by Lindsay Martin, MS, RD Hilton Head Health
I can’t imagine driving from Hilton Head Island to my hometown, Cincinnati, without stopping for gas. If I attempted that, I bet I would be stuck on the side of the road somewhere in North Carolina. That doesn’t sound like fun to me and neither does being in the car without some healthy snacks to keep hunger in check. It is common sense to stop and fill up the tank when we reach empty, but are you stopping to eat on your road trip? Are you waiting six hours without eating? Do you rely on gas stations or fast food for meals and snacks? Are you choosing the burgers and fries at a drive-through? As great as some restaurants are trying to offer healthier options, I would suggest purchasing a cooler and stocking it with your own items. I will reword that last statement—purchase a cooler and stock it with your own healthy alternations. Here are some great options:
1. Stuffed dates. Take roasted almonds or walnuts and stuff them in 5-6 unpitted dates. This snack is crunchy on the inside and chewy on the outside, while being loaded with fiber to help fill one up.
2. Freeze-dried fruit. You don’t have to be concerned about added sugars compared to some regular dried fruits. This is a great way to incorporate fruit without getting juice everywhere. Freeze-dried pineapple and tangerines are delicious.
3. Fruit skewers. Before leaving for your trip, chop your favorite fruits and link them on skewers to easily pack in a cooler or container. Try strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, watermelon, and kiwi for a nice summer option.
4. Nut, seed, and coconut flake mix. Prepare 1- to 1 ½-ounce containers or bags of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, and unsweetened coconut flakes for a nice dose of fiber, vitamin E, healthy fats, and protein.
5. Sliced vegetables with hummus. Homemade hummus, 1- to -2-ounce portions, packs very well with sliced bell peppers, celery, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes.
6. Edamame. I love having these around. They have a slight crunch, touch of sweetness and provide enough protein and fiber to keep me satisfied.
7. Beet crunch rolls. This is a fun one. Prepare rice paper as directed, then add 1 T. pumpkin seeds, shredded carrots, 3-4 T. of grated beets, and 3-4 tangerine or clementine slices to the center and roll until everything is compact. This is a little more filling, but great if you don’t want to stop for a longer period of time.
8. Pre-prepared items in your refrigerator. There is nothing stopping one from packing a cooler with perishable items from the refrigerator—berries, yogurt, cottage cheese, leftover vegetables, and more.
Before you head out the door make sure you bring a water bottle. Plan ahead, be confident and healthy driving!
Plus, read on for more tips for a healthy road trip!
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