Snacks for holiday road trips

With a little planning, healthy snacks can join you on the road for the holidays.

Heading out for a holiday trip this year? Every year the holiday season not only brings great joy, fun and memories to our lives, but at times the holidays also bring added stress, additional events and activities and even added pounds to the scale. A road trip to visit family and friends or for a holiday vacation is exciting and adventurous, but it is a big job. Adding more prep work to your list might not sound like a great idea, initially but it can definitely benefit your body in the long run.

Planning for and packing healthy snacks can prevent unnecessary stops for unhealthy foods. Quick stops at gas stations or drive through fast food restaurants often lead to hundreds (even up to thousands) of unwanted calories, extra sodium, fat and sugar. Hours in the car, can lead to boredom and mindless eating of unhealthy foods. Saving those calories from high calorie snacks during the road trip might allow you to indulge later in your favorite holiday dessert or treat.

Michigan State University Extension recommends packing the following healthy snacks to help avoid the gas station or fast food stops filled with extra and empty calories:

  • Fresh fruits or vegetables (prewashed)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Dried fruits
  • Water
  • 100 percent fruit juice
  • Low-fat cheese sticks
  • Sandwiches on whole grain bread or pita

If you are taking any perishable foods such as a few of the examples listed above, pack a cooler with ice or ice packs. Perishable foods need to be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for safety to prevent bacterial growth.

When planning healthy snacks, it is always a good idea to consider your healthy snack as a “mini meal” and try to include two or more food groups from MyPlate. Balancing all snacks with healthy foods from MyPlate will help your body benefit from all the nutrients it needs.

As you hit the road for holiday travels, having pre-planned snacks can help the holidays start out a little healthier.

Green grapes

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