This post is written by guest contributor, Hillary Monroe, MS RD LDN, Registered Dietitian and writer for Everyday Health Calorie Counter.
Nothing confirms the dog days of summer like a heat wave, and if you’re anywhere close to the northeast, you know what I’m referring to. The summer months offer families – kids and parents alike – wonderful opportunities for time outside in the pool or at camp and, most importantly, summer vacation! Even if you don’t plan to participate in a lengthy vacation, I’m sure many of us are looking forward to some time off to cool off! Unfortunately these warm days can often provide the perfect excuse to forget all the good eating habits adopted during the year – but not this summer! With a little planning ahead and easy tricks, you and your family will be well prepared to enjoy summer vacation.
The surest way to stray from healthy habits is to overlook the grand plan. I’m not saying you have to plan out every morsel or moment – this is vacation, after all – but a little foresight goes a long way to planning meals, snacks and activities. If you’re going to a pool, pack a cooler with drinks and snacks or if you’re going camping, make sure you have enough groceries to make meals and snacks. Or, if you’re going on a road trip make sure you have some bag ready snacks.
Easy, Convenient and Portable
Trail mix: store bought or made by you, if portion controlled, this can be a perfect re-charge with a good mix of protein, fat and carbohydrate. If you opt to make it yourself, get creative! Try mixing in air-popped popcorn or pretzels, dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, mixed nuts and oats. If you’re concerned about calories, as this will be a snack item for the whole family, try using a calorie counter like Everyday Health’s Calorie Counter as a guide and make sure to stick to healthy fats and use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup when making your own. Make your life easier by portioning it out before you leave the hotel or your house.
Sandwich Rolls: If you can store food in a cooler, this could be a good way to avoid the vending carts wherever you are. Use whatever fillings you like – turkey, hummus or tomato. Use a tortilla roll and cut into small rounds for a different type of treat.
Cooler snacks:While these may only be an option if you’re near a freezer, these may be a healthier option to the Good Humor truck’s offerings. Bananas lend themselves to frozen treats because of their consistency. While you could go the extra mile and make banana ice cream, I suggest simply freezing the banana and dip in melted dark chocolate, as it has more health benefits than its counterpart milk chocolate.
No Mess: Sometimes packing the baggie of trail mix or making the sandwich rolls is just out of the question. In that case, make sure you have easily stored snacks like string cheese, granola bars, apples or oranges and juice boxes. Even if you have to find a convince store it may be easier to have snacks on hand rather than finding yourself hungry later.
I must admit that even with the best of intentions, summer vacations can go awry and the grand plan may end up less than grand – that’s OK! Remember that summer vacations should be fun, a time to be together and keep cool together. Here’s to beating the heat!