Healthy Fast Food Meal Ideas

Healthy Fast Food Meal Ideas from the Grocery Store

Instead of the "fast food" we typically think of when we hear the term, here's another way to get a quick meal when you're out of the house--frugal, easy, and healthy.

By contributing writer Lisa:

I’m sure everyone can agree that there are times that call for fast food. At least, in the sense that you need food in a hurry with little inconvenience.

If you are at home, meals like this can be really simple.  A frozen pizza, breakfast for dinner, or an easy dinner that can be made in less than twenty minutes. “Fast food” put together quickly and easily without sacrificing nutrition.

But if you’re out of the house, your options are seemingly limited to any number of restaurants featuring an intercom, a pick-up window, and food neatly wrapped in paper and foil.

And typically, these restaurants’ focus is NOT to be a beacon of healthy food choices.

Now, before I go on, I want to be clear that our family is no stranger to the drive-thru. Especially these past couple of months when I’ve been out of commission as a menu planner and chef.

However, while almost everyone orders the occasional “number 1 with everything on it”, I think we can all at least agree that it’s not exactly a very nutritious way to regularly serve our families.

Instead of the “fast food” we typically think of when we hear the term, here’s another way to get a quick meal when you’re out of the house–frugal, easy, and healthy.

Healthy Fast Food Ideas from the Grocery Store

One of our favorite ways to get a simple, healthy meal on the go is to stop in a nearby grocery store and pick up a few things. We do it all the time around town, just before heading to a park or visiting the science center, and we do it when we are traveling out of town, needing an easy meal that isn’t going to leave us feeling sick.

Certainly, in a grocery store your options are incredibly varied. You could go all out or try and keep things simple. We prefer the latter.

Try a combination of two or three of these foods for a healthy fast food meal:

  • fresh fruit
  • hummus and fresh pita bread or pretzels
  • chips and salsa
  • loaf of fresh bread and spreadable or Babybel cheese
  • baby carrot sticks
  • snap peas
  • deli meat and cheese
  • dehydrated veggie chips or veggie straws
  • muffins from the bakery
  • pasta salad from the deli

Everything on this list is purposefully no-fuss. No knives needed. Finger food. Simply portion out and serve.

You can take your food “to-go” and eat it on the run or at a park. Many grocery stores have a “dine-in” area too with tables and plastic cutlery.

Another thing I want to do soon is to make a picnic bag that stays in our car so we will be more prepared for spontaneous fast-food meals like this which we enjoy at parks and such. Keeping a small stash of plastic plates, paper towels, and a small knife will mean even more convenience.

Do you use this method for buying “fast food” for your family? What are some of your favorite quick and easy ideas for healthy food on the go?

20 Minute Meals 20
If your interested in making fast, healthy meals at home, check out Leigh Ann’s book 20 Minute Meals: Giving weary chefs grace while keeping families healthy and be on the look out for the 2nd edition coming soon! 

A Grace-Filled Look at Real Food Series

Be sure to check out all the posts in A Grace-Filled Look at Real Food here.

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  1. I love the picnic basket in the car idea, especially for these warm summer months where we tend to be on the go and outside more often! We love the salad bar at our local Kroger! They have $5 to-go boxes that you can fill with greens, toppings, pasta salad, etc. One to-go box is plenty for me and my little ones to share along with some fruit or crackers to go with it!

  2. Love this post, Lisa! It’s definitely all too tempting to swing by the fast food joint when you’re not prepared. And I can relate about going too many times than I care to admit during this pregnancy. 🙂

  3. When I was raising my daughter, I kept a bag in the car with papertowels, a container of baby wipes, plastic silverware, paper plates, small packets of ketchup, mustard and mayo, a small cutting board and a sharp knife. We were ready for a picnic!! I also kept a clean shirt for each of us ready and waiting. To this day when my husband and I travel by car we take a small cooler with us with cold drinks. A container of baby wipes is always in my car!! My goal was to save money!

  4. I love those people who love to sharing they ideas about make a good fast food, i highly appreciate this article and i will take a note of this cause it has a lot of tips i can use it to my family i’m sure they will be happy. Thank you so much.

  5. Fresh fruits, chips and salsa, muffins and pasta salads seem to be a good combination. Wait… that’s 4. Oh well, still these are good and healthy fast food choices for me. Great stuff you have here btw. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Thanks for this lovely tips!
    taking care of health is something that must be done since young, they are food habits that change a whole life.
    I love the post!
    Kisses from Brazil