Easy to pack snacks

We are busier than ever and with the summer fast approaching road trips are in most of our plans.  Pack healthier snacks that travel well to keep your family happy.  You'll also save money by avoiding stops for impulse buys at convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

Planning healthy snacks that travel:

1.    Make snacks that are a satisfying balance of calories and nutrients.  Children get about 25% of their daily calories from snacks, so plan to have a satisfying snack that is also nutritious.  Include at least 2 main food groups in snacks – ideally a protein source like diary, meats or peanut butter and grains, fruit or vegetables.

2.    Portion control is important when planning snacks to avoid over-indulging.  Pre-portion snacks in individual containers and snack-size zip-lock bogs. 

3.    Think about food safety and hygiene on the go:  Use a small cooler with ice packs for perishable items.  Bring along hand sanitizer gel or wipes and napkins. Don't forget to pack a bag or two for trash.

4.    Make it a family affair!  Get the kids involved in planning and preparing snacks.

5.    Make sure you pack water as a thirst quencher—dehydration can leave you with tired and cranky passengers.

Snacks that travel well with a cooler:

*100 calorie packs of Wholly Guacamole and pre-portioned bags of tortilla chips.  Wash it down with individual cartons of low fat milk

*Make ahead yogurt parfaits (don't forget to pack the spoons).  Layer Meijer Greek yogurt and fresh berries in to go cups with lids.  Pack individual portions (2 Tbsp.) granola in snack size zip lock bags to add when you're ready to enjoy.

*Individual hummus cups, veggie sticks and whole grain pita chips.

No cooler necessary snacks:

*Trail mix – a no-hassle snack that is fast and nutritious.  Pre-mix your own blend of trail mix or pack ingredients in separate containers (bags) and let your kids build their trail mix on the road.  Try the morning munch blend:  2 cups mini shredded wheat squares, 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, blueberries, or whatever you like), 1 cup nuts or seeds (peanuts or sunflower seeds).   For more trail mix ideas download the Meijer healthy living "Easy Meals Healthy Families" guidebook at www.meijerhealthyliving.com .

*Peanut butter cups with whole grain crackers or pretzel twits and/or bananas. Use a plastic spoon to scoop a bit of peanut butter on your banana with each bite you enjoy.  Wash down with 100% juice boxes.

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