Healthful Eating Tips: Food Trucks

I was recently out in LA where food trucks (really good ones!) are everywhere. I realized immediately that no matter the coast or the city, quick lunches are the norm for so many of us. Rather than skip lunch altogether or grab the closest available edible, here are some tips to keep it light and healthful while also grabbing super-quick nourishment:

1. Look for a source or truck that offers “local” or “fresh.” These words indicate healthier options (read: salads).

2. Check out the veggie or plant-based sources first.

3. If there are no local or fresh, and no immediately obvious veggie sources, look next for your protein: ideally, skinless, boneless lean poultry meats. These should not be coated in breading or fried, and they should not come in thick, creamy sauces – these are fat traps. The same reasoning that applies to restaurant menus applies to food trucks: seek out “grilled” “steamed” or “broiled.”

4. If you MUST get something pre-made, go for the leanest meat sandwich (ideally turkey) and a side salad. Ditch the bread and add the sandwich “interior” to your salad.

Still confused? Here are some other options!

A) A deconstructed egg roll: this is basically a salad made with egg roll fillings. Add some lean grilled meat if available and double-up on the green stuff.

B) A bun-free hoagie – OMG: it’s an antipasto! Go light on the cheeses, salamis and pastrami’s adding instead more lean turkey and ham; add oil & vinegar on the side.

C) Burger salad: a plain, grilled burger on a bed of lettuce with as many veggie options as they have available. Some great choices are avocado, roasted red pepper, black olives and anything green.

D) Taco salad – request a bed of shredded lettuce with the healthiest meat option and dress with salsa. If you are a meat-avoider, add as many veggies as you can but shy away from the corn and rice. Add beans only if they come “undressed” (i.e., not bathed in some sort of sauce or added fat like re-fried beans).

My favorite trucks while visiting, just outside of LACMA on Wilshire Blvd:

The Green Truck – I got the Kale Yeah salad, which is a bed of kale topped with pickled beets, shredded carrots and a grilled turkey burger. The goddess dress was light and fantastic! (This traditionally comes with quinoa, which I decided against, but if you’re into grains, go for it.)

Bahn in the USA: I got a deconstructed egg roll with grilled chicken and a lemongrass dressing on the side. Super yum.

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