Updated: Mar 25, 2022
Summer can mean rest and relaxation, but it can also mean being on the go-between kids' games. BBQs, or getaways. it's usually ok to break your eating plan rules here and there when it comes to special events. However, in the summer, those seem to happen on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
That could be a slippery slope if you let yourself 'slip' each day - especially if you're too busy to squeeze in physical activity. Feeding your body appropriately when you are busy helps give you the energy you need to keep up with your hectic schedule.
Sometimes it's just not possible to know how your day will unfold. So, is it possible to find healthful snacks on the road? "Absolutely", says Nicole Arnold, RD, LD, MSU alumni, and registered dietitian for Hy-Vee Supermarkets and Gas Stations.
"There are more healthy options at convenience stores than ever before. When it comes to making a choice, avoid a good versus bad concept but instead, ask yourself what is the better or best choice. Aim for foods high in #protein and #fiber since those are the most filling. For example, jerky, hummus, trail mixes, or whole pieces of fruit with string cheese".
Possibly the most important, yet most overlooked, area is hydration. Especially with the summer heat, you can become dehydrated quickly making you tired or ill. Try keeping a bottle of water with you as much as possible.
Arnold suggests avoiding empty calories found in sugary drinks.
"Drink calories add up fast and leave us unsatisfied in the end". Freezing a mostly full bottle of water not only will thaw by the time you are ready to drink it, but it also helps keep other foods cold. Ice expands when it freezes so leave a little room in your bottle.
Fruits and vegetables travel well. Most do not need refrigeration and convenience stores to offer fresh, canned, and dried varieties. They also help you stay hydrated.
"Choosing fruits and vegetables can help because of their high nutrient and water content", notes Arnold. You may notice cut apple brown once they are exposed to oxygen. While this doesn't affect them nutritionally, it can be visually unappealing. If you want to take pre-sliced apples, try soaking them in lemon juice first.
Stopping at a restaurant can provide lean proteins and more balanced nutrition than found in convenience stores. Many restaurants have their nutrition available online to help make healthful choices. And take advantage of apps. Some track calories and exercise, while some count fruit and vegetable intakes or give a daily nutrition tip.
If you know you'll be bouncing between commitments all day, try to plan ahead. Pre-packing your own #snacks will not only be cheaper, but you'll be in control of what you are eating. That (mostly) frozen water bottle will keep cheese sticks or smoothies cold. Having granola handy can give a boost to #yogurts or hummus can add to veggies or chips. For longer days, pack granola bars, sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly, or others that do not need refrigeration. For the days you do have time to cook, make 1-2 servings extra and vacuum seal them for your freezer - a quick thaw will give you a homemade meal in minutes before you hit the road again.
Summer is a busy time for most, but with the ever-improving options at convenience stores or with your own pre-planning, you can still keep a healthful eating pattern.