Fall is right around the corner and it’s time to hit the road and partake in the Great American Road Trip. For those moments when hunger tries to take control of the wheel, we can’t stress enough how important it is to skip the Bob’s Big Boy or the Waffle House. It might be easier to reach for the Fun-yuns or Cheet-ohs, but after a few hours in the car, these high fat, sodium-laden nibbles have a negative effect on your body’s metabolism and energy levels.
Eating healthy on the road is more than packing a cooler full of fruit and granola bars to keep the sing-alongs going, so today we’re sharing our own ultimate healthy road trip snack box:
- Air-popped popcorn:
Before you leave, pull out the popcorn machine and whip up a batch of popcorn to store in a ziplock bag. Best to grab a few handfuls while playing license plate bingo. 1 cup, about 3 handfuls, is only about 30 calories so this is truly guilt-free. Just let it cool totally before placing in a container; condensation could make those pops soggy before they reach your fingertips.
- Fresh fruit:
They’re nature’s best natural snacks. An apple, a banana, grapes or oranges can make for the perfect pick-me-up while on the road at just about 50 calories. Enough sugar will help your brain concentrate on road safety and staying on course and the calories will give you energy and tide you over until the next full meal. A tablespoon of peanut butter makes these even more delish and kid-friendly.
- Trail mix:
While some variations of trail mix can be quite unhealthy, those with the likes of raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and a little chocolate will be best for your bod. The nuts and seeds provide essential fatty acids and protein to feel full, while the chocolate and raisins are the perfect sugar hit for sustained energy while driving or sightseeing. Best of all, a bag travels well and keeps for days.
Full of fiber, zinc, and healthy fats, these little nuggets are easy to pop in your mouth while in the car and are yummy enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. Each date is 20 calories, so don’t over indulge, and remember they do have a mild laxative effect, so no downing an entire bag.
- Veggie sticks:
Slice up some zucchini, carrots, celery or cucumber for a fresh snack to appease those hunger pings in the middle of nowhere. Store them in a cooler with bottled water or fresh juice and, at just about 60 calories for a 10-12 of them, you can’t go wrong. Even though it’s added calories, a little hummus will make them even tastier.
- Greek pudding with chia:
This one is going to take a little planning before you pull out of your driveway. A cup of fat-free Greek yogurt and a cup of almond milk with 1/4 cup of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of salt left overnight will provide a perfect healthy snack to gobble on the way to your destination. At just about 100 calories for a half cup, chia will also give you the feeling of fullness and offer up much needed fiber; just don’t forget the spoon.
Photo by Flickr user havanakevin used under the Creative Commons Attribution license