7-Eleven Food Options That Are Actually Healthy For You

Life doesn't always allow you to sit down for a three-course meal at a five-star restaurant, or gather around the table with family to eat and chat about the day. Maybe you're traveling across the country on a road trip or find yourself battling traffic on your daily commute. When you don't have the time to make a meal or dine out, oftentimes convenience stores are your only option for a quick bite. It may not be ideal, but when you have to eat, you have to eat, right?

7-Eleven, a convenience chain that boasts more than 10,000 stores in North America (just a portion of the 60,000 locations worldwide), is arguably a best-case scenario find for hungry folks on the go. Of course, the chain sells all of the traditional types of convenience store fare, including cookies, candy, and the famous Slurpee. However, you might be surprised to hear that 7-Eleven has a large and surprisingly varied list of healthy options from which to choose.

Folks go nuts for 7-Eleven nuts

When you're looking at food from a scientific standpoint, it's difficult to find a subsection of snacks more complex than that of nuts. Nevertheless, legumes, seeds, and bonafide nuts have all come to be categorized under the "nut" label, and many can be found at 7-Eleven, pre-packaged and ready to be munched on. According to McGill University, "a nut is a dry fruit that consists of a hard shell covering a single seed." This means that certain foods that are often lumped into the nut family, like peanuts (which are technically legumes), cashews, and walnuts (which are both seeds) are imposters, Insider explains.

Regardless of their technical scientific status, 7-Eleven has a wide variety of nuts for patrons to snack on. The company's official brand, 7-Select, includes tubes of cashews and almonds that are available in flavors that range from classic tastes like Honey Roasted and Smoked to the more adventurous Ramen Noodle Flavor or Thai & Lime.

Aside from being a tasty treat, nuts have a lot of potential health benefits. For starters, most types contain monounsaturated fats, which can play a part in lowering your blood cholesterol levels, explains Better Health Channel. Additionally, nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which could decrease the potential that you will have a heart attack or stroke, per the Mayo Clinic.

7-Eleven has several different protein bars

If you're craving a sweet treat but still want to get a burst of healthy energy, 7-Eleven has you covered. Instead of smashing a Snickers or inhaling a chocolate chip cookie, you could get your chocolate fix from one of several protein bars that the convenience store offers, such as the Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar, Quest Nutrition's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate RX Bar (via 7-Eleven).

As the name suggests, these snack bars are a great way to consume a portion of your daily protein. A Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar contains 10 grams of protein, which is roughly 16% of the 56 grams males should be consuming every day, and nearly 20% of the 46 grams recommended for women, per Medical News Today.

Quest Nutrition's bar contains a whopping 21 grams of protein. The Peanut Butter Chocolate RX Bar comes in at 12 grams of protein and boasts a simple recipe made of natural ingredients, including "3 egg whites, 14 peanuts, 2 dates, and no B.S."

Don't balk (or rather, bawk!) at 7-Eleven chicken

If nuts and bars aren't your preferred method for getting protein into your diet, you can choose one of 7-Eleven's numerous chicken options. The Hot Foods section of the website highlights a trio of breaded chicken options, including chicken strips, a chicken sandwich, and hot honey boneless wings, which are, "Covered in a honey chili glaze, roasted garlic, and chili pepper."

According to Sentient Media, over the past few decades, chicken overtook beef as the most consumed animal protein in the United States. This may not be good news for Tony Romo, the spokesman behind the long-running "Beef. It's What's For Dinner" campaign (via wkow.com). However, there are a whole host of health benefits that make this uptick in poultry consumption a positive thing. 

Chicken has 35 grams of protein in every 100-gram serving, which makes it more protein-dense than other meaty mainstreams like pork or beef, per the Australian Chicken Meat Federation. Additionally, Healthline explains that a 3-ounce portion of chicken contains 51% of your recommended daily dose of niacin, as well as 16% of your vitamin B6 and 10% of your B12, three essential B vitamins, "...which play central roles in energy production, DNA synthesis, and brain health." Finally, this same size serving of chicken will provide 36% of your day's selenium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in both your immune function and thyroid health. 

7-Eleven has a trio of healthy sandwiches

The 7-Eleven's Fresh & Chilled food section features three healthy sandwich options for folks on the go: tuna, chicken, and egg salad. All three of these sandwiches begin with a protein, which is then mixed with add-ins and reduced-fat mayonnaise. According to Food Network, "any food labeled as 'reduced fat' contains 25 percent or less cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat or less than the full-fat version." 

