- Gas station food… yuk? Or YUM!?
- What’s the healthiest thing to eat when you’re pumping gas?
- My best dating advice…
- Picture diary & bust up 😮
- I lost 30 pounds 23+ years ago by eating the SAME way I eat at a gas station
- My 7-Eleven exposé
Gas station food to the rescue!
Whether you’re on the road because you’re presenting at a Rotary Club, visiting family for Thanksgiving or rushing to a hospital… It’s important to be able to pop into a gas station, like 7-Eleven, and cobble together something decent to meet your body’s needs—without feeling guilty or deprived.
I’ve been in all the above situations ↑↑↑
And thankfully eating the way I outline below makes grabbing something on-the-go EASY at a:
- convenience store
- museum cafeteria
- or tiny tuck shop on a ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia
7-Eleven is Iconic
What should I eat at a gas station?
7-Eleven operates, franchises, and licenses 71,100 stores in 17 countries as of July 2020— WikipediaI’m focusing on a 7-Eleven because it’s an international chain of convenience stores that’s been around since 1927. And it’s adapted so well over time.
While it’s always worth keeping a healthy snack in your purse to prevent getting panicky-hungry (which can lead to overeating and bingeing), it’s not always possible.
If you want it we can get it from a 7-Eleven.
Pizza, pretzels, dryer sheets,
Pickles, tall boys, doggy treats
We don’t need it but let’s get it from the 7-Eleven
Slurpee’s, light bulbs, anti-freeze
Here’s your order, nacho cheese…
-Yip Yop music duo
7-Eleven is snack heaven
When I popped into my local 7-Eleven on Queen West in Toronto, I was shocked to see just how many one-ingredient foods were available.
7-Eleven suggests that the world is making more natural options convenient.
However, the key to eating-on-the-run is to be flexible.
And pick the best choices possible without worrying.
For instance, roasted almonds aren’t as great as raw almonds… but both are packed with far more nutrients and energy that your body can RECOGNIZE, and therefore USE (vs. store as fat), than fluorescent-orange Cheetos.
On the other hand, remember, a few treats here and there are part of a healthy routine.
If you decide to make one of your weekly treats Cheetos at a gas station en route to see your sister is Syracuse… well, gosh-darn it, just do it!
Ok, so there’s tons of treats and sweets available to eat at these quick-stop stores. But the focus of this 7-Eleven field trip is finding healthy options to eat on-the-go.
Just like your car, you need fuel to keep you running for miles.
But you don’t want to just get from A to B.
You’re better than that!
You want your body to be able to run in peak performance.
Then you FEEL good!
When I lost 7 pounds after COVID (b/c I couldn’t go to the gym for a while) I felt like I could fly.
I want every woman to feel that way.
What’s the healthiest thing to eat at a gas station?
Let’s start with meals.
Then we’ll move on to snacks.
The big focus for both?
Figuring out healthy options for every food group, so you can mix and match.
On-The-Go Meals at a gas station
My 7-Eleven had pizza hot at the front and frozen at the back.
There was also:
- microwaveable macaroni and cheese
- some exquisite-looking (vacuum-packed) chow mein
- & oodles of Mr. Noodles
Plus other choices.
While these kind of ready-to-eat convenience meals often have all sorts of additives, it’s not the end of the world to eat one of these grab-and-go meals if they help sustain you until your next meal. Which hopefully can be a healthy option.
Though out of all of the meal choices at 7-Eleven, my preference would be pizza.
It feels like the least mucked-about meal. (Least processed.)
Bread + Tomato Sauce + Cheese!
Plus I just love pizza!
ONE DAY Meal Plan you’ll love!
See my ONE DAY Meal Plan at the end of this post or here re: what to pair with pizza to make it a balanced meal.
HINT: some veg, like a salad!
My ONE DAY Meal Plan will also give you some breakfast, lunch and snack ideas.
