Sometimes hunger hits at inconvenient times. Fortunately, there are a slew of local eateries, grocery stores and filling stations that offer grab-and-go options to keep your blood sugar level.

Remember that Farmer’s Markets up and down the Outer Banks offer a variety of options. Right now, local strawberries one-handed snacks and local berries are perfect for popping right into your mouth.

A few of my favorites, listed geographically, might help you get to your next meal safely. The best part is that they are all quick, tasty, homemade and economical.


Café Lachine has a full take-out menu and they also have delicious sides in their dessert case if you are really in a hurry. Their tabbouleh salad is delicious and a healthy-eating option. I usually ask for two because they are side dishes and are small. Ok, sometimes I just ask for one and a slice of whatever dessert catches my eye. Outer Banks Mall, 5000 S. Croatan Highway, Suite 1, (252) 715-2550,


A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit from another filling station favorite, Miss Helen’s, otherwise known as Biscuits and Porn, inside the Stop Quick station. Made from scratch daily, these flaky biscuits are available only in the mornings. You pick your own breakfast sandwich fillings. 2112 S. Croatan Highway, (252) 441-6446


Fresh tuna salad from Billy’s Seafood in Colington hits the spot every time. Always made with fresh, local tuna, this classic salad has been a favorite of locals for years. The traditional salad has a mayonnaise base with crunchy celery and onions. Delicious. Open April-November. 1341 Colington Road, (252) 441-5978,


Cheese, please! A wedge of cheese and a pack of crackers is a favorite snack and when I can pull into Trio and grab a wedge of something yummy, like a Classic Beemster, and a small box of crackers, or splurge on a dreamy and very personal charcuterie tray with all the extras. 3708 N. Croatan Highway, (252) 261-0277,


Coastal Provisions Oyster Bar & Wine Bar Cafe offers a selection of take-out food perfect for a snack, a picnic or a full heat-and-eat meal. Often, a pint of something cold and yummy, does the trick. Fresh fruit salad, tomatoes and homemade mozzarella and creamy guacamole are a few of my go-to choices. They also have a fantastic selection of oysters. For a super duper snack, pop by for a quick dozen, raw. 1 Ocean Boulevard, (252) 480-0023,


Tommy’s Natural Foods Market & Wine Shop has refrigerated cases full of pre-packaged eats. Fresh salsa, chicken salad and Cajun crab dip are all made in-house and make a great snack. They fit nicely in a cooler, too, for the boat or the beach. 1242 Highway 12, (252) 261-8990,


Outer Banks Popcorn Shoppe in the Timbuck II shopping Center in Corolla is a place where the intention of one nibble can quickly dissolve. Go ahead, buy a few flavors for later. The Corolla Crunch with peanuts and cashews is a favorite, but so are most of the other flavors. 799 Sunset Boulevard, (252) 453-4000,


I like to stop at Harbor House Seafood Market and head straight for the refrigerated case. I love the blue crab dip made with fresh blue crab cream cheese and green onion and the shrimp pasta salad made with fresh shrimp and veggies with a creamy dressing. 58129 Highway 12, (252) 986-2039,


Zillie’s Island Pantry has an assortment of snackable goodies; especially if I cannot decide if I want salty or sweet, creamy or spicy. A jar of their homemade Ocracoke fig preserves, a wedge of cheese and a box of crackers can make me very happy. When I need a salty sweet, I grab a can of HUBS chocolate covered peanuts, too. 538 Back Road, (252) 928-9036,


Black bean and corn salad from Frog Island Seafood. Order this like you would buy seafood and it will be ready in just a minute. This cold, prepared salad is slightly spicy, vinegary and tart. A great vegan option, remember to grab a spoon, this one is hard to eat with just your fingers. 3997 Caratoke Highway, (252) 453-2879,

Sweet potato-country ham biscuit from Cindy’s Kitchen located inside the Citgo Gas Station in Coinjock. I also have a hard time resisting their Yellow Cake with Caramel Frosting that is dangerously available most anytime of the day. 4511 Caratoke Highway, (252) 453-4855

Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.

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