If you’re like me, you may be feeling a bit of wanderlust after months of staying at or close to home during the pandemic. According to a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, nearly half of Americans are planning an overnight trip by the end of the summer, with the majority traveling by car.
Whether you’re planing to hit the road in the coming months or just taking a drive for the day, avoid fast food and C-store fare. You’ll save time, money and boost the quality of your overall diet — as well as reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus — by taking along these tasty and easy-to-pack snacks:
— Vegetable rice paper rolls.
— Yogurt parfait with wild blueberries.
— No-bake energy bites.
— Fruit with squeezable nut butter.
— Prepackaged portions of mixed nuts, jerky and dried fruits.
[READ: Low-Calorie Snacks.]
Vegetable Rice Paper Rolls
Not only are these a delicious snack, they’ll fill you up with fiber and help you get your veggie servings for the day. Choose your favorite veggies. I love cucumber, red cabbage, lettuce, basil, cilantro, peppers. Add some noodles and roll it all up in rice paper wrappers.
You can eat them on their own, or if you have more time (and cold storage) pair with a sweet/savory peanut sauce. For one of my favorite recipes, check out: https://www.littlebroken.com/vegetable-rice-paper-rolls/ (Note: I omit the avocado, as it doesn’t always travel well.)
[READ: Snacks to Lose Weight.]
Yogurt Parfait With Wild Blueberries
If you have a thermos, make a perfect on-the-go parfait. Start with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, add your favorite granola, top with wild blueberries and you’ll create a nutritional powerhouse snack.
A half-cup of Greek yogurt provides a whopping 12 grams of filling protein, and granola will give you an energy boost with its complex carbohydrates. Wild blueberries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that studies show may improve brain health, gut health, heart health, and reduce your risk of diabetes and even some types of cancer.
No-Bake Energy Bites
If you’re just doing a short trip and want a quick pick-me-up, pack some no-bake energy bites. There are many different recipes online, but my favorites always include a mix of oats, almond or peanut butter, coconut flakes, flax and chia seeds. (Of course, you can add a few chocolate chips too).
Fruit With Squeezable Nut Butter
Many types of fruit travel well: Think apples, pears and bananas. They are great on their own, providing vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. To make your fruit snack more filling, add a nut butter. A squeezable pack of almond butter — perfect for travel — provides 6 grams of hunger-quashing protein and 3 grams of fiber.
You may be surprised to see popcorn make the list, but it’s a nutritious grab-and-go snack, with 6 grams of fiber in just 120 calories (for a 3-cup serving, popped in olive oil). Just skip the melted butter topping.
Popcorn is a whole grain and provides complex carbs for energy, as well as essential vitamins, including folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6, A, E and K.
Add a dash of salt and you’ll have a savory treat, without all of the saturated fat and calories of chips.
In addition to plain water, calorie-free flavored seltzer is a good thirst-quenching choice — and a great replacement for soda. Also consider unsweetened iced tea. The idea is that you don’t want to drink your calories or consume sugary beverages.
And Don’t Forget
Whether you’re traveling cross-state or just across town, consider keeping a bag with non-perishable, on-the-go snacks in the car to minimize your stops and unnecessary exposure, as well as ensure healthier options than the convenience store, rest stop or gas station may offer. Individual portions of jerky (meat or veggie), mixed nuts and dried fruit like prunes and raisins are good choices.
No matter the distance of your trip, keep hand sanitizer and wipes handy in the car. And make sure to use them before eating. If the trip is longer, use a small, insulated container or cooler to keep your items cool and fresh.
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