Almost 90 percent of Americans will take a road trip this summer. If you’re in this traveling troupe, what sort of food will you pack for your snacks on the go? This year, skip the gas station junk food and check out these four super-fueled snacks to help you do your road trip right.
Power Up with Pistachios
If you’re a savory snack sort of person, pass on the potato chips and choose pistachios instead. Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat nuts. A serving size of pistachios is 49 nuts, which has 160 calories. Compare that to potato chips, where one serving is just 15 chips. Pistachios dish out three times the amount of protein and fiber than potato chips. Another plus with pistachios is they pack in good fats. Almost 90 percent of the fat in pistachios is unsaturated— the healthier type of fat.
Provided you’re not the one driving, pistachios can also keep you busy on the road. While you’re working to shell your pistachios, you’re also keeping portion size in check. A pistachio’s shell not only makes you work for your food, but it also acts as a visual cue of how much you’ve eaten, helping to promote proper portioning. This “pistachio principle” can be helpful on the road where mindless eating sometimes takes place.
Dried Fruit En Route
Fiber is key to keep you feeling full out on the open road. Dried fruits are a great road trip snack because they’re packed with fiber and other nutrients. In a half cup serving of dried fruit, you get a decent amount of fiber. Figs have 8 grams, prunes have 6 grams and dried peaches have 3 grams of fiber.
Keep an eye out for dried fruits with added sugars and instead select options that only have fruit in the ingredient list. Banana chips don’t make the cut as they’re usually fried and may have added sugar. You can enjoy dried fruit on its own or try mixing it into homemade trail mix.
Protein as Your Co-Pilot
Protein also helps promote satiety, or the feeling of fullness. But chicken and fish aren’t usually found in portable snack packs. Instead, focus on other sources of protein. Beef jerky is a satisfying snack that is readily available at most roadside stops. You can hard-boil eggs before you hit the road or pack some mozzarella string cheese sticks. If plant-based protein is more your thing, prepare hummus with veggie sticks to go or snack on sunflower seeds.
Think About Your Drink
The brain’s hypothalamus controls both our hunger and thirst mechanisms. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we might actually just be thirsty. Don’t neglect your need to drink and be sure to bring your beverages when you hit the road.
Drinking fluids expands the stomach, which in turn starts sending satiety signals to the brain. But be smart about selecting your drinks! Look for beverages that do not have added sugars. If you do drink juice, choose 100% fruit juice over fruit drinks. Keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant and can help with concentration; but a cup of coffee should never be a replacement for a good night’s sleep!
Wherever your summer travels take you, don’t get stuck without snacks. Look for filling options that have protein and fiber; a good rule of thumb is to select snacks that have at least 3 grams of fiber or 3 grams of protein per portion. Stay hydrated with healthy drinks that won’t leave you feeling flat. Remember—life is a journey; not a destination!