With Thanksgiving just days away, we’re all gearing up for the busiest travel (and shopping) weekend of the year. With long car rides, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a vehicle packed to the brim, it can be all too easy to stop for fast food or less-than-stellar gas station eats. What are busy parents to do to keep the whole family eating smart during the hustle and bustle of the season? Chef and registered dietitian Michelle Dudash provides healthy on-the-go snacking tips that will see you and your loved ones through the never-ending car ride or early morning drive to the mall.
1. Plan Ahead – Planning is probably the most crucial for snacking success. Prepare healthy nibbles ahead of time to keep in your car, purse, or gym bag and reach for those when the kids get peckish. Some nutritious on-the-go options include apples, small boxes of raisins, bags of nuts or trail mix, and whole grain crackers. Putting car window shades will block the harsh sunlight and protect your kids from harmful UV rays.
2. Find the Perfect Pair – When thinking of what snacks to pack, aim for a blend of nutritious fats, complex carbs, and lean protein. This combination helps to curb the appetite, preventing you and your family from arriving at your destination famished. A low-fat cheese stick with pear slices, a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, or a handful of almonds with some grapes are just a few well-rounded choices.
3. Curb those Cravings – Got kids that love those sweet or salty snacks? For a sweet treat, pair a small handful of dark chocolate chips with a piece of fruit. For a salty crunch, opt for baby carrots dipped in hummus. This allows the little ones to get the flavors they crave while still staying on track with your healthy eating plan.
4. Do the Best You Can – Traveling for the holidays can be stressful. While planning helps, it’s almost impossible to plan for every obstacle. If snacks won’t do and you need to stop for a more substantial meal, choose a healthier fast food chain and pick the more nutritious items from the menu. It’s the holidays, so some less healthy eating is expected; just be sure to get back to the good stuff as soon as possible!
Bonus: Trail mix is one of our favorite snacks. To mix up a batch that is sure to be a hit, try combining 2 cups cocoa roasted almonds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup pistachio kernels, ½ cup dried cranberries, and ½ cup cashews.
For more tips for staying healthy during the holidays, be sure to check out our other blogs or visit the ADA website at www.eatright.org. Also, find us on Facebook or Twitter by searching FamilyFoodLLC!
Have a fantastic holiday weekend, and we’ll be back next week with more for you to chew on!