Eating healthy on the go
Grand River Health
Between sports practice, holidays, road trips and vacations, the spring and summer months mean that the days are getting longer while time seems to be running shorter.
The kids are out of school and are more active (and ravenous) than ever, so having satisfying snacks on hand is crucial. Planning in-between-meal snacks in advance is a must for any healthy diet, but it is even more essential when families are living life on the go.
A good quality snack needs to be not only healthful, but fast and convenient for families on the run. Fruits, vegetables, non-fat or low-fat dairy, lean proteins and whole-grains are the best choices to keep the family fueled.
Healthy snack choices may include something as simple as whole fruit — think apples, Cuties, grapes — or sliced vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers or bell peppers.
If you’re feeling more creative, you could even combine foods such as a banana with 1 tablespoon of nut butter wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla, or sliced cucumbers with 1 tablespoon of hummus in a whole-grain pita.
Think quick, convenient, hand-held foods that are difficult to spoil and are capable of outlasting a hot afternoon in your car. You can even encourage children to help with snack preparation.
Trail mix: Add dried fruits (raisins, cranberries or pineapple), unsalted peanuts (cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds) and whole-grain cereals to a sandwich bag.
Fruit: Choose whole fruits, and avoid fruits in sugary syrup. Add a nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter to apples or pears.
Vegetables: Save time by slicing them, then dip in hummus or cottage cheese.
String cheese or yogurt: Choose fat-free or non-fat single serving versions. Try non-fat yogurt with 3 tablespoons of whole grain granola with fruit.
Sandwiches: Cut pita bread in half; add ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Top with cinnamon.
Whole grain snack bars: Make sure the bars have less than 15 grams of sugar, at least 4 grams of fiber, and around 150 calories.
Keep a cooler or insulated container in the car. Stock up on ice as needed to keep those perishable snacks nice and cool.
Have an emergency food kit that contains slow-to-perish food items such as whole-grain granola bars, cereal and nuts.
Swap out the sugary drinks for fruit-infused water. Always bring along a water bottle (or two, for good measure).
Remember, snacks shouldn’t replace meals. Use snack-sized bags to control serving sizes.
Reanna Moore is a clinical dietitian at Grand River Health.
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