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Smart Snacking on the Road

By Melissa Rickmeyer (Editor: Tiffani Moore Swalley)

smarteatingMelissa Rickmeyer and her husband, United States Army Captain Paul Rickmeyer, spend plenty of time making sure their food intake gives them the correct fuel to concentrate on their daily careers. Melissa is a registered dietitian, specializing in oncology nutrition at Vanderbilt University. When I asked Melissa if she would give us some tips for a healthier lifestyle on the road, she jumped at the chance. Below Melissa gives us some examples of smart snacking on the Road.
The usual freeway snack may not typically be what most consider healthy. The roads are full of fast food, convenience stores, and an incredible amount of good old “junk” food. When your job is being on the road is it even possible to snack smart? With a little preplanning and tips for navigating through the junk it can be easily done!
What is considered a snack?
A healthy snack should contain around 200 calories (or less) and provide you with nutrients to keep you from crashing and to fight off hunger. Below are some tips for choosing healthy snacks and some easily readily examples.
Whole Grains:
Snacks containing whole grains are generally high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Picking these foods instead of their refined counter part will give you a much-needed boost that will last. Choose foods that say “whole grain” on the package, or look for the whole grain stamp.
Not only are nuts and seeds delicious they also contain protein that makes you feel full longer and fat that is actually good for you. Just remember, when choosing nuts as a snack pay attention to your portions. The calories can add up quick so only eat in moderation.
If you have a refrigerator in your truck, dairy is a great option for snacking. It is a good combination of protein and carbohydrates to really take the edge off hunger. Choose low fat yogurt, low fat milk, and low fat cheese sticks. If you have problems digesting milk give individually packaged servings of soy milk a try … surprisingly delicious!
Not only are they extremely healthy, they will also satisfy you on way less calories and fat than other snacks. They contain important nutrients and fiber to make you feel full and give you tons of energy. Keep fruit and raw veggies on hand in your refrigerator or you can usually purchase at the convenience store. Canned fruit is also an option … just make sure the package says, “Packed it its own juice.” There is no real limit on these foods so eat up!
Healthier Snack Ideas:

  • Any type of fruit
  • Cereal
  • Baked chips
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Sunflower seeds
  • English muffin with peanut butter
  • ½ turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • One handful of almonds or cashews with a piece of fruit
  • String cheese with a piece of fruit
  • 4 oz skim milk and a granola bar
  • Raw veggies such as carrot sticks with low fat ranch
  • Single serving soups (use convenience store microwave)
  • Side salad from a fast food restaurant
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Yogurt with fruit or handful of nuts

Smart snacking may take a bit of planning but the pay off will be big; increased energy, alertness, and overall improvement in health. Most snacks can be found at any convenience store but you may need to pick up a few things from the grocery store. Just remember, try and pay attention to calorie content and keep snacks to around 200 calories per serving.