6 Must Have Sustainable Snacks for Summer Roadtrips

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road trip sustainable snacksHitting the road this summer? Whether a day trip to the beach or an extended road trip to a far flung relative, when your vacay crams in the car, it’s even more challenging to eat something you can feel really good about. But with new research this month finding that Americans consume 25% of their calories from “snacks” (which weigh in at a whopping 580 calories total) summer dashboard dining habits matter, especially if a bathing suit is in your future. Here are 6 super convenient, tasty lean and green Sustainable Snacks that kids and parents alike will love-that will also have you SAVING Green when as well. My criteria? They had to be eco-friendly, healthy, tasty and fun. And “car picks” must withstand searing hot car temps for a day or two- and couldn’t require fussy utensils or other tricky setup that seems impossibly difficult at 70 miles an hour.

 

Justin's Nut Butter Packets1) Justin's Nut Butter Packs. These high protein, high satiety and uber flavorful nut butter packs are portable beyond compare. And because Justin created his own unique method of grinding his masterpieces,these healthy summer snacks taste richer, and, well, nuttier than any other nut butters on the market (The almond maple butter and honey peanut butter are my kids faves). Most are USDA certified organic. Best of all, they can stand up to searing summer heat (at least, for a few weeks), making them a bit more durable.

 

2) Baba Ganoush. Last year I blogged about these wonderful falafel balls with Greek yogurt and pita - I'm still on a Mediterranean kick with this fantastically portable Baba Ghanoush by Blue Moose of Boulder (available at Whole Foods, but look for any brand in the chilled fancy food area of your grocery store). Tote along some whole wheat pita (I cut mine up with a pizza cutter into wedges and then put back into the plastic bag for the trip, so kids and grownups can just help themselves). Add some bagged carrots and you've got 2 veggies and a whole grain for snacking! Or you can always make your own, with a delicious recipe like this one.

 

Earthbound Farms Organic Snack Packs3) Earthbound Farm Organic Snack Packs. For the perfect lean and green overlap, swing by your local farmers’ market before you go and fill a small cooler with amazing edible eats like seasonal peaches, plums and hydrating cantaloupe. But if you’re on the road already, many supermarkets now carry Earthbound Farm Organic Snack Packs. These snack packs come in a variety of fruit and veggie options, and are not only organic, but are fantastically convenient for car eating as well. Coming in varieties ranging from apple slices to carrot snack packs, these are the perfect way to keep fruits and veggies in the mix while on the road. For a double bonus you can even try dipping the apple slice snackers in a pack of Justin’s Nut Butter, or bring along a small container of hummus for the carrots (I love reusing a container from my kids’ Laptop Lunch for this purpose).

 

liberty bottleworks4) A Liberty Bottleworks Water Bottle. I LOVE these bottles! Liberty Bottleworks’ water bottles are the ONLY Made in the USA 100% recycled bottle, totally BPA free and with a recycled lid to boot. Fill them with water and stay cool  for hours while you sip sustainably- after recently meeting the company founder on a fieldtrip to Rodale, I am a convert. Their full circle commitment to job creation and  keeping iconic brands made America (many of the other top reusable water bottles are made in Europe or China), had me feeling good at the deepest level that this company embodies the way forward to a more sustainable future. And the best part? Not only will the generous size (and splash proof design) remind you that ZERO CALORIE drinking is key (that new snack study found Americans spend 85 minutes a day drinking liquid calories, a 90% increase from 2006) , the artwork is to die for gorgeous and innovative.

 

5) Cucumber. Cucumbers are one of the most refreshing, hydrating and economical summer fruits around. They are loaded with water, to help keep you cool, but their skin also contains silica, a mineral that keeps your own summer skin plump and glowing.

Because we all have enough to pack and prep when hitting the road (or because I’m just lazy), I will either pack 1 giant hothouse cucumber (that I’ve washed well), hacked into 4 big pieces...or else a bunch of individual smaller cucumbers (those cute pickling ones are the best) from the farmer’s market. Kids and adults love nibbling directly from it, and it’s one less container I need to wash!

