Finding healthy snacks while traveling can be challenging – rest stops, airports and gas stations usually offer fast food options, which are high in salt, sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients.
Even choices that appear healthy often have hidden dangers. For example, a McDonald’s Fruit ‘N’ Yogurt Parfait contains five different types of added sugars in addition to the natural sugars present in milk and fruit for a total of 23 grams. A side of potato wedges at Kentucky Fried Chicken comes with 700mg of sodium, and a side of chips and guacamole at Chipotle is loaded with 795mg of sodium.
These totals are way beyond what is recommended for a full meal, much less a snack. Consuming too much sugar and sodium can contribute to diabetes and high blood pressure respectively, two common precursors to kidney disease. The best bet for your kidneys – and your wallet – is to pack your own snacks to take on the road with you.
All nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats, and perfect to travel with because they are filling and don’t require refrigeration. Make sure they are unsalted and unsweetened.
Like nuts, avocados are full of healthy fats and minerals. Precut a ripe avocado in half and place it into a bag with a plastic spoon. When you get hungry, scoop a spoonful onto whole grain crackers or low sodium corn chips.
Dried apples and blueberries
These are delicious alternatives to common dried fruits, and can be easier to travel with than regular apples or blueberries. Be sure to buy brands that are unsweetened.
A great dip for the road. Enjoy with carrots, rice cakes or whole wheat toast.
Popcorn is underrated as a smart snack despite its low calorie and high antioxidant count. This is because it’s often covered in butter and salt. A better option is to make your own, and sprinkle in a pinch of salt and mix in a teaspoon of olive oil.
Quick recipe – Nut Butter Banana Sandwich**
Smear peanut, almond or cashew butter on two slices of whole wheat toast. Place sliced banana pieces on one slice of toast and finish with cinnamon, sesame seeds and/or unsweetened cocoa powder. Combine the two slices and pack away for a satisfying road sandwich.
*This article is meant to offer general health information. Before you make changes to your daily diet, consult with your doctor, dietitian or other healthcare practitioner to ensure your diet meets your nutritional and overall needs.
**Nuts, avocados, hummus and bananas are considered high potassium food choices and should be limited by people on dialysis and those with a dietary potassium restriction.