I recently had the privilege of exhibiting at a health fair for employees of Ocean Spray, Inc. I met some delightful individuals, but one especially caught my attention. He is an avid reader of my weekly columns (thank you!), and stated that he enjoyed them, but that they never quite met his needs. In discussing the matter further with him, I learned that he is on the road for hours each day, and often gone overnight. He also has type 2 diabetes, which can complicate matters. He asked for some suggestions for meals and snacks that he could take with him on the road. So, that is the topic of this week’s column. Thanks for the suggestion!
Traveling can alter your routine, making it difficult to keep up healthy habits and diabetes management. With a little planning, it’s possible to make healthy food choices even if you’re not at home. Don’t let those blue highway signs trick you into thinking that fast food is your only option while on the road. There are plenty of healthy snacks and even meals that you can pack for a road trip – long or short. For shorter trips, it’s easy to bring along non-perishable snacks like:
· Unsalted nuts or trail mix (make your own, using a combination of almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds). You could also include some dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, or raisins. Just remember that 2 tablespoons of dried fruit will add about 15 grams of carbohydrate to your snack.
· Half a peanut butter sandwich made with a piece of 100% whole wheat bread and 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or almond butter.
· Whole fruit such as oranges, tangerines, apples, bananas, grapes, or cherries. Remember that fruits have carbohydrates, too.
· Individual cups of mandarin orange sections or fruit cocktail. Don’t forget a fork for this one!
· Tuna snack packs.
· Individual snack packs of sugar-free pudding or gelatin. These do not have to be kept cold.
Always pack plenty of water, since traveling often leads to dehydration. This is also very important if you’ll be traveling by air. Be careful of drinking too much coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages, which act as a diuretic and can also contribute to dehydration. As always, it is also best to limit sugary beverages like soda, sweetened fruit punch, or lemonade. If you are going to be in the car (or 18-wheeler) for several hours or during meal time, pack a cooler of healthy foods. Michael Marks, Produce Man for the American Diabetes Association, provides the following ideas:
“Road Trip Crunchy Salad”
Pre-prep: dice veggies of choice (cucumbers, peppers, carrots, zucchini) and place in snack size zipper bag. Top with 1 tablespoon grated cheese. Keep in cooler until ready to prepare salad.
Purchase individual-sized bag of whole grain chips (like Sun Chips©)
When ready to eat, slightly crush chips while still in bag. Open bag and add veggies and cheese. If desired, add your favorite Mexican sauce. Fold top of chip bag down and shake slightly. Open and enjoy!
This is a great idea to replace the typical sandwich. Using a lettuce leaf, place a slice of turkey on top. Add your favorite veggies, such as cucumbers, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, as desired. For a special touch, add a little bit of peanut sauce or salad dressing. Roll up and wrap in foil. Place in a cooler until ready to eat.
Here are some additional snack and meal ideas that can be packed in plastic containers or small sealable bags:
1) Make some tuna or chicken salad before hitting the road. Eat it over some greens or have it on crackers or a piece of 100% whole wheat bread.
2) Instead of a sandwich, you could also try a tortilla wrap. Just use some lean deli meat and non-starchy vegetables, along with some cheese and wrap it all up in a whole wheat tortilla. There are some low-carb tortillas on the market, so those make a great choice!
3) Pack some hard-boiled eggs for a snack or throw them on a premade salad.
4) Cheese sticks or string cheese with whole wheat crackers.
5) Pack single servings of light yogurt and mix in some berries for a yogurt parfait on the road.
There is bound to be a time when fast food is your only choice. Remember that large chain restaurants should have their nutrition information for you on-hand. It is also available online, which you could access if you have a smart phone. Take advantage of it and use the nutrition facts when making choices at these types of restaurants.
Enjoy the fall weather – visit the Creative Arts Contest, Arts & Crafts Show, and Dinner Tonight Cooking demonstrations at the 2014 Hopkins County Fall Festival! Call 903-885-3443 for more information!
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax