I originally wrote this post for The Produce for Better Health Foundation. Read original with live links to even more fruit and veggie info here: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/summertime-snacks-on-the-road-or-at-home
Summertime Snacks … On the Road or At Home
Summertime is a fun time to spend visiting friends, enjoying the lake or backyard, or taking a road trip! Snacks are an essential part of any plans and with the abundance of tasty fruits and vegetables, can be a breeze to prepare while providing the nutrients needed every day. Fruits and veggies are a refreshing way to help stay hydrated in the heat because they have high water content. They also pack/travel well and they’re easy to eat.
Ideas for Smart and Sensational Summer Snacking
Remember the Rules of the Road
◦Balance. Aim for at least two out of the five food groups at snack time to help with overall balance of daily food intake.
◦Fruits & Veggies. Make one food group at every eating occasion a fruit or vegetable.
◦Stay Stocked. Keep all food groups on hand so creating a satisfying, healthier snack can be a snap! (Many foods that work for snack ideas can work for meals, too.)
◦Peanut Butter & Yogurt. Try peanut butter with celery, carrots or bell pepper strips, or vanilla yogurt with added blueberries or strawberries.
Have Snack Staples Available
◦Whole Grains. Bread, tortilla, cereal and other whole grains can provide 2 grams of fiber per serving.
◦Summer Favorites. Stock up on fresh cherries, melon, and other summer favorites. Try frozen and dried fruits, or canned fruit in juice or water.
◦Fruit & Veggie Forms. All forms of fruits and veggies matter. Choose from fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice (drain and rinse, or purchase low-sodium options in canned). Canned items with pop top lids work great for camping trips, and frozen veggies double as an ice pack in the cooler while traveling to the campground. The thawed veggies can then be stirred into a pasta salad.
◦Dairy. Keep a variety of dairy products on hand: ◾Cheese with less than 5 grams of total fat per serving.
◾Fat-free or 1% milk for children over the age of two, teens, and adults.
◾Yogurt … for a refreshing treat, freeze containers of yogurt and as it melts, stir in chunks of peaches, nectarines, or blueberries.
◾String cheese is a great portable snack for making veggie kabobs – portion controlled, the cheese can be chunked and speared alternately with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, and summer squash. Drizzle with light ranch or dip in salsa for a sassy snack.
◦Meats (proteins). Eggs, nuts, peanut butter, legumes, and lean meats are perfect. For food safety when traveling, choose nuts, peanut butter, and canned meats/fish.
Make it Easy!
◦Tools of the Road. Pack a cooler with a thermometer to track proper temperatures of transported food, ice packs, hand wipes, paper towels/napkins, and disposable (recyclable) dishes/cutlery. Plastic table cloths can instantly freshen up road side tables, or even help keep the back seat clean while snacking.
◦Water. Bottled water is another great road trip necessity. Pack enough in a separate cooler so everyone can stay properly hydrated and the food cooler can be kept tightly shut so proper food temperature is better maintained.
◦Sunscreen & Bug Spray. Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray! Every outside activity is more enjoyable without a sunburn or bug bites.
Recipes that Travel Well
Northwest Cherry and Tropical Fruit Salad
Dessert Fruit Kabobs
No-Guilt Watermelon “Cake”
Kim Kirchherr, MS, RD, LDN, CDE