Fill 'em Up: Ideas for Healthy Dashboard Dining

Eating on the run, or on the road, has become a way of life. Our cars are even designed to accommodate it, with cup holders and fold-down tables. Some luxury cars even have refrigerators. But it will take more to get you to good nutrition.

In less time than it takes to stop at the corner store, you can prepare healthy, utensil-free meals at home to take along for the ride. Each one contains a good source of protein, high-quality carbs and enough energy to see you through.

Breakfast:

  • Hard-boil a batch of eggs to keep in the fridge. Before heading out the door, take 30 seconds to shell one. Put it into a sealed plastic bag with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add a juice box and a banana and you have a high-protein, low-cal meal.
  • Buy or bake some low-fat whole-grain muffins and store them in the freezer. Before heading out, microwave one for a minute or two. Accompany it with a container of skim milk and a mug of herb tea.
  • Make a sandwich with all-natural peanut butter and fruit-sweetened jelly on whole-grain toast, and bring a travel mug filled with calcium-fortified orange juice. Don't worry about the fat in the peanut butter; it is the heart-healthy, monounsaturated variety.
  • Take two slices of cinnamon raisin bread, spread one with apple butter and the other with almond butter, put together and cut in half. Grab a small apple and some soymilk, and out you go.
  • Split an English muffin in two, spread each half with cottage cheese, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and broil for a minute or two in the toaster oven while you fill your travel mug with coffee. This is a low-fat, take-along cheese Danish.
  • Blender breakfast: Whirl together some nonfat vanilla yogurt, a banana, a splash of orange juice and a tablespoon or more of wheat germ. Pour into a travel mug and head out.
  • Fill a plastic container with your favorite dried cereal squares, dry roasted peanuts and raisins. Take along a travel mug of skim milk and an orange juice box.

Lunch:

Nothing beats a classic sandwich. Keep a generous supply of low-fat cold cuts, cheeses and lettuce plus other favorite fillings on hand. It takes only a minute or two to make your favorite combo. Be sure to use whole-grain breads and low-fat spread such as mustard or fat-free mayonnaise. Here are some healthy sandwich ideas that beat a double cheeseburger any day for nutrition and taste. Add a bottle of flavored soda water and a piece of fruit:

  • Red pepper hummus and sprouts on whole-wheat bread.
  • Smoked turkey breast, Provolone, lettuce and pesto on pumpernickel.
  • Low-fat cheddar cheese, honey mustard and apple slices on cinnamon raisin bread.
  • Fat-free refried black beans, avocado slices and lettuce rolled up in a tortilla.
  • Sourdough bread spread with mustard, topped with lean ham and lettuce.
  • Tofu salad (make your own or buy at local natural foods store) with sprouts on whole-grain roll.
  • Herbed low-fat cheese spread, sliced cucumber and parsley on a bagel.
  • Whole-grain crackers, string cheese, nectarine, pear, grapes or an apple and spring water.

Dinner:

  • Make an English-muffin pizza. Spread each half with pizza sauce, top with a slice of mozzarella or Provolone from the deli, sprinkle on some Italian seasoning and broil it in the toaster oven. Accompany with a bottle of juice.
  • Use any of the lunch sandwiches ideas.
  • Heat a veggie burger in the microwave and put it on a whole-grain bun with lettuce or sprouts and add baby carrot sticks, dried fruit and soda water
  • Fill pita bread with fat-free tuna or salmon salad (made up ahead of time) and fresh spinach or romaine lettuce; take along a soymilk or juice box and fig-filled cookies.
  • Make dinner a wrap. Fill your favorite flavored wrap with low-fat cheese, deli meat and sprouts, or use a wrap to eat up your leftovers. For example, for a Mexican wrap, fill it with leftover grilled chicken and add a few fresh cilantro leaves, tomato slices and lettuce.
  • Split and toast a French baguette under a broiler. On one half of the toasted bread pile on Granny Smith apple slices, turkey slices and then sliced smoked cheddar cheese. Return to the broiler until the cheese is bubbly. Meanwhile, spread the other half of the bread with honey mustard. Pop the two halves together and eat warm.
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