Sunday, July 29, 2018

Grab and Go Snack Foods From a Gas Station

On road trips, who doesn’t have to stop at a gas station?  Are there some healthier grab and go foods you can buy at gas stations?  How can you stop those hunger pains but not fill up on junk food? 

Healthier Beverage Options

1. Water – always a good choice to stay hydrated.  Choose a no-calorie sparkling water.  Or treat yourself to some Perrier mineral water.

2.   Juice – most gas stations have 100% juice.  Just make sure you are not reaching for Sunny D, Hi-C or some other highly sugared beverage.   Just heard on TV that half the added sugar in our diets comes from sugar sweetened beverages.  Not sure if this is a true fact but Americans eat a lot of added sugar.  Some people might say juice is high in sugar. 100% juice has no added sugar, just the natural sugar from fructose.  Look for some Naked Juice which is a blend of many juices and always no sugar added.
3. Milk – yes, milk is a hydrating drink as it has water in it.  It also has protein, calcium and vitamin D, a vitamin many people are low in.  Let your kids enjoy some low-fat chocolate milk.  Yes, chocolate milk has some added sugar but not as much as a soda and packs in all the nutrients of white milk.  

1.       Chips – no not the highly processed snacks like Cheetos.  But choose a healthier chip like Sun Chips which are whole grain or a fruit or vegetable chip.
2.       Popcorn – as long as it isn’t caramel corn or other flavored popcorn.  Popcorn is whole grain and a very healthy snack.  SkinnyPop is a good choice.  (At the Y recently, a young girl pulled out a plastic container filled with popcorn.  She said her mom had packed popcorn and some fruit for her mid-morning snack.  Smart mom as popcorn is whole grain and fruit is always a healthy choice.)

Protein Foods
  • Yogurt -  Many gas stations have a good selection of yogurt.  And it doesn’t have to be Greek yogurt to be healthy.  For women, regular non-Greek yogurt may be a healthier option as it would provide more calcium that women need. Yogurt is full of high quality protein that will stave off those hunger pains on a road trip.  Protein is also important to maintain your muscle mass as you age.   Add in some fruit or nuts to make your grab-and-go snack even healthier.
  • Nuts - most gas stations have bags of peanuts or mixed nuts.  Unfortunately, they usually have the added salt, but nuts are a very healthy snack and a good source of protein. And the makers of Naked Juice have come out with a healthy fruit, nut and veggie bar.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs/Cheese – the WaWa’s in our area have a fantastic offering of healthy snacks.  They have two hard boiled eggs packaged together.  They also offer a fruit and cheese snack pack all packaged and ready to grab-and-go.  
Fruit and Cheese Snack Pack
  • Salads – not quite a snack but gas stations like WaWa offer ready to go salads like their Garden and Chicken Caesar salad.
  • Protein Bars – so easy to grab a healthy protein bar and eat in your car.  But take the time to at least glance at the ingredients.  Dietitian Alissa Rumsey, R.D. recommends looking for bars with at least 6-10 grams of protein and 5 or more grams of fiber.  Look for real foods in the ingredient list such as nuts, fruits, eggs, seeds, beans.   
  • Jerky – another way to add some protein to your day is to grab some beef jerky.  Easy to grab a bag that will provide 10 to up to 28 grams of protein while low in carbs.  Trouble chewing?  They now offer some “soft” or look for “Tender” choices that will be easier for those with dental issues to chew.  Again, look at the ingredients and nutrition label as some brands are loaded with sodium and some are made with preservatives like MSG.  Look for brands with less than 400 mg of sodium per serving.  -Eat This, Not That! has ranked the Best and Worst Beef Jerky brands so check it out before a snack stop.   They rank Country Archer All Natural Beef Jerky as their number one choice. (Turkey jerky is also available from Country Archer.) 

So on your road trip this summer, when stopping at the gas station you can load up on healthy snacks and not on the tempting junk food.  People that come to visit our area are always surprised when family members stop at the local WaWa gas station for lunch and pick up a sandwich or salad.  Gas stations can and do offer some healthier options.

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