After people try it, they send me incredible feedback, like this:
I’ve started incorporating whole milk and I’m feeling physically so much better and it’s only been 3 days. Also, I’ve found that whole milk helps me eat less. I had two pieces of pizza last night with salad, which I hardly ever have salad with. And I never have just two pieces of pizza. It’s always been 3 or 4. Looking forward to seeing where all these better choices lead me.
– Chad, USA
If you like my ONE DAY Meal Plan, you’ll LOVE ❤️ my Mix ‘N Match Meal book that I’m giving as a fast-action Bonus for people who participate in my group program called: What the F do I eat? My program shows you how to unlock your HAPPY weight (I lost 30 pounds)—without dieting, the same way I did 23+ years ago (Coming Soon!)
If there isn’t a salad in the crisper at the gas station, then grab an apple. 🍎
It’s full of fiber, goes great with pizza and ticks the fruit and veg part of a ROUGHLY balanced meal made MOSTLY of whole foods.
Eat at a gas station so you can stick to your routine
There’s not always time to hit up a restaurant or even a drive-thru if you’re in a rush.
Sometimes pairing a food pick up while you make a gas pit-stop can shave 10 minutes off your I’m-already-running-late journey.
Or you might find yourself in a one-horse town and all the taverns are closed.
(That’s happened to me so many times because I used to do a lot of driving at all hours for my literacy-based, self-esteem building program called Who Is NOBODY?)
Sticking to your healthy breakfast-lunch-dinner REPEAT routine, as closely as possible (especially when you’re just starting to normalize your relationship with food aka building healthy habits) should be a priority—even if you’re not able to eat the healthiest options.
Just get something that resembles a meal in your body.
On-the-go Snacks at a gas station
The name 7-Eleven is misleading… because it’s now open 24 hours.
And there were lots of other surprises inside!
When I first entered I was like… there’s so many tide-me-over options, where should I start?
But like any meal or snack you assemble, the best way to begin is to look at what’s available by food group. And try to make around 1/3 of your plate fresh fruit or veg.
Healthiest FRUIT & VEG options to eat at a gas station like 7-Eleven
I love food that grows on trees and comes out of the ground.
Food that rots!
So when I entered 7-Eleven, I naturally gravitated to what’s available in the way of fruit and veg first.
As I walked through the doors I assumed there wouldn’t be fresh food.
So I was amazed to see all the apples and oranges available.
There was also cut up carrot sticks and fresh mango slices…
Nature’s candy was everywhere!
The pre-sliced options came with a yogurt-y looking dip.
Often these kinds of spreads are full of artificial ingredients.
So they’re not the top choice.
Or if you really crave mango you can always throw out the sweet sauce it comes with.
Either way, your pants will still fit the next day.
Just do your best to eat natural food.
And if you can’t?
Don’t make it a thing.
One unhealthy meal won’t break you.
And one healthy meal won’t make you.
Personally I’m not in the habit of dipping already-delicious fruit and veg into a sweet dip, so the idea doesn’t appeal to me anyways.
Healthiest DAIRY options to eat at a gas station like 7-Eleven
The only yogurt available was flavored.
Vanilla and fruit-bottom yogurt is full of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners and all sorts of other unnatural ingredients that confuse your body.
They give you a sugar high and then crash so you stay hungry.
There’s no need to invest in a self-defeating snack when there’s so many other options.
PLUS… you can win 1 of 10 PS5 consoles (!)
My 7-Eleven gas station convenience store didn’t have whole milk
But 2% is the next best bet and good enough is frankly, good enough. And much better than chocolate milk or pop.
Stay away from sugar!
There were also a variety of cheese slices available.
Lots to choose from!
I was alarmed in the happiest of ways.
Healthiest PROTEIN options to eat at a gas station like 7-Eleven
The array of nuts blew my mind.
There were all sorts of types, combinations and stuff done to them.
They even had the gold-standard of nuts: raw!
I’m so thankful to all the voices that have chimed in and put pressure on these time-tested chains, like 7-Eleven, to get some natural food on their shelves.
