|Posted on July 17, 2017 at 7:15 PM|
Traveling is fun and exciting, but it can also wreak havoc on your normal routine. Among the new places you see, traveling may bring fatigue, traveler's constipation (or diarrhea!), and LOTS of restaurant/grab-'n-go food. A road trip hundreds of miles away from home doesn't have to be comprised of just gas-station chips, M&Ms, and soda pop! With a little planning ahead of time, you can pack great snacks to have on hand.
Here are 10 snacks you can take on the road that are packed with nutrition and keep you full until your next meal at that 5-star seafood restaurant on the beach (or maybe just Grandma's house in Kansas City). Nutritional information for the following snacks is derived from the USDA’s Nutrient Database (https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/).
1) Fresh Fruit
It can be hard finding fruit options on the road… and restaurant-style peach cobbler doesn’t count as a serving of fruit! Adding fruit during snack-time is a great way to give your body a pop of nutrients. When your meals are nutritionally sub-optional on vacation or a business trip, a fresh banana, nectarine, or clementines can give you fiber and water that will fill up your stomach and keep the bowels moving – even when you’re sitting in the car for hours! Opt for whole fruit that doesn’t have to be refrigerated so that you can carry it with you in the car from Chicago to Florida. Then stock up on fabulous Florida oranges for the trip back home!
Snack size: One whole fruit (For example: 1 navel orange, 1 banana).
2) Whole Grain Bread with Nut Butter
What’s the hype about whole grains? Whole grain wheat products encompass the whole wheat kernel whereas white bread product omit the outside of the kernel. Using the whole kernel gives the bread added minerals and fiber. Many restaurants may not offer whole grain bread products, so supply your own! For flavor, protein, and healthy fats, bring along a jar of nut butter to slather onto the whole grain bread. For those with celiac disease or wheat allergy, gluten-free bread or rice cakes are great with nut butter too!
Snack size: Try 1 slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of nut butter.
Ever have one of those days where you’ve already eaten but you’re still hungry (or think you’re still hungry)? How frustrating! Anytime the munchies just won’t hit the road, I turn to plain popcorn. There are a lot of things we can add to popcorn, but plain, air-popped popcorn can suffice for a fuel-up.
Snack size: Three cups of air-popped popcorn has about 93 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber! Three cups may be more than enough for some people. Don’t stuff yourself, just eat until comfortable.
More cheese, please! Cheese gets a bad rap for its saturated fat content. While dairy products like cheese do contain saturated fat, we also get protein and calcium which are important in our diet. Single-pack string cheese is a great option to take on the road. Try a variety of single-serve cheese packs like mozzarella and queso fresco. These single-serve packs are convenient and fresh. Of note, cheese and other dairy products need to be refrigerated to prevent foodborne illness. Keep your cheese snacks in a cooler at less than 41 degrees or plan on eating the cheese within 2 hours after removing it from chilled storage.
Snack size: One ounce of cheese (For example: 1 slice, 1-ounce single-serve pack).
Healthy fats make nuts a higher-calorie snack, however, nuts are full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Some companies make yummy pre-made nut mixes, or you can make your own mix with just your favorites! Make a big batch to share or separate nuts into single-serving baggies to give you great nutrition with controlled calories.
Snack size: One-third cup of nuts will do the trick! Keeping your nuts to 1/3 cup gives you between 160-180 calories.
6) Raw Vegetables and Dip
Veggies can be hard to find outside of the grocery store! Like fruits, packing in raw vegetables during snack-time is a great way to supplement your diet during travel. Baby carrots, celery, radishes and other vegetables all go great with a little dip! For convenience, look for pre-sliced vegetables and mini-dressing dips that do not require refrigeration.
Snack size: Most Americans do not eat enough “non-starchy vegetables” like carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, green peas, etc. Just eat as many non-starchy vegetables as your heart desires! For the dip, try to stay around 1-2 tablespoons for calorie control.
7) Packaged Tuna
Tuna is great for healthy fats like omega-3 and protein. Companies are moving away from canned tuna in water and oil towards single-serve tuna pouches that don’t have to be refrigerated before opening and don’t have the fishy “tuna-juice” that stays on your fingers for the rest of the day… yuck! Single-serve pouches come in a variety of flavors.
Snack size: The average single-serving tuna pouch is about 70-80 calories for plain tuna and 16 grams of protein. Power up!
My sweet-tooth won’t let me go a day without chocolate, and when I find myself on the road, chocolate-less, I end up drooling over a Dairy-Queen chocolate-dipped cone. While there is absolutely no issue with the occasional treat, opting for a few squares of simple dark chocolate is satisfying without the excess calories, saturated fat, and sugar that may be lurking in dip-‘n-go cones.
Snack size: One ounce of dark chocolate will yield about 170 calories. Just like the nuts, portion control is key.
9) Apple or Banana with Nut Butter
You know how we talked about how fruit and nuts are both great snacks? Combine them! Pack your fresh fruit, such as a banana or apple and have your co-pilot spoon on some nut butter. Yum! Yum! Driver always gets hand-feeding privileges.
Snack size: One whole fruit plus 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter.
My mother would often ask me: Are you hungry, or are you actually thirsty? Sometimes we may perceive thirst as hunger and reach for more and more food. Make sure you always have water available and sip throughout the day. Travelers often try to avoid too many rest-stops while on the road, but dehydration can lead to fatigue and constipation, 2 things you don’t want when traveling! At each rest stop, check that your urine is pale yellow, like lemonade, to ensure you’re getting adequate fluids.
Snack size: If you have a hard time remembering to drink enough water like me, try drinking 8 ounces of water between meals.
Travel doesn’t mean you have to give up nutrition! I hope with these 10 snacks you can take on the road, you feel more energetic, more hydrated, more satisfied, and less blocked up… if you catch my drift. Safe, happy, and healthy travels!
Amanda A. Kostro
DSP Assistant Line Captain
Published Author "The Dark Princess"