 

 

 

6) Sunflower Seeds. We have several “salty/crunchy” types in my family, but rather than digging into a bag of chips large enough to drown my firstborn, I tote a mix of roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead, which are packed with important minerals like zinc and magnesium, their combo of heart healthy fat, fiber and protein is the winning trifecta to keep hunger at bay all the way “until we get there”. On the run? These powerhouse seeds are easy to find at most convenience stores and gas stations as well, making your healthy on the road snacking a breeze.

 

What are your favorite sustainable summer snacks? I would love to hear about them!

 

(In full disclosure, I received free samples from Justin’s Nut Butter and Liberty Bottle Works when I asked them for info about their products).

Written with assistance from Lindsey Toth, MS, RD

5 Kids Staples Get a Green Makeover

Looking to give some of your kids’ favorites a green makeover? Check out some of my suggested swaps below! .

The Go To: Chicken NuggetsTurkey Hotdogs

The Greenover: All natural turkey hot dog

How many parties, play-dates and dinners have we all seen these come out of the freezer? I was committed to giving you something that's equally as kid-adored, "grab and go" at the supermarket, but something that's more eco-friendly and nutrient rich you can feel good about. I love Applegate All-Natural Turkey Hot Dogs (which also have acceptable amounts of sodium, something else nuggets can be super high in). Soy turkey or chicken dogs, like those from Yves, are another great option you can feel fantastic about. Wanna go a deeper shade of green? Check the label of the soy pups carefully; if you can find a Soy pup that's made with Non GMO soy grown in the USA, go vegan and be even more lean and green.

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PopcornThe Go To: Goldfish

The Greenover: Air popped popcorn at home with parmesan cheese sprinkle

While the growing number of organic, single serve bags of crackers are certainly better than conventional, they're still highly, highly packaged foods that should only be a small part of your child's diet. A much greener, antioxidant packed choice that's just a fun and kid friendly? Popcorn you make at home! Research has found popcorn packs 5x the antioxidants of processed snack foods.  If you don't have an air popper, simply put some kernels in a large saucepan, with a drizzle of heart healthy canola oil. Put a lid on and leave just a small crack on 1 side, turn heat medium high and pop away- you'll know it's ready when the interval of popping slows down considerably. Grate some parmesan cheese on top, and kids adore it. Portion out into your reusable bags or containers to send your kids packing with this greener snack idea.  Check out www.3greenmoms.com for great reusable snack bags.

Another saving? You'll save big bucks, as single serving snack foods can cost $4-$6 per box.

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The Go To: Apple juice

The Greenover: DIY seltzer with Soda Stream

My kids are 4 and 5, and I am shocked at how much kids their age are bombarded with sweet drinks; flavored waters, juices, punches, any mom can rattle off a litany of liquids their kids come into contact with during an average week. While up to 4 oz. of 100% organic apple juice, grape juice or other juice in small portions in healthy weight children is okay, loads of juice provides excess calories which has been cited as a contributing factor to childhood obesity. Another reason I like switching to water is because it helps prevent them from only wanting to drink sweetened beverages (see what's happening here with the debate about flavored milks in schools). Give kids bubble and fun while not over-sweetening their palate. Check out my previous post on the green benefits of using Soda Stream in your home here.

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The Go To: Fruit Roll Ups

The Greenover: Blood Orange Wedges

Of course 100% organic whole fruit leathers are a big step up from the cheaper ones loaded with added colors, sugars, and a smidgen of actual fruit. But leathers are still a highly processed, highly packaged snack (which detracts from green-ness), and all fruit leathers have a higher concentration of sugars since you remove all the water. Why not pack portable, seasonal superfruit instead? I recently did a segment on the Dr. OZ show about the anti-aging power of fruits and veggies, and included blood oranges on my list, but they’re a wonderful swap for kids too. Blood oranges have more vitamin C than any other citrus (1 medium orange packs 130% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C), and are the only citrus loaded with one of mother nature's most powerful antioxidants: Anythocyanin. That gorgeous crimson color and succulent sweet taste will have them asking for seconds. This is a seasonal superstar right now, and will hold up well for hours in lunch boxes, snack sacks, or even in a bag in the car (if you're like my kids) in between activities!

