Healthy snacks for road trips
Gas station shelves are not known for their healthy goodness. A belly full of preservative-packed pastries, candy bars and Funyuns can cast a shadow over even the most exciting road trip.
Instead of relying on Conoco to be your nutritionist, plan ahead. Pack a cooler of healthy, fresh snacks on your next road trip, and you will not only save money, you will also save time by not having to stop as much — and you will spare yourself and your family some unnecessary aches and pains.
Here are three tips to help you plan a healthy road trip:
1. Get a high quality car cooler. You don’t have to fall back on an environmentally unfriendly, disposable Styrofoam cooler or a bulky, picnic-style one with a handle, either. Instead, look for a cooler specifically designed for your car, like the Peak Peak PKCOJN 12-volt, nine-can travel cooler and warmer, $52.95 at Sears.
This cooler is like a mini fridge. It can cool your salads and sandwiches and even warm pre-heated meals by plugging into the cigarette lighter. Even when turned off, the food stays insulated.
Save money with Sears coupons and deals.
Oh, and just because this cooler can hold nine cans, don’t think that means Diet Pepsi, if you’re aiming for a healthy trip. Instead pack plenty of water (carbonated water, if you crave the bubbles), unsweetened teas and fresh-squeezed juice, if you think you or your kids will need a quick pick-me-up.
2. It’s easy to fall back on pre-packaged bars and snack crackers, but fresh food is always the best. Even the “healthiest” bar doesn’t hold up to real food: celery, baby carrots, berries, apples. Not to mention the price; produce is as inexpensive as it gets. Whoever said healthy food is only for the wealthy never bought a full bag of carrots for under a dollar.
For protein and an energy boost, pack plenty of nuts.
For a lightweight munchie, reach for sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, rice cakes and popcorn. Choose unsalted or lightly salted to minimize sodium. If you can’t resist crackers or chips, instead of Cheez-Its, pick up some Back to Nature Seeded Flatbread multigrain flax crackers ($3.59 at Walgreens).
Looking for a deal? Save 50 cents on pistachios at Walgreens.
3. Pack your lunch (or dinner) instead of hoping to find something not greasy and heavy at a truckstop or fast food chain. Make it fun.
Pack a special picnic lunch and stop at a rest spot with picnic tables. Spread out a blanket and relax, knowing that the whole wheat sandwiches, carrots and hummus and kale salad that you packed will leave your family energized and ready to make the final stretch of the drive.
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