So you’ve ended up ravenous at a 7-Eleven. Now what?
Whether you meant to or not, you’ve found yourself hangry while staring down the short, calorie-packed aisles of a convenience store. Maybe you’re stretching your legs in a rest stop of a major highway, or you’re on a 5-minute lunch break that was really supposed to be an hour—whatever the reason, you’re in the worst situation surrounded by processed snacks that are all too easy to mindlessly reach for. You’d even chow down on one of those seemingly ancient, slimy, rotisserie hot dogs if you had to. But you're trying to stay healthy! What do you do?
New Year. New Food. Healthy eating starts here, with the Cooking Light Diet.
Luckily there are a few snacks at every convenience store—from standalone 7-Eleven to gas-pump-adjacent Circle K—that you can reach for without derailing an entire day’s work.
The most ubiquitous snack offerings often hide copious amounts of salt or hair-raising grams of fat, to say nothing of their calorie counts. But healthier snacks do exist, even in these food aisles.
RELATED: 20 Snacks Under 150 Calories
It’s all about serving sizes and moderation. You can indulge in a few better-for-you snacks that will hold you over until you have time to sit down for a real meal—or at least until the next rest stop, anyway.
1) Assorted Fresh Fruit
So maybe the haphazard bowl of apples, oranges, and bananas near the register aren’t the most appealing thing in the store—but you and I both know it’s by far the most redeeming thing you can binge on during your moment of need. Look for a nearby squeezable serving of Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter (just 190 calories) if you’re looking to spice it up.
2) Single Serving Sabra Hummus Cups
These single serving snack packets are usually available in the same section as dairy products, and they’re the perfect size for any cup holder. Given that these hummus cups are just 160 calories, you have room to pair them with a bag of baby carrots or a few whole wheat crackers in the same snack.
3) Yoplait Yogurt Cup
There’s a small dairy cooler at most convenience stores next to ready-to-eat sandwiches—and it’s in this section that you’ll find single servings of Yoplait’s original yogurt in various flavors, which is a smart snack at 150 calories each.
4) Smartwater Sparkling Water, 1 Liter
Step away from the 64 ounce mega cup of caffeinated soda! Yes, we understand that it’s more expensive than a .69 cup of sugar, but Smartwater Sparkling Water is usually priced at under $3 for a whole liter.
5) Kraft Mozzarella and Cheddar String Cheese, 1.75
They’re fun to peel apart and even better for you—just 60 calories and a mere 140 grams of sodium. The two-cheese blend goes well with whole wheat crackers or any other snack on this list.
6) Nature Valley Peanut Butter Granola Bar
One of the hallmarks of healthy snacking, this protein-filled granola bar is only going to cost you 190 calories. If you’re not a fan of peanut butter, Nature Valley has a whole selection of blends and flavors for their granola products.
7) KIND Snack Bar
Many of you might instinctively reach for a Clif Bar, but KIND bars tend to have lower added sugar levels, says Jamie Vespa, Cooking Light’s assistant nutrition editor. The Caramel Almond & Sea Salt bar clocks in at 200 calories and just 5 grams of sugar.
8) Sun Maid Dried Mixed Fruit, 1 Cup
If you’re not as lucky to find a fresh fruit basket in the convenience store, you might be more inclined to try out a blend of dried fruits instead—and while you could feasibly eat an entire bag’s worth, you’d be better off sticking to a single cup’s worth, which will only cost you 100 calories.
9) Planters Salted Peanuts, 1.75 Ounce Snack Pack
Nuts are definitely a great snack, but you need to be careful about sodium counts; some varieties of peanuts can be dangerous, with Planters’ 6-ounce serving of salted peanuts boasting more than 600mg of salt if you tear through the whole bag. Stick to the 1.75 ounce snack pack, which is a more manageable 290 calories and 200mg of sodium. Or, better yet, seek out unsalted peanuts or unsalted almonds when available.
10) Honey Nut Cheerios On The Go Snack Cup
More and more variety stores are carrying snack-sized cereal varieties, and Honey Nut Cheerios are a great choice that is also satisfying—these cups are only 110 calories each.