When you’re on the road and hunger strikes, you may have no choice but to head to the nearest convenience store. The good news is that convenience store food can be healthy, despite its bad rap.
7/11, in particular, has expanded to include a variety of better-for-you options like fresh fruits, salads, sandwiches, and more. Planning ahead and knowing what to look for can prevent you from reaching for less nutritious options on your next visit.
As a dietitian, here are my approved picks from 7/11 to help you make healthier choices when you’re on the go.
7/11 offers two mixed fresh fruit cups: the Fruit Harvest Blend Fruit Cup and the Fruit Blend Fruit Cup. Both options provide a wide range of health-promoting nutrients and antioxidants.
The Fruit Harvest Blend Fruit Cup combines fresh strawberries, apple slices, and red grapes. In contrast, the Fruit Blend Fruit Cup is made with red grapes and cubes of fresh pineapple, honeydew and cantaloupe.
Fresh fruits are low in calories, fat and sodium. They are also a good source of nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folate and vitamin C, which many diets lack.
A higher intake of fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, two common causes of early death.
You can typically find several different varieties of Greek yogurt in the cooler at 7/11. Greek yogurt is a thick, creamy yogurt that has nearly double the protein of regular yogurt.
One container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt provides around 92 calories and 16 grams (g) of protein. It’s also a good source of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and selenium.
Protein is important for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Plus, it’s more satisfying than fat and carbohydrates, helping to keep you full longer.
If you can, choose a Greek yogurt with as little added sugar as possible. Pair it with a fresh fruit cup for a satisfying, nutrient-rich snack.
While 7/11 generally keeps a variety of fresh salads in stock, the Mediterranean Style Salad with Chicken is my go-to.
This salad consists of slow-roasted chicken on a bed of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, red onions, pepperoncini, and feta cheese. It comes with a vinaigrette dressing, which tends to be lower in calories and saturated fat than creamy dressings like ranch and blue cheese.
Green, leafy vegetables like kale are high in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage caused by unstable atoms called free radicals. They’re also a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
At most 7/11 chains, you’ll find fresh bananas near the checkout. Bananas are a healthy, naturally sweet snack that can satisfy a sweet tooth while keeping hunger at bay.
One medium banana provides 3 g of fiber, 11% of the DV for vitamin C, and a decent amount of potassium.
The fiber in bananas is mainly soluble fiber, which slows down digestion, helps control cholesterol and blood sugar.
If you’re in the mood for a tasty and healthy beverage, 7/11 carries a variety of USDA-certified organic cold-pressed juice options.
My favorite is 7-Select Organic Cold Pressed Clean & Green, which is made with just eight ingredients, including:
Each 14-ounce bottle provides 15% of the DV for calcium, 15% of the DV for iron, and 21% of the DV for potassium, with just 80 calories. It’s also free of added sugar, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors.
If you’re craving a crunchy, cheesy snack, reach for a bag of HIPPEAS White Cheddar Puffs the next time you’re on 7/11.
These snacks, made from sustainably grown chickpeas, contain 3 g of fiber and 4 g of plant-based protein, with just 130 calories per 1-ounce serving. Plus, they’re vegan, Kosher, and gluten-free, making them suitable for various diets.
Watermelon is a hydrating, nutrient-rich fruit that offers numerous health benefits. It’s low in calories yet high in antioxidants, containing more lycopene than raw tomatoes.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant commonly found in pink or red fruits and vegetables. It has been linked to heart health, healthy eyes, and protection against certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer.
According to one 2019 study, daily consumption of watermelon is associated with improved satiety and reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure when consumed in place of processed snacks.
Hard-boiled eggs are a convenient, nutritious snack that can help keep you full until your next meal. A pack of two hard-boiled eggs at 7/11 provides just 120 calories, with 12 g of protein, along with decent amounts of several B vitamins, selenium and choline.
B vitamins are essential because they help convert food into energy.
Selenium helps your body make proteins called antioxidant enzymes that can protect cells against damage. Some evidence suggests it may help prevent certain types of cancer and protect the body from the toxic effects of heavy metals and other harmful substances. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Pair boiled eggs with whole wheat crackers, fresh fruit, and nuts for a complete meal.
Whether you’re looking to curb hunger, support muscle growth, or fuel a workout, RXBAR protein bars are a great choice.
Made with simple, whole-food ingredients like dates, egg whites, nuts, and chocolate, these bars offer a range of nutrients and a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbs.
Peanut Butter Chocolate, one of my favorite RXBAR flavors, provides 5 g of fiber and 12 g of protein, with just 210 calories. Plus, it’s a good source of iron and potassium and free of added sugars.
String cheese can be a filling snack for children and adults alike. Plus, it comes in convenient sticks, making it perfect for on-the-go snacking.
Each string of cheese sticks contains around 6 g of protein and 70 calories, with 15% of the DV for calcium, a mineral the body needs to maintain strong teeth and bones.
Pair string cheese with fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and/or whole wheat crackers for a balanced snack.
Pistachios are a nutritious source of complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids the body needs. They’re also a good source of thiamine, vitamin B6, copper, and manganese.
Although pistachios are high in fat, most of their fat comes from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels and support heart health.
Pistachios also contain fewer calories per ounce than other nuts like walnuts and pecans.
Hummus is a good source of plant-based protein, fiber and iron. Studies suggest that hummus and/or its main component, chickpeas, can help improve after-meal blood sugar levels, appetite, and cholesterol levels. Replacing foods high in saturated fat, sodium, or added sugar with hummus can also improve diet quality and nutrient intake.
This hummus blends chickpeas, garlic, and ground sesame seeds. Each pack comes with pretzels to make healthy snacking easier.
This particular hummus variety has a very high sodium content, containing 35% of the DV. As such, it may not be suitable for individuals following a low-sodium diet.
Beef jerky is a convenient snack that is high in protein and low in calories. It’s also a good source of vitamin B12 and zinc, a nutrient that helps your immune system ward off bacteria and viruses.
A typical one-ounce serving of beef jerky contains around 9.4 grams of protein with just 116 calories.
While beef jerky can be relatively nutritious, a filling snack, it should be consumed in moderation. This is because it is high in sodium and classified as processed meat.
Processed meats, including beef jerky, have been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer.
Many beef jerky brands and flavors are available at 7/11. When possible, look for low-sodium options made from grass-fed beef and certified organic by the USDA.
Almonds are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats. A one-ounce serving of almonds, or about a handful, provides around 6 g of protein and 3.5 g of fiber, with 164 calories.
Each serving also supplies 48% of the DV for vitamin E, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and keeps blood vessels healthy.
An industry-funded study found that almonds may help reduce hemoglobin A1C, bad cholesterol levels, and total cholesterol levels after 12 weeks in adolescents and young adults at risk for developing diabetes.
The Chicken Salad Sandwich at 7/11 is a customer favorite. It is made with diced chicken breast combined with low-fat mayonnaise and celery, served on wheat bread for a fiber boost.
If you’re not a fan of chicken salad, the chain also offers egg and tuna salad sandwich options. Because most of the sandwiches are relatively high in calories, you may want to consider pairing them with lower-calorie foods like fruits or vegetables to create a filling, well-balanced meal.