The egg salad sandwich features hard-boiled eggs, mayo, and Dijon mustard. The chicken salad sandwich is made with chicken breast, mayo, and celery. Because celery is mostly water and jam-packed with fiber, it is a powerful digestive aid (via Food Revolution Network).

Finally, the tuna salad sandwich is a mashup of two different tunas, yellowfin and albacore, as well as sweet relish, Dijon mustard, and (you guessed it) reduced-fat mayo. Tuna contains a lot of protein — a 100-gram serving of canned tuna contains about 24 grams of protein — and is very low in fat, per BBC Good Food. It also contains taurine, an essential amino acid that helps protect against heart disease.

7-Eleven has healthy options for the early riser

There's no telling what time of the day you might wind up at a 7-Eleven. If you find yourself perusing its food section in the morning, rest assured that the convenience store has breakfast options to complement your steaming hot cup of coffee.

The convenience store's English Muffin with Sausage, Egg, and Cheese promises to, "Cure your case of the morning hangries." Though breakfast items in the vein of this English muffin dish are not generally associated with health, if you look at a few of its ingredients independently, you'll find that there are nutritional benefits to be found.

Though it depends on the particular brand of cheese, an ounce of cheddar can about 150 milligrams of calcium, a mineral that plays a key role in bone health, per Medical News Today. According to Good Housekeeping, eggs contain a fair amount of choline, which is a relatively unexamined nutrient that has been linked to several key body functions. The University of Missouri's Michelle Hoeing Bauche, MS, RDN, explains, "Consuming choline through foods like eggs may actually help to prevent things like cardiovascular disease, early brain dysfunction such as dementia, and fatty liver disease."

Crunch into a variety of tasty veggies with 7-Eleven salads

It might be difficult to believe that 7-Eleven sells fresh salads. You are, after all, only steps away from a gas pump. Nevertheless, the convenience store has a few offerings that will allow you to eat your fill of fresh greens. The Garden Side Salad is a colorful meal jam-packed with fresh veggies, including grape tomatoes, thinly-sliced carrots, and chopped cabbage, all of which are nestled atop a bed of romaine lettuce. 

Grape tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which support your bones, eyes, and skin, as well as the antioxidant lycopene, per Produce for Better Health Foundation. Carrots are also an excellent way to get the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A, which helps defend the body against cellular degeneration (via Health). Carrots also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of antioxidants that aid in eye health. According to Harvard Medical School, red cabbage is full of vitamins, explaining that, "A half-cup contains about 45% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C". Finally, Medical News Today highlights the fact that romaine lettuce is yet another source of vitamins A and C, as well potassium.

Similar to the Garden Side Salad, the Chicken Caesar Salad has a base of romaine lettuce and is topped with tomatoes. However, it also features non-veggie additions like croutons, parmesan cheese, and obviously, chunks of white meat chicken for added protein.

Enjoy a colorful fruit salad

7-Eleven has an abundance of fresh fruit options. The Fruit Blend Fruit Cup features grapes, pineapple, and the melon duo of honeydew and cantaloupe. The Fruit Harvest Blend Fruit Cup, on the other hand, is comprised of strawberries, apples, and grapes. If solo, standalone fruit is more your speed, you can pick up a strawberry or watermelon cup instead.

According to the Mayo Clinic, no other fruit or vegetable has anywhere near watermelon's concentration of lycopene, which helps decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, and age-related eye conditions. A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating an apple every day for six weeks helps combat inflammation. Apples are also high in fiber.

Though oranges are the fruit that have become the most closely linked with vitamin C, strawberries contain more vitamin C by weight, per SFGATE. Pineapple is also a great source of vitamin C, as well as manganese, which aids in immune responses and bone formation, Cleveland Clinic explains.

For another fruit fix, 7-Eleven sells bananas

If you don't find any of the pre-packaged fruit salads a-peel-ing, you can always opt for a banana. In a lot of ways, the banana is perfectly optimized for human consumption. There's no packaging required and they are the perfect size to fit comfortably in your hand. Perhaps most importantly, bananas change color as they ripen, making it easier for us to know when it's the best time to eat them.

Bananas have myriad health benefits. For starters, they're good for your stomach; the high levels of pectin can aid in keeping your bowel movements regular, and the fiber content can help minimize your stomach's bloating (via BBC Good Food). 

