We spend a good deal of time in the car living in SoCal. Whether we are commuting to work, running errands, picking up the kids, or heading out on a vacation, time spent in the car can add up to multiple hours each day. Road trips and long car rides tend to be notorious for eating out of boredom, and more times than not we may find ourselves grabbing a bag of candy or a sugary beverage as a quick fix. Having snacks that will satisfy you as well as positively nourish you, come in handy in times like these.
It is important for snacks to serve their purpose: to hold you over until you are having your next meal. One nutrient that can do just this is protein. Ultimately, pairing protein with a carbohydrate will ward hunger off and keep us satisfied until our next balanced meal. The combination of nutrients allows for a longer digestion and absorption period versus just simply having a carbohydrate type of snack alone. Crackers, pretzels, and chips are often go-to snacks but pairing these with a protein source is a sure fire way to effectively nourish the body. By adding a small amount of natural peanut butter to an apple, a piece of cheese with crackers, or guacamole to whole-grain tortilla chips, the snack becomes much more balanced and filling. Alternatively, eating a carbohydrate source without protein will give you energy quicker, but, may cause a drastic drop in energy much sooner than with a combined, balanced snack.
Portion size also becomes an important factor while on the road. It’s easy to open a container of nuts and mindlessly snack leading us to consume more than what is truly need. If you know you are going to be traveling, think ahead and pack snacks so they are ready when hunger sets in. For example, plan ahead by portioning single servings of snacks in little sandwich bags, which were great for adults, but kids too!
Let’s not forget drinks! Energy drinks, sugary beverages and dolled-up coffee drinks are a go-to at many gas stations. Although they provide a jolt of energy when exhaustion hits, they do not truly nourish the body. They are usually laden with excess sugar and contain zero nutrients. They typically cause restlessness later in the evening or withdrawal symptoms if it is becoming a habit. Flavoring water with sliced citrus fruit, berries, or cucumbers is an easy way to ‘taste’ up your drink and still hydrate and nourish the body and mind.
Road trips and car rides can be fun, so make your snacks fun, healthy, and delicious! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
-Apples and natural peanut butter
-Nuts and fruit
-Cheese and crackers
-Plain greek yogurt with berries
-Veggies and hummus
-Almond butter and banana
-Cottage cheese and pineapple
-Baby Caprese Salad (See recipe)
For more information, cooking tips, recipes, workouts and more please visit befit-beyou.com or e-mail Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ashley Lytwyn, MS, RDN, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist offering one-on-one nutritional counseling and couching for adult weight management and family nutrition. She believes in ‘ditching the diet’ and learning to listen to individual body cues to help achieve a healthy weight. She provides solutions for permanent weight loss and long-lasting sustainable results. Ashley also focuses on family meal planning, disordered eating, and building unique systems that work for allergies, intolerances, and picky eaters!