Check-out Choices - (Stacia Naquin)

By: Stacia Naquin
By: Stacia Naquin

Limited choices at the check-out counter? Here's what the experts say you should grab when you're on the go!


I’m a gal on the go. I work – A LOT!  In addition to my regular shift in the newsroom, I have lots of events for the station and I also teach communications classes for UCCS and Pikes Peak Community College.  I also try to have a social life. HA! So, as you can imagine, it takes quite a bit of energy to keep up this kind of schedule. That means I need to keep good food on hand. But I’m not very good at planning ahead. So I find myself grabbing whatever I can. That means I’m often faced with a dilemma that looks like this:


Yes, these are my choices at the check-out counter. And if you’re in the same boat as me… whether it’s the grocery store or the convenience store, it probably looks like this. So what’s a girl to do? (I know, I know – I should plan better snacks.) But I didn’t. And these are my choices. So what’s the best choice I can make in THIS moment? I turned to some trainers and dieticians for advice. Here’s what each of them recommends…


Andrea Cespedes, Personal Trainer with Fitness Between Friends:

“Most check out lines do have packages of nuts (go for almonds for the most nutritional bang), although I don't see them in this pic. Eat just 1/3 to 1/2 of the bag, however, because most bags have a serving of 3 to 4 (upwards of 600 calories). From the pics I see, plain beef jerky is probably the best option -- although usually high in sodium. If you could find a bag of pretzels, it would be better than any of the chip options even though pretzels are refined grains, they are at least not fried. If you must choose candy, look for dark chocolate and only have a few squares.”

Jerod Langness, Personal Trainer with Ascend Fitness, Inc:

“If this is your only source of food, knowing how to read food labels would be crucial.  You want to find something that is low in calories, fat, sodium, chemicals (things you can barely pronounce), and sugar.  Once this is accomplished, you also want to see if it has nutrients worth eating such as protein, nuts or grains, calcium, etc..  It is challenging, but also not the end of the world if you end up in this situation.  Just don't let it become a regular occurrence.”  

Martha Rosenau, Registered Dietician with Peak Nutrition:

“Check the Goldfish crackers and see if the first ingredient is whole wheat flour. If so, they are a healthy choice. The shelf you photographed has limited choices in the world of snacking. I realize it’s a convenience store and that’s why. But nowadays, these types of stores have a basket of fresh fruit at the register. This is a terrific choice when on the go. You might even find unsalted nuts in the snack aisle.”

Michelle Somers, Registered Dietician with Penrose St. Francis:

“There are no clear winners, but there are a few products that wouldn't be too bad for most people. The beef jerkey is low in fat and high in protein, but the drawback is the high amount of sodium. Trail mix offers a mix of mostly healthy fats, protein, and sugar. Sometimes the added sugar can get a little high, and there may be some trans-fats added if chocolate pieces are part of the mix. Also, if you must have chocolate, dark chocolate is the way to go. It is lower in calories, and has more antioxidants than milk chocolate or white chocolate.”


So, that’s their advice, based on my check-out choices. BUT – every one of my experts ALSO said… Planning is key!!! The idea is to avoid a situation where these are the only choices you have. Bring something healthy from home! I’m going to try to make that my plan, so I’ll be a healthier gal on the go!


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