According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, "Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, a vital mineral and electrolyte in the body that carries a small electrical charge." These charges shock your heart into beating and contracting regularly. They also explain that eating potassium-rich foods can help regulate your blood pressure by counterbalancing your sodium consumption, stating, "High salt intake increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, while high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete sodium while decreasing blood pressure." 

7-Eleven's Strawberry-Blueberry Parfait is nutritious and delicious

The Strawberry-Blueberry Parfait promises, "Goodness by the spoonful," and that's exactly what it delivers. This treat is layered with two types of delicious berries, Yoplait vanilla yogurt, and granola. The blend of tastes and textures can be a great way to start the day or a healthy midday snack.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that measured the effects of blueberry consumption over the course of six months, even eating a relatively low amount of the fruit can help combat the risks of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, though granola can often contain a lot of added sugar, it is made of whole oats, which can aid in lowering your cholesterol, per Time.

Yogurt is a great source of both calcium and protein (via Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). Calcium aids in keeping your bones healthy and is essential in the lifelong process of remodeling. Yogurt also has probiotics, or the bacteria that aid in gut health. Yogurt Nerd explains that probiotics can play a role in, "...aiding healthy digestion, enhancing the immune system, and helping to regulate mood." 

Opt for a whole grain snack like SkinnyPop

SkinnyPop popcorn joined the snack scene in 2010 and was sold to the Hershey's corporation for a whopping $1.6 billion in 2017; it has been popping off ever since. This crunchy corn treat is gluten- and preservative-free and has no trans-fats (via SkinnyPop). In fact, the snack has an incredibly short list of ingredients, consisting of only popcorn kernels, sunflower oil, and salt. 

Popcorn is a whole grain, and a steady diet of whole grains has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, per Consumer Reports. SkinnyPop has slightly more calories and fat than some of its competitors in the popcorn snack space, so its "Skinny" modifier is actually a reference to the simple ingredients, rather than its effectiveness in weight loss. In today's increasingly health-centric food culture, this is a rather refreshing metric by which to judge a snack's health benefits.

Alternatively, crunch on some plant-based snack options

Hippeas only came to market in 2016, but their popularity spread like wildfire and the snack can now be found in more than 30,000 stores (via Food Navigator-USA). Hippeas Vegan White Cheddar flavor is currently available at 7-Eleven locations nationwide.

Hippeas are made from chickpeas, which means that the crunchy snack comes with a slew of health benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chickpeas are rich in plant protein, with 1 cup containing nearly 15 grams.

Additionally, the convenience store sells Terra Vegetable chips in sweet potatoes and sea salt flavor. The 7-Eleven website explains, "Terra's mantra is that all of their veggie chips are sliced straight from the vegetable. SO, you're not getting anything less than pure, sweet potato goodness." According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, sweet potatoes are one of the best naturally-occurring sources of beta-carotene, which the body processes into vitamin A. Mount Sinai explains, "We need vitamin A for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes."

7-Eleven even has cold-pressed juice

If you don't feel like eating, 7-Eleven has a way for you to enjoy a quick snack with just a few sips. Its original brand, 7-Select, boasts a diverse line of cold-pressed juices in flavors such as Berry & Bright, Clean & Green, Restoration Red, and Tropical Glow (via 7-Eleven).

The cold-pressed juice line is a dramatic departure from the candy, soft drinks, and processed snacks that are often associated with convenience stores, and 7-Eleven has already proven to be a talented player in the juice game. According to a company press release (via Cision PR Newswire), "The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) has awarded 7-Eleven, Inc. a 2018 "Salute to Excellence" award for its 7-Select GO!Smart Clean & Green Organic Cold-Pressed Juice."

Each flavor option in the 7-Select cold-pressed juice line contains a wide variety of produce. Harvard Medical School explains that a juice drink derived from several different fruits and vegetables has a broad nutritional profile and contains more vitamins and minerals than any single plant could alone. The award-winning Clean & Green, for instance, features kale, cucumber, apple, spinach, mint, celery, lime, and parsley. That's practically the entire produce aisle! Kale is unbelievably rich in vitamins; for example, eating a cup of the leafy greens will earn you 684% of your daily-recommended vitamin K, per Healthline. Additionally, lime contains citric acid, which has been shown to help prevent kidney stones, according to the Fairfax County Times.