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Categories > Children’s Health > Nutrition and weight management

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License to snack
Healthy nibbles for long car trips

Bottoms up

After making the effort to pack nutritious snacks, don’t throw it all out the car window by popping open a can of cola or other sugary beverage.

Water is the best thirst-quencher for you and your kids. It has no calories or sugar, and it’s cheap. But if your child wants more flavor, try these suggestions:

  • Milk. Choose 1 percent or nonfat to avoid an overload of saturated fat and calories.
  • Fruit juice. Pick 100 percent fruit juice.
  • Seltzer. Take one part seltzer-which doesn’t have the sugar, calories or caffeine of a regular soda-and mix it in a water bottle with one part 100 percent fruit juice to satisfy any fizz cravings.

When you’re trapped in a car with hungry kids and miles of road ahead of you, it’s tempting to take the easy road and rip open a bag of chips instead of preparing and packing healthier options ahead of time. But healthy snacks can stave off hunger pains far better than junk food, and you won’t feel guilty about what you and your kids are putting in your stomachs. Try these yummy suggestions:

  • Get in some extra servings of vegetables. Baby carrots and red pepper strips are perfectly portable. Make celery more tempting for your kids by spreading some peanut butter down the middle and topping it off with raisins for added sweetness.
  • Opt for fruits like bananas, grapes and apples. They’re sweet, need little preparation and, in theory, won’t leave the car a mess. You can also opt for dried fruit; just bear in mind that it has more calories than its fresh counterparts do.
  • Do breakfast food. Little hands fit perfectly into a resealable bag filled with whole-grain cereal.
  • Pack in the pop. Air-pop some popcorn before you leave and sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese or garlic powder.
  • Go granola. Most granola bars are packed with protein, but some are high in fat and sugars as well. Check the label before buying.
  • Say cheese, please. Growing bones need calcium, so stick some fun-to-eat, low-fat string cheese in a cooler and you’re good to go. Low-fat or fat-free yogurts or yogurt drinks low in sugars and fat are also good options.
  • Go nuts. They’re a great source of protein, but nuts are also high in calories. Get by on less by making your own trail mix: Toss together some low-fat granola, whole-grain cereal, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts and sweeten with raisins, cranberries or apricots.


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