Food: Articles by Dennis Weaver
Snackin' Better on
The highway across North Dakota stretches
forever. The northern prairie changes only slowly and
the hours stretch into monotony. Bored, you reach for
another handful of corn chips and pop the top on another
soda to wash them down. The refined carbs hit your system
with jolt, but soon you feel bloated and tired. You
fight to stay awake, then pull over and change drivers.
Soon you're asleep, and your partner is facing the road
Road trips are largely sedentary affairs.
Add a little junk food every time you gas up and the
ol' belt seems tighter every time you cross another
It doesn't have to be this way. With a
little planning, you can snack on better food than chocolate
candies and soggy pastries. Not only will your waistline
stay under control, but you'll find that the trip is
not so tiring when you avoid the junk food sugar rush.
Here are some suggestions for better snackin'
on the road -- snacks that are better for you than chips
and pastries. Some of these have plenty of calories
but are tempered with fiber for a lower glycemic index
to avoid that sugar spike and the following crash that
makes you so drowsy.
Here are some of our favorite travel snacks:
FRUIT & VEGGIES
Grapes, cherries, and apple slices or
maybe a banana make for guilt-free goodies. Keep a
pocket knife in the glove box for trimming fruit.
(You'll be surprised how handy that pocket knife is
on an extended trip.) Except for the banana, keep
the fruit chilled in cooler.
Cherry tomatoes make another great snack
-- wholesome and refreshing. They don't need to be
kept in the cooler.
Consider individual fruit servings from
your grocer's shelves: applesauce, canned fruit, or
For adults, put together a fruit salad
and keep it chilled in the cooler.
Carrots and celery sticks make great
snacks. Prepare them before leaving home.
The kids will be happier with a dip for
their veggies or fruit. For the apple slices, mix
a little honey and cinnamon into low fat cream cheese.
A low fat ranch or thousand island dressing will work
for the celery and carrot sticks.
As kids, we snacked on celery with that
neat little trough in the center filled with peanut
butter or cream cheese. We still like those snack
sticks as adults. For the kids, stick raisins in the
peanut butter to make Ants on a Log.
Granola is a favorite travel snack. We
much prefer the homemade variety; it's better and
you can make it just as you like. We indulge ourselves
with lots of dried fruit and nuts in our granola.
Sure it has some calories but with all that fiber,
it makes a great, lower glycemic snack.
Make your own granola with this
NUTS & DRIED
Pairing nuts and dried fruit is like
eating candy that is good for you. Try pecans and
pears or our favorite, cranberries paired with whole
Your kids won't go for fruit and nuts
alone? Try trail mix with additional chocolate pieces.
Yes, it's calorie rich but the fiber tempers those
calories to make it a better snack. Pick up or make
your own granola and add chocolate candies for your
own trail mix.
Pick a cookie with oatmeal, fruit, or
nuts for road trips. The fiber makes them filling
and satisfying. Choose cookies that are tough and
will stand up to the handling and jostling of travel.
There are lots of great cookie recipes with fiber
to choose from.
The ultimate travel cookie may well be
ANZAC biscuits. Learn
about and make ANZAC biscuits here.
We created these for high energy snacking
on the trail, but they work just fine in the car.
Take a whole grain tortilla and spread it with reduced
fat cream cheese. Sprinkle the cream cheese with nuts
and dried fruit (dried pineapple bits are a favorite),
and then roll it up like an enchilada. These are surprisingly
good, and we've tested them on a lot of Boy Scouts
and have had very few turn downs.
Weaver -- having burnt food from Miami, Florida
to Point Barrow, Alaska -- is RTA's road food expert.
He has logged thousands of hours on the roads, trails,
and waterways of America including many of Alaska's
wilderness rivers and has consistently been elected
the trips' "chief cook and bottle washer."
Dennis is currently general manager at The
Prepared Pantry, a company in Rigby, Idaho,
that produces ready-to-eat meals and baking mixes
packaged in Mylar. Weatherproof, bug-proof, and
critter resistant, they're ideal for both roadtrips
and back woods camping. Dennis may be reached at email@example.com.