Healthy Snacks for Road Trips
Given the high price of gas and Mom’s desire to keep her family well fed – even on the road – packing your own snacks cuts costs and boosts nutrition. Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD, mother of three and author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, says that taking snacks with you on the road saves Moms money, and they don’t need to worry about the quality of food choices at service plazas and fast food stops. To help Mom, here are Ward’s top ten snack ideas and tips when hitting the highway:
1. Box up some fruit.
“Avoid banged up and bruised fresh fruit by grabbing a shoe box or plastic container for fresh apples, pears, grapes, and bananas.”
2. Focus on finger sandwiches.
“Finger sandwiches are fun and easy for small hands to manage,” comments Ward. “Try small pita pockets with sliced cucumbers and cheese or hummus, or quarter a PB&J sandwich for an easy-to-eat snack.”
3. Forget about chips.
Not only will greasy fingers mess up your car, Ward warns that snack chips provide little nutritional value. “Opt for nuts – almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or peanuts offer fiber and protein and give you the crunch you may crave.” Avoid serving nuts to children under the age of four.
4. Stock up on dried fruit.
“Dried fruits – like low-sugar dried cranberries, raisins, dates, and figs – satisfy a craving for something sweet, and they don’t require refrigeration. And, according to MyPlate, ½ cup serving of dried fruit is one fruit serving,” says Ward.
5. Grab a bar.
“Choose a whole grain snack bar instead of a candy bar for more fiber and protein and less sugar,” notes Ward, “or make and take On-the-Go Bars for a healthy option.
6. Limit liquid sugar.
“Pack reusable water bottles and 100% juice boxes instead of sugary drinks like soda and fruit-flavored beverages,” says Ward.
7. Dip veggies.
“It’s like baby carrots and celery sticks were grown for road trips,” says Ward. Fill small containers with hummus or peanut butter for a tasty and nutritious veggie dipper.
8. Pack string cheese.
“For calcium and protein and about 50-100 calories per serving, pack part-skim mozzarella, cheddar, or Colby string cheese,” recommends Ward.
9. Bag some cereal.
“Your family’s favorite whole-grain cereal makes a great grab-n-go snack,” notes Ward. Mix it with nuts and dried fruit for a healthier trail mix.
10. Keep it cool.
“Yogurt and individual servings of cottage cheese offer protein and calcium,” says Ward. Pack perishables like dairy foods, hard-cooked eggs, and dip in a small cooler.