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Diet Talk from the Doc
by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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We live in a grab-and-go food world where every day, about 100 million Americans buy food items from a vending machine, 6 million purchase snacks from a 7-Eleven and 55 million worldwide eat at Mcdonald's. Convenience and our fast-paced lifestyles seems to direct these trends.

Dr. Diet weighs in:

I sometimes wonder if home cooking and brown-bagging our lunches are dying trends.

The problem with this is that we know that meals eaten out or ordered in tend to be higher in calories, fat and sodium than meals prepared in the home. So, if you're someone who is watching your weight, you have to be very savvy about ordering meals and snacks on the run.

What's a busy consumer to do? Three things come to mind: plan ahead, plan ahead and plan ahead.

What I mean is you already know the items in your workplace vending machines or in your neighborhood convenience store or local restaurants. Really look at those take-out menus or think about your grab-and-go options before you place your order or push those vending machine buttons.

If you're not sure of healthy meal or snack options, check out the Diet.com Expert Blogs, Dining Out Guide, Recipes or Calorie Counter for guidance.

And (in an effort to eat healthier foods on the run) when grocery shopping, get into the habit of purchasing food items that you can quickly assemble into a healthy meal or brown-bag lunch. Here's a list of must-have ingredients so that some of your meals and snacks can be quickly assembled in your own kitchen:

-- fresh and frozen fruits and veggies
-- bagged lettuce
-- packaged turkey slices, refrigerated or frozen chicken strips, frozen shrimp, tuna, peanut butter, canned salmon, canned beans, light cheese, low fat yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, eggs, fat free milk
-- higher fiber pasta, waffles, bread, tortillas, cereals
-- salsa, spaghetti sauce, light salad dressings, light mayo, mustard, barbecue sauce, seasonings
-- canned soups, frozen Lean Cuisine dinners
-- meal replacement or nutrition bars
-- saturated fat-free microwave popcorn, pretzel rods, 100 calorie snack packs

If your kitchen stays stocked with these easy-to-use items, preparing foods at home can still fit your on-the-go lifestyle but boost your health at the same time.

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