10 Summer Travel Snacks (all earn Guiding Stars!)
1. Planters Trail Mix, with Mixed Nuts and Raisins (2 Stars) – aim for color, crunch and variety to keep it fun, but skip the chocolate (which doesn’t mix well with a hot car!)
2. Kashi TLC Trail Mix Granola Bars (1 Star) – wholesome and natural with nearly a full serving of protein in each bar
3. Justin’s All-Natural Classic Almond Butter Squeeze Pack (1 Star) – add to crackers, fruit or have on its own for a boost of protein and healthful fat
4. Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame, Goji Blend (3 Stars) – high in protein and crunchy
5. Terra Original Exotic Vegetable Chips (2 Stars) – colorful, crunchy and made from veggies (sounds like a win win!)
6. Smartfood popcorn (1 Star) – a “smart” snack and perfect accompaniment for the car TV!
7. Snyder’s of Hanover Organic Whole Wheat Pretzel Nibblers (1 Star)
8. Luna Sunrise Apple Cinnamon Nutrition Bar (2 Stars) – delicious varieties are available, which are satisfying and provide essential Omega fatty acids
9. Goldfish Cheddar Baked 100 Calorie Snack Crackers (1 Star) – whole grain and perfectly portioned
10. Fruitabu Grape Smoooshed Fruit (2 Stars) – these all-natural fruit snacks provide a ½ serving of fruit in each bar!
Tips for Choosing Healthy Travel Snacks
Trail mix: With so many healthful options, trail mix is a great summer snack. Combine healthful fats, such as pumpkin seeds with dry roasted, unsalted nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts for example) or unique proteins like roasted edamame. Lastly, add dried fruit and whole grain cereal…and skip chocolate, which can melt in the car! Mix all the ingredients in a big Ziploc bag and then scoop into snack size bags for portion control.
Smoothies: There is no better, more refreshing way to load up on nutrients in the summer than with a smoothie! Blend together wholesome ingredients like 0% plain Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, 100% juice and ground flaxseed (for “good-for-you” omega fatty acids). Pour into a chilled to-go cup and you have a fast, satisfying snack that combines several food groups!
Nutty sandwiches: Summer is a good time to get “nutty” with your sandwiches, as nut butters don’t require refrigeration. Begin with 100% whole grain bread and then top with your favorite nut butters (such as peanut, almond or cashew). Then add sliced banana, apple, raisins or a bit of reduced sugar all-fruit spread. Nut free? No problem, simply use soy-nut butter or sunflower butter instead.
Bars, Bars, Bars: There are many different energy bars available at the super market. They make great go-to snacks and can hold you over well between meals – especially on a long road trip! Aim for bars that are high in protein and provide the “right” mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Steer clear of those that appear to provide mostly sugar or are too high in calories (above 200 calories).
Fruit: A refreshing and quick snack, summer fruits can give you a little boost between meals. They add important color, vitamins and antioxidants to your day. If possible, add a cheese stick for better balance.
Protein shakes or vitamin/mineral powders: Bring a packet of protein powder mix or a similar product, and mix with skim milk while you are on the road. The result is a drink that can offer a variety of vitamins and minerals, and protein to add nutritional benefit to your day.
At the gas station convenience store: What if you are on the road in the summer and don’t have a good snack packed? Believe it or not, you can refuel at the gas station too! Many of these little shops sell low-fat yogurt, cheese sticks, energy bars or small bags of trail mix. Some even have a deli! Just use your label reading skills and pass on the foods that offer too many calories without enough wholesome fat and protein. You can also use Food Finder to identify the star-rating for many different food products.
About our Consulting Dietitian
Allison Stowell MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian and a working mom of two. Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in their eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.
She also runs a successful private practice with offices in Danbury, CT, Bedford Hills, NY and Mahopac, NY. Since 2007, Allison has also worked with the grocer, Hannaford Brothers Corporation, as a Nutrition Coordinator. She provides complementary nutrition classes and tours, community workshops and one-on-one shopping experiences at their Carmel, NY location.
She joins the Guiding Stars team to help people in a number of sectors (grocery, hospitals, schools and universities) to understand how to use the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program to make healthier food choices.
Allison lives in Connecticut with her husband, two small children and her dog, Chase.