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The Go To: Ranch Dressing for Dip

The Greenover: Roasted Squash Hummus

I'm all for adding some dressing or dip sauce to encourage kids to eat more veggies - works like a charm - but if you're looking for a fresh twist (which many moms seem to ask me about), something that's a bit more nutrient packed and easier on the planet, you have to try this amazing dip blogged about recently by the "Meal Makeover Moms" , two amazing RDs (and friends of mine), Liz Weiss and Janice Bissex. Bursting with exotic flavor (thanks to garam marsala), pumpkin seeds and beta-carotene rich squash, this is a palate pleaser that's better for your kids and the planet.  It's a great place for any extra butternut squash; or simply roast some in the oven alongside your next dinner, then you can whip this up in no time the next day.

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What staples have you swapped out for greener living? I’d love to hear about them!

 

Written with assistance from Lindsey Toth, MS, RD

10 Sustainable Snacks for Summer Road Trips

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Sustainable SnacksAh, the summer vacation road trip - an American staple. I know we've got several on the books - which got me thinking - with studies showing that a higher number of families this summer are ditching flights in favor of hitting the open road themselves to save money, here are some super convenient, tasty lean and green sustainable snacks that kids and parents alike will love-that will also have you SAVING Green when you hit the open road. My criteria? They had to be eco friendly, healthy, tasty and fun. My "car picks" must withstand searing hot car temps for a day or two. And couldn't require fussy utensils or other tricky setup that seems impossibly difficult at 70 miles an hour.

For the Cooler

  1. Falafel balls dipped in organic Greek yogurt (you can also serve with whole wheat mini pita). These high protein treats are super healthy and fun-and likely available in your local market's refrigerator section.
  2. Cherry tomatoes. Summer's perfect Ready to Eat Food-they are in season, come in a container already and pack a day's worth of vitamin C). Go great with above falafel.Falafel
  3. Persian cucumbers at farmers markets - these small, finger sized cucumbers can be found at your local farmer's market - no peeling, no pits, no mess! Just wash and pop into cooler-and pass to the back seat with no fuss. Also go great with above falafel.
  4. Edamame. Soybeans are the only "complete proteins" of the bean family-meaning you get all the essential amino acids-they come in convenient portable containers in the refrigerator section of most supermarkets-or you can buy them frozen and boil and toss with a bit of sea salt before you pack them. Less mess than hummus!
  5. WatermelonWatermelon or cantaloupe cubes- These summer wonders are some of the most economical fruits to buy in summertime-and simply scoop them with a spoon (or melon baller) into a portable container-summer's best seasonal picks that have a real high water content to help keep kids hydrated no messy pits to eat around (and drip in the car), and stand up to car travel better than berries. You can eat volume, refreshing, and rich in potassium, beta carotene, lycopene vitamin C.

For the Car

6. In Shell Pistachios: Did you know people eat about 1/2 as many nuts when they are in the shell than not? So this works for moms and dads looking to control portions, as well as kids who are bored. Take longer to open, keep them busy!

7. PB& J burritos. Use a whole wheat tortilla, and wrap 'em in wax paper-no mess, kid friendly, wax paper is more eco friendly than plastic and can stand up to high heat better than many other high protein fillings. Almond butter works great too!

8. Air popped popcorn - will give you crunch! A recent study found that popcorn (which is a whole grain) pack 5 x more antioxidants than crackers or tortilla chips. Plus you can eat VOLUME-3 heaping cups counts as a serving of whole grain-and help you stay lean while you munch for boredom for miles. Bonus points? Popping it yourself helps you save green.

9. Kid's Custom Trail Mix: my kids love building it themselves - they are more likely to eat it and even try new things: Line up a counter with little bowls of Dried Cherries or cranberries Sunflower seeds, almonds, pepitas or pumpkin seeds, even a few  dark choc chips. Healthy, tasty and customized.

10. Sigg water bottle - beat the heat, save money and sip sustainably by filling your reusable water bottle before you hit the road. It will help keep your water cool longer in the heat won't give you that aluminum taste and protect you from BPA.

Got any other delicious snacks you crave on the road? I'd love to hear about them.