Five ways to cope when eating on the go!


We all know how difficult it can be to eat well when we are making choices off-the-cuff.

The place to start is to plan in advance:

  • make sure we’ve got the shopping done
  • prepare some back up meals in the freezer
  • avoid shopping when we are hungry.

But what’s to be done when ‘life’ intervenes?

My past week has seen 3 nights in different hotels, trips to and from the vet with a poorly kitty, 06.00 work starts with the day not finishing until 21:00, along with lots public transport delays and motorway traffic. No wonder my diet has not been ‘normal’ this week! But I have 5 simple ways to stop disruption upsetting my eating routine or create negative eating problems.

  1. Eat with abundance not with abandon 

Just because things aren’t going to plan doesn’t mean we need to start gorging on things we wouldn’t often eat. Sure, you might have to grab a roadside pasty, or a share bag of crisps but you don’t need to binge. Enjoy them, eat slowly and recognise that you can eat them again afterwards, should you choose to.

  1. Look for better choices not perfect choices 

Viewing foods such as chocolate or biscuits as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can trigger a host of unwanted behaviours. Search out choices which allow you to be adaptable – a banana, orange or apple are perfect transportable snacks, while they will help keep you feeling in control of your choices.

  1. Stick to your healthy eating principles 

80% of healthy diet comes down to eating your fruit and veg, getting a good amount of protein and not eating past the point of fullness too often. Dried fruit may not be your usual choice, but makes a handy, nutrient packed snack on the go. Likewise, if you know a busy week is coming up, a pre-cooked chicken thigh with a bag of salad is a quick lunch option.

  1. Try and keep to distinct meal-times 

When you are on the run it’s easy to ‘grab and go’ or to ‘pick’ at food when the opportunity arises. This out-of-routine style of eating can contribute to digestive issues as well as swings in your mood and energy levels. Aim to eat at discrete moments as per normal.

  1. Don’t over-stress any stress 

Try to avoid becoming too stressed. To put things in perspective, to gain 1lb of body fat in a week you would have to be overeating by 500-1000Kcal each day. This of course is easy to do if junk/fast food fills the gaps, so taking care about what we eat is important. However, if we are careful and appreciate short term changes to our diet and routine are inevitably going to occur it shouldn’t become a source of additional stress. Remember, it’s how we deal with these occurrences that predict what impact they will have; ironically, worrying too much about them by generating negative emotions can leave us more likely to keep eating ‘off plan’.

Summing up 

To make long term beneficial change to a diet and lifestyle, having a routine and some structure to follow is essential, especially whilst you are learning new habits. But don’t set yourself up to fail. If a plan goes awry use the tips to help stop a ‘hiccup’ becoming more serious than it needs to be. 


Click here to find out more about how Ian can help with stress/emotional eating issues.


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Ian is a Registered Dietitian specialising in online weight loss coaching and personal training. Ian uses mindfulness and behaviour science to help people make sustained improvements to their health.


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