…Then, just when I was about to investigate carbs, I saw the guy at the till looking at me and my camera…
My BUST UP at 7-Eleven whilst looking for the healthiest thing to eat at a gas station
So I went over and genuinely gushed about his store and told him what I was doing.
It was a friendly exchange.
Then I saw him disappear to the back and thought:
What a cool, forward-thinking dude.
Not that it’s going above and beyond to let someone do something legal in your store.
But, you know, it’s just a nice feeling when someone seems kind.
Healthiest CARBOHYDRATE options to eat at a gas station like 7-Eleven
Turning my attention back to the food group that should be about ⅓ of what you eat to make a meal or snack balanced (see the plate I made with nail polish above ↑↑↑ N.B. It’s just a prop… don’t eat off nail polish)…
I decided to seek out pretzels.
Hot-rotisserie-style pretzels aren’t too bad a choice.
I love them!
As I scanned the store for more starchy options…
What to my wondering eyes should appear?
But another 7-Eleven employee who opened with:
First-off, I’d like to highlight his EXCELLENT ice breaker and stellar customer service.
So I said:
“I’ve been instructed to do an undercover inspection.
If you continue to interfere I’ll have to call the 7-Eleven headquarters.”
So, ya, that’s not exactly how it went down.
Through my mask I squeaked:
“Oh, sorry! I’m just writing about all the super healthy options 7-Eleven has to eat.”
…My words were met by silence.
“But I’ll just put my camera away and get a coffee and go.
Thanks so much!”
This exchange at my 7-Eleven was kind of a blessing in disguise
Because it set me into action.
…Much like that of someone truly in a rush to get in-and-out of a 7-Eleven.
Instantly I shifted into an I’ve-got-to-get-back-on-the-road, snack-shopping scenario.
So I stopped playing casual tourist and began executing my 7-Eleven mission with military precision.
Finding the healthiest thing to eat at a gas station when the clock’s a tickin’
The key is to be quick.
Otherwise you may as well hit up a grocery store that has all the things and make a top-notch meal.
So with a full heart, gratitude and thanks, to the tattle tale at the till (and just a titch of bitter resentment) I grabbed my final picks in a flash.
My 4 healthy food choices at 7-Eleven
After politely refusing a plastic bag (b/c I’m classy like that) I put the spoils of my jaunty sojourn into a reusable bag, turned on my heel and made a swift exit with a:
- green apple
- pack of Babybel cheese
- coffee with cream (they didn’t do lattes.)
- raw almonds (no salt! Salt just makes you want more.)
And yes, if I was super hungry or making this into more of a meal-on-the-move vs. a snack, I could’ve bought a hot pretzel for carbs.
But as I said at the top, if I was making a meal I’d probably just pick one of 7-Eleven’s super cute personal pan pizza’s, an apple and milky coffee.
And frankly, daaaaaahling, after the whole bust up, I just wasn’t that hungry.
I hate conflict!
So while I’m all about:
ROUGHLY balanced meals and snacks
made MOSTLY of whole foods
It’s ok, especially with snacks, to be short a food group or two if you’re not hungry.
(Sometimes I just want a piece of fruit for a snack if my next meal is soon.)
7-Eleven helps you make the healthiest food choices at a gas station
As my new friend rang my snack through (picture in a mo ↓↓↓) and I forked over a hefty 11 bucks, not 7… I saw a beautiful row of oranges and apples again, and bananas!!!
Right by the cash register.
to give consumers one last chance to make a healthy choice
& encourage whole food eating.
Bravo 7-Eleven! 🎉🎉🎉
As I was about to leave I considered doing a sneaky shot of the fresh fruit.
(I mean, had I not initially turned myself in, I could’ve got another photo or two.)
But alas, I abstained.
Here’s a photo of a banana I took at home (to avoid ruffling feathers):
In hindsight, a banana is probably an even better option than an apple because it’s less juicy.
