Honey, don't forget the (healthy) vacation snacks
It's summer time, the time when most people go on vacation. We always make sure we have the essentials, the animals are taken care of and somebody is watching the house. The only thing we might forget to take care of is our health and our pockets.
Why spend so much money in the gas station or airport on unhealthy snacks that aren't even filling? It's time you take a minute to think about healthy and less costly snacks to bring on the road with you.
Here are a few ideas:
* Muffins: That's right, muffins. Not the kind you buy in a store, the kind you make at home. These will last awhile and be filling. Great recipes and more can be found at search.ksre.ksu.edu/?qt=muffin.
* Fruit: Any kind of fruit will do, canned, fresh or dried. As long as you have fruit in your diet, you are doing great. Some of the best fruit that travels easiest are apples, bananas, grapes and cherries.
* Vegetables: Now that we have fruit on the list, you know we had to add veggies. The best veggies to have on the road include celery, tomatoes, snap peas, carrots and broccoli. Add some veggie dip in small portions by taking it in a small container that easily can be tossed when done.
* Nuts: Aww nuts! Hopefully you won't forget these, because nuts are filled with protein. The healthiest nuts are pistachios, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and hazelnuts.
* Cheese: String cheese would be the best kind to bring with you; it is easy to carry and hand out. When looking at cheese, make sure to look at the nutritional value. Some string cheese can have as little as 80 calories but still be packed with protein
* Trail mix: I know there is one item in trail mix we all love -- the sweet stuff. It is good to have that sweet stuff, but in small portions. One good way to make sure the mix isn't loaded with sweets is to make your own. If you make your own, remember to have nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains and sweets. If you need ideas on recipes, I found great mixtures online.
* Butter: No, it's not what you think. I am talking about peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter, etc. Nut butter is bursting with protein and is great to put on fruit, muffins or just to eat by the spoonful.
* Granola bars: Some of the best things to have on a trip or in your purse are granola bars. The best types are ones that have ample fiber and protein. They are easy to store and keep as well.
* Rice cakes: There are many different types of rice cakes; my favorite are the wild blueberry multigrain fiber crisps. There are many different flavors and sizes of rice cakes, something to suit anyone.
* Water: You never can have enough water. Water is the best thing on the road. Who needs sugary drinks when you are stuck in a car or airplane?
Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring or hard; it can be fun and less costly. When bringing snacks on the road, it is easiest to portion things out in containers that can be thrown away if needed.
Remember to take breaks to get out, stretch and walk around if you can. Now have fun on your vacation and snack wisely.
This column was prepared by Jennifer McGonegal, summer intern at the Ellis County Extension Office.