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A snack is a portion of food, often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged snack foods and other processed foods, as well as items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often cold cuts, fruit, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods, as one form of convenience food, are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with or in lieu of snack foods.

A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.

10 Healthy Snacks For Summer Travel…

Today’s post is written by Registered Dietician, Allison Stowell, MS, RD, CDN on behalf of Guiding Stars.

I truly believe that the right snacks can make or break your day. Go too long between meals and you are probably going to overeat …choose a poor snack and you will likely have the same result (plus 100 calories or so).

But choose the right snack and you create a nutritious bridge from meal to meal that sustains you, controls hunger, appetite, fatigue and even mood. The Guiding Stars star-rated snack suggestions below are ideal because they include carbohydrate, protein and fat, which is a combination that will leave you satisfied. They are also great for your next summer trip as they fit into a small bag or drink cooler.

Here are 10 healthy snacks for summer travel that all earn Guiding Stars:

  1. Non-fat plain Greek yogurt:  Pack single serving portions in a cooler. Enjoy as-is, topped with nuts and dried fruit, add honey for a sweet fruit dip or sprinkle in ranch seasoning for a veggie dip.
  2. Peanut Butter on whole wheat Goldfish® Bread: A fun twist on an oldie but goodie.
  3. Kashi Go Lean Caramel Peanut Roll:  With a whopping 12 grams of protein, this satisfying snack will fill you up for less than 200 calories
  4. Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Packs:  A pre-portioned pack of heart healthy, “great-for-you” guacamole. Pair with baby carrots for a very “starry” snack!
  5. Brothers-All-Natural Disney Freeze-Dried Pineapple Fruit Crisps: An easy-to-pack, portable serving of fruit
  6. Calbee Original Flavor Baked Snapea Crisps: A flavorful veggie snack that offers five grams of protein per serving
  7. Almond 100 Calorie packs: Perfect if you need a little help knowing when to stop!
  8. Eatsmart Naturals White Cheddar Cheese Multigrain Cheese Puffs:  Gluten-free, whole grain and made with the “right” fat
  9. Blue Bran Vita Muffin:  Pack one of these frozen muffins and it should be defrosted and ready to enjoy just about the time you are looking for your three o’clock coffee and a “something.” Only 100 calories and packed with 50% of your daily needs for vitamin A, vitamin C and iron and four grams of protein.
  10. Fruitabu Fruit Leathers: These all natural fruit snacks provide a half-serving of fruit in each bar!

Here are some additional travel snack tips and recipes:

Trail mix: With so many healthful options, trail mix is a great summer snack. Combine healthful fats, such as pumpkin seeds with dry roasted, unsalted nuts (such as peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts) or unique proteins like roasted edamame. Lastly, add dried fruit and whole grain cereal…and skip chocolate, which can melt in the car! Mix all the ingredients in a big zip-loc bag and then scoop into snack size bags for portion control.

Smoothies: There is no better, more refreshing way in the summer to load up on nutrients than with a smoothie! Blend together wholesome ingredients like 0% plain Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, 100% juice and ground flaxseed (for “good-for-you” omega fatty acids). Pour into a chilled to-go cup and you have a fast, satisfying snack that combines several food groups!

Nutty sandwiches: Summer is a good time to get “nutty” with your sandwiches, as nut butters don’t require refrigeration. Begin with 100% whole grain bread and then top with your favorite nut butters (such as peanut, almond or cashew). Then add sliced banana, apple, raisins or a bit of reduced sugar all-fruit spread. Nut-free? No problem, simply use soy-nut butter or sunflower butter instead.

Bars, Bars, Bars: There are so many different energy bars available at the super market. They make great go-to snacks and can hold you over well between meals- especially on a long road trip! Aim for bars that are high in protein and provide the “right” mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Steer clear of those that appear to provide mostly sugar or are too high in calories (above 200 calories).

Fruit: A refreshing and quick snack, summer fruits are great snacks that give you a little boost between meals. They add important color, vitamins and antioxidants to your day. If possible, add a cheese stick for better balance.

Protein shakes or vitamin/mineral powders: Bring a packet of protein powder mix or similar product and mix with skim milk while you are on the road. The result is a drink that can offer a variety of vitamins and minerals and protein to add nutritional benefit to your day.

At the gas station convenience store: What should you do if you are on the road in the summer and don’t have a good snack packed? Believe it or not, you can refuel at the gas station too! Many of these little shops sell low-fat yogurt, cheese sticks, energy bars or small bags of trail mix. Some even have a deli in them now! Just use your label reading skills and pass on the foods that offer too many calories without enough wholesome fat and protein.

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