Summer snacks on the go

Planning for road trips can save you money while traveling and help keep every at peace when confined together.

Packing snacks in an insulated-cooler before going on a road trip will help save a little extra money in your wallet.

Packing snacks in an insulated-cooler before going on a road trip will help save a little extra money in your wallet.

Are you planning a family road trip this summer? For many of us, summer is a time when school is out of session and family vacation time begins. If you are packing a car full of items, it can sometimes be challenging to think about packing snacks for the road. However, making a priority to pack snacks in an insulated-cooler before getting on the road will help save a little extra money in your wallet. It will also help you and your family avoid foods that contain empty calories, such as chips, candy and sugary beverages.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages parents to pack healthy snack choices, including: Bottled water, fresh veggies or fruit, dried nuts and fruit, low-fat or fat-free string cheese.

Use snack-sized resealable baggies as containers, which are a great tool for portion control. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends handling food safely on the road for the health of your family. By allowing your children to help prepare the snacks can be a way to encourage them to eat the snacks later. Also, making snacks can be a pleasurable experience for all involved.

Lastly, don’t forget to include some fun entertainment for the entire family. Pack a few books, music CD’s/tapes or plan some visual games for the road. Consider a simple yet universal game of “Simon says” or create a list of items on a paper for your family to use for a scavenger game. These games are age-appropriate for all, and do not require any packing.

Following the above tips are easy and doable for your entire family for happy, safe road tripping! Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. Image source: Fabulous Fashion and Food

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