Nutrition: Snacks on the go

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Get your motor runnin’. Head
out on the highway.
you may sing the lyrics of
this song as you pack up, its title,
“Born to be Wild”, is the last thing
you want happening in your car as
you embark on a family road trip.

Being prepared is key, whether
it’s a few hours drive or a dayslong
adventure to discover new
places. As you know, hungry
youngsters make for irritable kids,
who will argue over every little
thing including whose foot is on
the wrong side of the car. For some
children, being hungry in a car
may also boost the chances of motion
sickness. Small snacks every
few hours may be very helpful.

Pack a cooler of snacks

Keep eats on hand to make healthy
eating on the road an easier task.
Talk over the menu possibilities
with the family ahead of time so
that you have everyone’s favourites.
Tote along cut up fruits and
vegetables and beverages. That
way if you’re stopping for a bathroom
break between meals, you
can avoid the temptation of venturing
into the candy shop or fast food

Fruits and veggies and other
higher-fibre choices, such as whole
grain cereal and crackers, can also
help both kids and adults alike
avoid constipation problems that
can accompany sitting in the car
for hours on end. Skip the dried
fruit when tooth brushing isn’t
possible. Even if you’re eating at a
roadside restaurant, your snacks
can help tame appetites before
heading into the eatery.

If you’re staying in a hotel, fill
your cooler with ice before you
leave. While you may not have food
at the time, you never know what
seasonal goodies you might fi nd
at a fruit stand. In addition, bring
along some bottled water, a sharp
knife from home and resealable
plastic bags and containers. That
way washing and peeling fruit or
storing leftovers will be a snap.

Packing a palate-pleasing picnic
will help you save money, but it
can also help you avoid fat and
sodium-laden fast food. Save your appetite and calories for the good

Do your homework
before you leave

For longer trips, check out what’s
available along the route. Are there
parks or play areas where you can
stop for a picnic or a little physical
activity? Bring a ball or something
you can toss around and get the
kids running to burn off some
pent-up energy. Then enjoy a
picnic with the goodies you have in
your cooler.

Check out what restaurants and
food stops may be on your route.
You might come across some appealing
and quaint eateries, but if
all you see are the same fast food
chains that are at home, then go for
the picnic.

Don’t forget to keep your return
trip in mind. While you’re heading
to your destination, scope out the
food shops and delis where you
can purchase some yummy picnic
fixings while you are heading

Safe travels, and bon appetit!

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting
dietitian and author of The Enlightened Eater’s
Whole Foods Guide
(Viking Canada). Read
more at

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, July 2013.

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