The summer presents many opportunities for day outings and far away travels. As you prepare for a short or long trip, you may pack toiletries, clothes, and other essentials. But do you give any thoughts to food and snacks? What about when you go to a party or BBQ? As a dietitian, I am always thinking about healthy food and snacks. I suspect you are thinking, but why? I find food on the go to be more expensive, conducive to poor choices and mindless eating, and causes mere stress to figure out where all five of my family members will agree to eat. Whether you are staying locally or traveling afar, here are some quick tips to get you on your healthy food way.
To a Party or BBQ:
¨ Take a healthy recipe to share or if time is an issue, take a fruit or veggie tray/plate
¨ Bring a lean meat to grill if the host is not providing or you want something healthier
¨ Scope out the healthier foods and fill your plate with those items (half should be fruit or vegetables). Avoid mayonnaise based dishes, large amounts of cheese, and heavy sauces.
To the Park or Pool:
¨ If you have a cooler available, pack yogurt, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, or another low-fat cheese
¨ Pre-packaged granola bars or cereal type bars are easy and relatively healthy (look for fiber and low-fat varieties)
¨ For healthy snacking, try dried fruit, fresh fruit, individual fruit cups (in juice), or raw vegetables and hummus
¨ For those salty treats, try Sunchips®, tortilla chips, pretzels, Almonds, pistachios, or air-popped (or low-fat) popcorn
¨ For your sweet tooth, try fig bars, gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, fruit snacks , or homemade treats
On the road:
¨ Load the car with water bottles and healthy snacks (see above)
¨ If you stop for food, seek those healthier choices on the menu or the shelf of the gas station market. I was surprised this past weekend when the gas station had a large selection of fresh fruit (jackpot!). Restaurants may even display the calories and grams of fat on the menu.
¨ Avoid sugary beverages or reduce the size of the drink (no bottomless refills). Try unsweetened iced or hot tea and black coffee. The caffeine can help you stay alert while driving.
¨ If the hotel offers a breakfast, look for those healthier selections such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy (milk or yogurt), high fiber cereals, whole wheat toast, and even oatmeal. Take a few pieces of fruit to snack on later, if able.
By Larissa Brophy, MS, RD, LD
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