Motor munchies: 5 ideas for healthy travel treats

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Summer is a great time for road trips. But eating right can be a challenge when you’re traveling. Fast food and salty snacks are easy to get—and they can feel hard to resist.

You don’t have to take a vacation from healthy eating while you’re on the road though.

Check out these simple ideas for healthy snacks from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Heart Association. You can use their suggestions to inspire your own healthy, travel-friendly treats:

1. Pack your own snacks

High-fat potato chips and other salty, crunchy treats are a temptation at every gas station. Head it off by packing these healthier snacks:

  • Unsalted raw or dry-roasted almonds, walnuts or peanuts.
  • Homemade trail mix. Combine nuts, whole-grain cereal, and dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries.
  • Roasted, protein-packed chickpeas or edamame (whole soybeans).
  • Whole-grain crackers or chips to go with peanut butter or hummus.
  • Popcorn (hold the butter) with salt-free seasonings, such as garlic powder or curry.
2. Bring a cooler

A cooler makes it easier to bring along healthy foods—and to keep them at a safe temperature. Fill your cooler with foods like:

  • Precut veggies, such as carrots and bell peppers. Pack a separate container of low-fat dressing or hummus for dipping.
  • Low-fat yogurt.
  • Reduced-fat string cheese or cheese slices.
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk boxes.

Store the cooler in your car’s air-conditioned passenger area, rather than in the hot trunk.

3. Pile on the produce

When it comes to portable snacks, it doesn’t get easier than apples, grapes, oranges and pears. Bananas are portable, too, but more likely to bruise when traveling.

Summer is also a great time to get fresh produce, so keep an eye out for seasonal produce stands along your route.

4. Hydrate with healthy drinks

Avoid overloading on coffee, sodas or energy drinks. Fill a thermos halfway with ice and top it off with water. Add lemon or lime slices for a refreshing twist. If you’re looking for something other than water, try single-serve packages of milk or 100-percent juice boxes.

5. Choose carefully at the convenience store

If you find yourself in need of a snack from a minimart, skip the chips and choose healthier items like whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, string cheese or fresh produce. Check the labels and strive to keep your snacks to 200 calories or less.

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