Footloose and schedule-free sunny days are the hallmarks of summer living for many families. Your children and neighborhood friends bustle in and out of the house, you stretch out the evenings basking in the summer skies, and
you relish the slower pace of life and the longer daylight hours.
But then, you schedule a family vacation.
You work and re-work schedules, sleeping arrangements, entertainment, campsite reservations, and credit card points. You beg and plead with the powers above that no one will fall ill, fall injured, or fall out of favor with other members of the family.
We all want to get a good return on our vacation investment in the form of fond memories. One way to improve your chances of a fun-filled trip is to feed your family so they are well fueled.
Sure, vacations are the embodiment of leisure and indulgence, but our food choices may spoil our celebrations if they make us sick or over-indulged.
Here are a few tips to stay safe and well fueled during your summer travels:
Fuel for Fun
Hot dogs, s’mores, snow cones, and cheeseburgers are all essential parts of an American family summer. However, in between these “essentials,” fuel your family with nutrient-rich whole foods to keep them running at their best.
Here are a few nutritious on-the-go options:
Homemade or wholesome trail mixes – Think whole grain cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. A bit of chocolate can top it off nicely.
Nuts and seeds – Seasoned, spiced, or plain, if trail mix isn’t your favorite.
Fresh veggies for dipping – Sugar snap peas, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery dip nicely in hummus, guacamole, homemade greek yogurt ranch dip, or any store bought dressing in small to-go cups.
Low sugar, high fiber granola bars – like Kind Breakfast Bars.
Hydrating drinks – Water, 100% fruit juice boxes, V8 vegetable juice, Kefir, and ready to eat smoothies like Naked Juice. Be sure to watch portion sizes on beverages other than water. Without the bulk of fiber, a little juice goes a long way.
Yogurt cups – Aim for low-sugar alternatives. Try plain yogurts with fruit mix-ins and granola.
String cheese or cheese wedges
Homemade or Healthy Choice popcorn
Peanut butter and almond butter to-go pouches
Fruit cups and pureed fruit pouches – You can purchase ready-made or make your own at home with reusable plastic pouches and cups. Try mandarin oranges in a pop-top can. Aim for choices packaged in 100% fruit juice instead of heavy syrup.
Fresh fruit – Clementines and apples are resilient travel fruits. Wash your fruits, except berries, ahead of time for convenience. Bring along nut butter or fruited yogurt for dipping.
Low-sugar dried fruit leather – like the Stretch Island brand that Costco carries.
Whole grain pitas, tortillas, and breads – for spreads, rolls, and wraps.
Flavored tuna foil packets – like the lemon dill or Thai-style from Starkist.
Follow Food Safety Protocol
Avoid dreaded food sickness downers by abiding by these food safety rules whether you’re creekside in the canyon, car pooling with the kids, or curbside at the Ritz this summer:
Keep raw meat…(read the rest of the story)
Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness
Written by: Erica Hansen MS, RD, CD