The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 17, 2013

Amanda Stone: Packing snacks for a road trip requires planning, preparation

JOPLIN, Mo. — There's a road trip looming in my near future. Although there's plenty to prepare for, my mind continually drifts and fixates on the food aspect, as usual.

Just because you're stuck in the car for hours doesn't mean you have to eat fast food or gas station fare. A little planning and preparation is all you need to have meals in the car that are just as convenient as the roadside stuff.

We expend very little energy while we travel. Logically, we don't need to eat much on a road trip because we're not burning many calories that need to be replaced. Keep that in mind when you stop for gas and you're tempted by the shiny packages. If you must get stuff in crinkly packages, go for beef jerky or nuts, but avoid sweet treats. You don't want to be trapped in the car with a kid on a sugar high. And stick with water to drink Ñ it's what you should be drinking anyway, and it won't make a mess when it inevitably spills.

Boredom leads to snacking. When everyone is tired of staring out the window, playing I-Spy and looking for license plates, be ready with a little snack. Peanuts in their shells are a fun surprise. The car will be a mess anyway, so go for it. Baby carrots, apple slices, orange segments, grapes and berries are great fresh treats. Popcorn, sunflower seeds, nuts, trail mix and Cheerios or whole-grain crackers are good, too. String cheese and boiled eggs are easy hand-held protein sources.

Take snack preparation to the next level. String Cheerios, pretzels and dried fruit onto floss to make a munchies necklace. Skewer fruit, veggie and cheese chunks onto toothpicks for mini kebabs. Save your peanut butter jar with just a bit left in the bottom, and fill it with celery sticks. Main dishes such as whole-grain macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and casseroles can be made in muffin tins for a no-utensils-required dinner. Once you're on the road, you'll be so glad you put forth the extra effort.

Before you hit the road, portion everything in snack-size zip-close bags so it's easy to whip out a snack. No stopping necessary.

 

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