with moderate amounts of nonstarchy carbs and healthy fats. Here are some mix-n-match picks!

Protein: Hit the refrigerated section for foods like hard-boiled eggs (I typically ditch the yolks or have just one), string cheese (light, if available), Mini Babybel cheese, and fat-free Greek yogurt. If the store doesn't have Greek yogurt, regular light yogurt is your next best bet. In the shelf-stable department, I look for tuna packets and jerky. Both are delicious and loaded with protein.

Fiber/Nonstarchy Carbs: If you see prepackaged salads (the kinds that come with separate packets of dressing), choose one that isn't buried in a mound of cheese or fried noodles. Then use that dressing sparingly. I like to top a veggie-based salad with one of those tuna packets! Other great choices? Fresh fruit and cut veggies. Just beware of the fatty dips those veggies are often paired with...

Healthy Fats: My top pick here is a 100-calorie pack of nuts. Watch out for packages that look like single servings, but actually contain three to four servings. If you can only find multi-serve bags, count out a portion, and save the rest for another time. You can have about 14 almonds or 25 pistachios for 100 calories. Snack bars made with nuts are also great -- look for ones with protein and fiber too. Some of my favorites are made by Kashi, KIND, and Luna.

My go-to convenience-store meal? It's four hard-boiled egg whites, a stick of light string cheese (regular, if they don't have light), an apple, and a 100-calorie pack of almonds. All that has only around 320 calories.

Bonus tip: Pack emergency snacks! Since you never really know what each store will have, I like to travel with smart snacks. Click for loads of my favorites.

Safe travels!

 
 

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