…If you’re one of those people who like to keep your car clean.
We use our car like a traveling basement.
For city folk like me, when I see a car I think STORAGE!
More space for more stuff.
Another perk of choosing a banana as a healthy choice at a gas station?
You don’t have to wash it before you eat it because nature has packaged it, just so.
The yellow casing is even biodegradable!
I swear, Mother Nature thinks of everything.
Tah-dah! The healthy food that made the final cut at 7-Eleven
So here’s a pic of what I walked out with:
Breaking down the cost of a healthy choice at a gas station
While $11 big ones is a bit on the steep side, I’d likely just eat 1-2 of the Babybel cheeses.
And probably ⅓ of the almonds.
So some of this purrr-chase could really stretch out over a couple of snacks.
All in all I thought the food available at 7-Eleven was lovely
Which is more than I can say for the staff.
Just kidding. They weren’t half bad.
So there you have it!
How to navigate food on the go.
If you’re familiar with TO, this photo ↑↑↑ was taken on the south side of Trinity Bellwoods, famous for it’s white squirrels.
Debriefing after my bust-up at 7-Eleven
When I rejoined Alex and Rocky, and a few stray pigeons:
waiting for me outside in a -20 degrees February Toronto…
(Unsolicited advice I like to dish out: Don’t have a list of qualities you want in someone when you date. They’ll surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed of! Alex is beyond patient. For me, finding a partner is all about finding someone can grow with.)
…So when I rejoined Alex & Rocky and recounted the 7-Eleven events <aka licking my wounds> Alex said I should have told the store manager I was from 8-Twelve…
I totally didn’t get it.
What else do I like to do on the way home?
Sure, if I’m hungry when I’m on the road, I love to grab a nutrient-rich snack from a gas station… or pizza, milky coffee and an apple for a quick meal.
But while I’m taking those first magical sips of a hot, milky coffee, and the car is still parked up, it’s so good to “call you on the way home…” ❤️
I like to call you on the way home…
What’s your favorite healthy food to bring in the car, tube or train?
Do you keep a snack in your purse, briefcase or backpack?
What would you assemble at a gas station , like 7-Eleven, based on what you just read?
Let me know in comments below ↓↓↓
PS Next blog post is all about TROUBLESHOOTING at the gas station. We’ll cover 5 will-change-the-way-you-eat-EVERYWHERE ! questions that come up when you’re picking the healthiest snack on the go. Got a question you want me to include? Leave it below in the comments. Thanks! xo
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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it
Great article Kelly! And so helpful and practical as always! You make it so much more simple by focusing on each meal and how we can make it slightly better each time. Thank you for your hard work and your fabulous self!
You’re so smart to mention STRATEGY here Lacie!! Yes.. it’s not just about healthy info (what to eat) it’s also about taking small steps and focusing on improvement (vs. perfection)… Step 3 in my book! Like if someone is used to only having coffee, adding an apple is a beautiful next step. Or, if someone is used to having 3 cookies, then having 2 cookies plus an apple is a fantastic, healthy tweak to their routine. Building habits slowly = the fastest way to build habits that last so you can unlock your HAPPY weight (for good!) without dieting! So excited to see your name. xo
Thanks Kelly! After having my baby and having to make changes for 9 whole months, it really brought home the idea of how healthy habits can really take over and healthy choice can become automatic if you just give it enough time. I’m looking forward to forming more healthy habits, one at a time!
You always have such insightful reflections Lacie! When I was 30 pounds overweight I thought I’d be fighting my cravings for donuts etc. forever. But when I finally started meeting my body’s needs and was building healthy habits, my cravings changed to healthier choices and it was so freeing. Congratulations on having another baby. And so excited for you to build those healthy habits to role model for your kids. Lots of love! xoKelly
Thanks for all your healthy ideas, Kelly!! 🙂
Hope there was a few choices that sounded good to you Kathy! I was truly so surprised to see so many beautiful options!! AWESOME. Thanks for your message. xo