Serves You Right

Article Published: Jun. 16, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Whether traveling solo or with friends and family, taking a cooler filled with smart choices saves money and keeps everyone happy.

Well-nourished, hydrated travelers stay in a good mood. While requiring a little bit of planning, the actual time to pack a cooler and dry bag of goodies is minimal.

Instead of infusing yourself or loved ones with expensive, high fructose corn syrup, food-colored laden drink choices found at convenience stores, it's easy to pack 100-percent juice and cold water for hydration. Reusable water bottles save money and energy.

For meals, stepping out of the car and stretching at a rest area feels much better than driving through or sitting in a restaurant. Kids that are able to run around periodically are a bit easier to travel with.

Here are a few of my favorite take-alongs when traveling:

If traveling with a group, take a variety of lean protein choices and cheese and let everyone make their own sandwiches on whole wheat bread or pita. Include dark green lettuces and other veggies. Honey and nut butter, such as peanut, almond or sunflower seed provides another choice that doesn't require refrigeration.

It's fun for everyone to build their own crackers, pita or flat bread with toppings, such as avocado, smoked salmon, low-fat cheeses, cucumbers, hummus and lean meats.

Wraps travel especially well, but need to be made beforehand. See recipe below.

Fresh fruit of all kinds are refreshing, with oranges and apples traveling well. Cut-up fruit is most appealing, but plan to prepare the night before your road trip.

Raw vegetables or salad, with dressing of choice in separate container.

For snacks, choose trail mix, dried and fresh fruit, dried vegetable snacks and nuts. Baked snack foods, such as potato chips and low salt crackers, are the best choice for munchies. Check the ingredient labels to make sure they don't contain hydrogenated fats, or much sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Here is a versatile wrap recipe that I make for trips the evening before, along with fruit salad.

Travel Wraps
Whole wheat flour tortillas
Reduced fat cream cheese
Lean meat of choice, or meat substitute, such as vegetarian pepperoni (optional)
Reduced-fat sliced cheese
Favorite fresh vegetables, such as avocado, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, or bell pepper

Spread cream cheese over tortilla.
Place 2 slices of cheese and desired amount of protein over of tortilla.
Cover with vegetables of choice.
Roll tortilla, ending the roll with the bare cream cheese so it will stick together.
Place in reusable plastic container or bag and refrigerate.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail or call (828) 264-3061.

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