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60 secrets, tips and tricks to eat clean, healthy on your busiest days

Posted at 8:55 PM, Sep 12, 2014

You're busy. Really busy.

Don't you dare go through a drive-thru... or try to feel "full" from a coffee or soda... or journey to the vending machine... or reach into a baggie full of preservatives (a.k.a snacks)... you get the point.

Eating clean and healthy foods on the go can be very tough, especially when our jam-packed schedules keep us from sitting down to enjoy a prepared, balanced meal.

So how can you maintain your nonstop day, and also a diet of wholesome food choices?

I dug deep to find options -- a lot of 'em.

Rounded up from some of today's most well-known health and fitness publications, to the team at WCPO 9 On Your Side and the Tri-State community, here are 60 ways you can blend your busy lifestyle with beneficial fare that's good for your body:

Harper's BAZAAR
1. Turkey jerky has 10 grams of protein, but only 60 calories. It's a fat-free option to store in your desk, handbag or briefcase. Plus, protein takes longer to digest than fat and carbs, so you will feel fuller longer.

2. Popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast has just a few calories. Popcorn is packed with fiber and metabolism-boosting vitamin B12.

3. Diced melon is a natural food with a high water content to help you feel full by eating less. A 1-cup serving contains about 45 calories.

4. Baked zucchini chips sprinkled with paprika and a touch of sea salt will boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite and lower your blood pressure. Bake zucchini slices at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

5. Health Warrior Chia Bars give you omega-3 fatty acids, iron and help absorb sugar to promote weight loss.

6. No-bake oatmeal bites are low-fat, high-protein superfoods. "Combine 1 cup dry quick oats, 2/3 cup coconut flakes, 1/2 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup whole chia seeds, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup raw honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour in an airtight container, then roll into 1-inch balls, which you can eat throughout the week," Harper's BAZAAR writer Rosa Heyman suggests.

Oxygen Magazine

7. Concord grapes are rich in anthocyanins, a.k.a. a natural antioxidant, which protects our cells from ultraviolet light damage, pollution and helps slow the aging process.

8. Veggie sticks (carrots, celery, zucchini or sweet peppers) dipped in low-fat hummus or cottage cheese.

9. Sandwich snacks: Shred two ounces of turkey breast and place on half a toasted whole wheat English muffin. Place two thin slices of avocado and a large sliced strawberry on top.

10. Prepare flaxseed tortillas in advance: In a small bowl, mash one-quarter cup of blueberries and sprinkle with cinnamon. Spread one tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto on half of a large flaxseed tortilla, then top with the blueberry mixture.

11. Easy veggie wraps: One medium whole-grain tortilla wrapped around 1 tablespoon hummus, two tomato slices and four cucumber slices

Yoga Journal

12. Dip raw carrots, cucumber, celery and whole grain pita bread triangles in hummus.

13. Pack a sandwich that includes fresh fruit and sprouted bread, such as sliced peaches and goat cheese, ripe pear and almond butter, or strawberries and honey with hemp or sunflower seed butter.

14. Spread a whole grain rice cake with almond butter and top with sliced bananas.

15. Prepare a few days worth of salsa that will stay fresh in the fridge and can be grabbed as you run out the door. Try combining chopped mango, red pepper and red onion with cooked black beans, olive oil and lime juice. Keep a pack of pita chips handy for dipping.

16. Make your own trail mix of dried fruit, sunflower seeds and dried coconut.

Women's Health

17. Spinach is a star at stopping cravings. Toss some into a baggie and add strawberries for flavor.

18. Watermelon bites contain phenylalanine, which boosts mental focus, endurance, mood and memory.

19. Half-cup of edamame, when eaten out of the shell, provides protein and a little pick-me-up.

20. Dried prunes have a fantastic amount of fiber.

21. Clementines can be your go-to when on the go. Easy to carry around in a bag, they're smaller than oranges and easy to separate into bite-sized segments. Each small clementine comes with vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Men's Health

22. A handful of Kashi Go Lean cereal supplies 13 grams or protein, 10 grams of fiber and kicks out high fructose corn syurp.

23. Rudi's Organic Bakery Honey Sweet Wheat bagels can come along for your commute, and bring six grams of protein with them.

24. Lifeway Lowfat Blueberry Kefir is smooth in texture and sweet in taste. A great substitute for a smoothie if you need a break from your norm.

25. Peeled Snacks 'Much-Ado-About-Mango' gluten-free dried fruit snacks have one simple ingredient - mango - just like dried fruit snacks should be.

26. Primal Strips (vegan jerky) in Mesquite Lime flavor: Made from seitan, a type of wheat gluten, each strip's 10 grams of protein also serves up 6 percent of an average daily diet's iron intake.

Mind Body Green

27. Sandwich made with avocado spread rather than mayo is an ideal quick dose of antioxidants, and more than 25 necessary nutrients.

28. Sprouted wheat bread is cleaner than regular wheat bread because it's less processed and easier to digest.

29. Prepped greens are easy to grab from your refrigerator. Buy romaine, spinach, kale, collards, etc., then wash and dry them right when you get home from the market.

WCPO 9 On Your Sideteam

30. Producer Emily Hanford: "Make two or three salads at a time, so I just have to grab one out of the fridge before going to work."

31. Web Editor Maxim Alter: "I eat something really filling, like a banana and peanut butter, as long as the snack has a lot of protein."

