We’ve all been there – alone or with children – you’re running errands around town, or traveling long distance, and your belly starts to rumble. It’s so tempting to pull in to a drive-through, or grab some brightly colored food packet from the display near the checkout. With just a little pre-planning, you can have healthy snacks available on the go to keep you from giving into to impulse buying – saving you money and helping you and your family to eat healthier.
Stick to the basics. Keep a reusable water container handy. You can add ice cubes or fill it only 2/3 full and pre-freeze it before you hit the road to keep it chilled. The less processed the food you pack, the better. Use a small cooler to bring along fresh fruit and veggies, cleaned and sliced to finger food size. Yogurt tubes can be frozen for a summer treat (do read the label and try to purchase the ones without artificial flavors and colors). String cheese and cheese slices are also filling and easy to eat.
Dried fruit, nuts (peanuts, tree nuts or soy nuts), pumpkin or sunflower seeds, pretzels, crackers, bite-sized cookies and granola are items that you can make/purchase ahead of time in bulk and package in convenient travel sizes in your own containers. For a quick breakfast, muffins can be made ahead and frozen, then thawed as needed. This is much less expensive than buying individual packets/bakery items and allows you to avoid unwanted ingredients. Less packaging also means less environmental impact. You’ll also avoid idling your vehicle in a drive through, reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.
Take the time on an evening or weekend to toss together some trail mix, bake some muffins and pop them in the freezer or simply add some natural food selections to your grocery cart. With an assortment of these items at the ready when you are, you may never again face the Big Snack Attack.
Almond Cherry Trail Mix
From CDKitchen, this recipe takes advantage of dried cherries, which are available locally from Door County.
1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sided sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together rolled oats, cherries, almonds and salt. Drizzle with butter and honey and toss thoroughly.
Spread mixture evenly on sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning, about 20 to 25 minutes; let cool.
This recipe from CDKitchen for Almond Cherry Trail Mix serves/makes 6
Courtesy of Jayna Stein, homeschooling mom and member of North East Wisconsin Home Learners
1 organic egg or substitute
¾ cup milk or substitute
½ cup oil
1 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour
2 cups granola
1/3 cup honey
3 tsp non-aluminum baking powder (such as Rumford)
1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
Beat egg. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing just to moisten. Pour into 12 paper lined muffin cups until ¾ full. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes. May be doubled. Freezes well, wrapped individually.
Banana-Sour Milk Muffins
These sound awful but taste wonderful. It’s rare that I don’t have some of these muffins in my freezer. They are a family favorite and a great way to use up overripe bananas. Adapted from The Quick Bread Cookbook by Nancy K. Adams (1994) -banana-sour milk loaves.
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups mashed bananas
2/3 cup sour milk*
Mix together and add to banana mixture:
2 1/4 cups flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 ¼ teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder (such as Rumford)
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts)
Pour into 24 paper lined muffin cups until ¾ full. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick in center of muffin tests done.
*To sour milk, add two teaspoons vinegar to the 2/3 cup of milk (at room temperature). Let sit five minutes. This creates a good muffin texture that is moist and has good flavor.
Laurie is a homeschooling mom with a background in engineering and a passion for natural healing, homesteading and gardening.
She blogs at Common Sense Homesteading.
This post has been added to Simple Lives Thursday for June 2, 2011 at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.