Survive the Stops: Eating Healthy on the Road Part 2

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It’s no secret that EMTs and Paramedics have quite a challenge finding healthy and tasty food choices while on the road. In part 1 Everyday EMS Tips I explained how to know your hunger schedule and bring your own healthy food to work. While packing your lunch provides the most control, it’s inevitable that you (or your coworkers) will want to stop and eat either at a fast food joint or restaurant. Fortunately, almost every place has at least one healthy option.

Melissa’s Best Picks

  • Water will always be your best choice for drinks, followed by unsweetened iced tea, non-fat milk and then caffeine-free diet soda.
  • Opt for build-your-own sandwich places such as Panera Bread, Subway, Quizno’s or Au Bon Pain. However not all sandwiches are created equal and in some cases can be more calories than a burger and fries. Create your sandwich with as little processed ingredients as possible. Chicken, lettuce and tomato on whole grain bread is a great choice. Add cheese, bacon, or mayonnaise and you’ll add several hundred calories. Adding a broth based soup as a side is a great way to fill up.
  • If you’re hitting the fast food joint, grilled chicken is the way to go. Look for the chicken sandwich or chicken wrap. Hold the spreads and/or ask for no bun to create a quick salad.
  • Don’t be fooled by the word salad at any restaurant.  If you do opt for a salad, choose a vegetable/fruit base with a protein such as grilled chicken or beans. Get fat-free dressing or dressing on the side and dip each forkful. Skip the croutons and breadsticks.
  • If you’re working the breakfast shift, don’t waste your calories (and energy) on sugary coffee drinks. Not only do they pack on the pounds, but they will definitely make you ‘crash’ before your shift is over! If you’re a coffee drinker, slowly take away the amount of sugar and creamer you add with each cup (eventually you won’t even miss it!) A sprinkle of cinnamon is also a great way to flavor your coffee. My favorite go-to fast food breakfast items are the egg white flatbreads from Dunkin Donuts – both are under 300 calories and really fill you up.
  • Check out roadfood.com to find non-franchise restaurants in the area and check out reviews from diners on the best options.
  • Make a pact to find one new place to try each week that serves healthy cuisine. You’ll have fun researching and trying new places and will likely find a place you enjoy that you never knew existed!

In “Eating Healthy on the Road Part 1” Everyday EMS Tips guest blogger Melissa Caserra will explained how to understand your hunger schedule and shared tips for bringing your own healthy food. Melissa is a nationally-syndicated Wellness Expert covering the latest in healthy living advice for media outlets and audiences across the country! Melissa speaks to national audiences on wellness and nutrition topics and serves as a spokesperson for various corporate and non-profit brands. She blogs regularly about healthy living at www.melissacassera.com