32. Anchor Tanya O'Rourke: "I pack honeycrisp apple slices and almond butter ... or plain yogurt, some berries and homemade granola."

33. Reporter Mario Ramirez: "We are all about Greek yogurt on the go for GMTS. I also carry a granola bar and a banana in my backpack for snacking."

34. Reporter Evan Millward: "Yay Greek yogurt! I'm also big on produce and granola bars when I'm out in the field."

35. Sports Videographer Mark Slaughter: "I like to make big salads, and if I'm out I stop at a salad bar during the week. Eating right helped me lose 40 pounds."

36. Community Manager Libby Cunningham: "I always make sure to slice my fruit beforehand, so it's easy to eat and portable!"

37. Social Media Specialist Jenny Bak (of WPTV): "Throw everything into a blender before you head out the door - a good shake is nutritious, speedy AND portable!"

38. Content Coordinator Liz Dawn: "I put one serving size of snack foods in little baggies so I don’t over-indulge (my version of 100 calorie snacks)."

39. Producer, Multimedia Journalist Lanny Brannock: "I eat peanut butter or almond butter and celery or carrots."

40. I-Team Anchor & Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe: “As a veteran of a dozen hurricanes including Katrina in New Orleans, I can tell you how tough it is to eat healthy during an emergency. Without access to refrigeration, staples like milk are out of the question. Tuna packets are my secret weapon. The foil requires no can opener, and the tuna stays fresh literally for years without refrigeration. It’s a great source of protein, and it’s fine at room temperature without utensils. Ensure meal-replacement shakes are also great for providing nutrients during extended emergencies and breaking news.”

41. Sports Anchor John Popovich: "I’m one of the last people on Earth that still yearns for a newspaper. So when I drop into Kroger to buy a New York Times, which is almost daily, I buy a single apple, peach or a bag of cherries or grapes to eat along the way. It’s usually when I’m driving back to Indiana, so I actually have time to enjoy it."

42. Integrated Account Executive Tonya Hurst: "I make very large batches of green smoothie on the weekend (a full run is 40 32-ounce mason jars) and freeze them. Each night I take one out of the freezer to thaw on the counter. In the morning I have a healthy, complete meal in a jar that I can throw in my bag and drink either throughout the day or for lunch. I do this every single day, and it saves me the headache of having to prepare healthy daytime meals throughout a busy week. My husband and son drink them too! The recipes I use vary slightly each time I do a batch, but they are always a 5:1 ratio of veggies to fruit, and all organic."

43. Reporter John Genovese: "I bring a bag of granola bars with me when I go out and about. That way, if I start getting hungry, I can snack on something that will keep me full for a while."

44. Sports Anchor Ken Broo: "I’ve found the best food for me on the go is…sushi. In particular, yellow fin tuna. If you’ve had a heart attack, as I did four years ago, it’s very good for your ‘ticker.'" 

45. Anchor Carol Williams: "I fix a salad with spinach, red and yellow peppers, a little onion, tomatoes, chickpeas (garbanzos) and some shredded parmesan. I don’t like to eat a heavy lunch, but the chickpeas, which I love, give the salad some protein and heft. The tomatoes, spinach and peppers give it some color. Parmesan and vinaigrette dressing for extra taste."

Your Tri-State neighbors

46. Laura Cella: "Granola, yogurt covered raisins, cliff bars, pretzels and hummus cantaloupe and celery."

47. Mark Borison: "Quest nutrition bars!!! They're awesome, full of fiber, protein, little to no sugar. Great stuff. Helped me on my weight loss journey (down 60 pounds in a few months)!"

48. Sarah Burkhardt Curley: "Fruits, veggies, string cheese, rice cakes, Greek yogurt, flax seed granola, wraps with lots of veggies. Salsa and hummus make great condiments, and natural peanut butter, hummus, and Greek yogurt or reduced fat cream cheese with ranch seasoning make great dips/spreads."

49. Laura Williams Lewis: "Small frequent snacks like almonds, almond butter and fresh fruit, Lara bars or 'Two Moms in the Raw' bars, kale chips, raw veggies and hummus."

50. Tami Burdick: "Muscle Milk Light premade protein shakes. No need to refrigerate."

51. Peggy Adams: "Try to plan ahead. Drink water, eat fruit, nuts and trail mix for long car rides."

52. Katy Dixon Krieger: "Being a sales rep/merchandiser who is always in her car, this is the hardest thing! Even coolers in the summer get warm in 100 degree cars. Peanut butter and apples hold me over as do cheese sticks, applesauce In a pouch, Skinny Pop bags, granola bars."

53. Lauren Dunn: "Just a piece of toast and jam."

54. Meghan Louise Bentle: "Pre-bag some dried fruit and nuts. If it's a road trip, peanut butter and jam."

55. Donna Marshall: "String cheese, fruit, veggies, salad."

56. Emily Lorentz: "String cheese, Clif Bars, fun water bottle to refill."

57. Summer Wiedenbein: "A few Brazil nuts or walnuts and an organic apple, or cold pressed juice."

58. Mike Neidlinger: "Protein shakes are a good source of protein and calcium, if made with milk."Arnold Simpson: "I eat hard boiled eggs, cubed cheese, turkey and chicken."

59. Rebecca Tryon Pagan: "Lettuce wraps!"

60. Kimberly Ohmer Sellmeyer: "Pack before you go. Only way to do it."

What's your secret? Share it with me on Twitter (@HPennebaker), and I'll add your tip to the list.