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The Cardiologist's Wife - On the Road
Apr 19, 2017

At some time or another, we’ve all found ourselves at a roadside gas station, filling up the tank and listening to our stomach rumble. Then we walk in to pay or to use the facilities and there it is. A bountiful spread of food like substances prepackaged into single servings just begging us to chose one. Or more. Our stomach rumbles louder. There are two more hours of hard driving left before we reach our destination and bottled water is just not going to cut it. If we had planned our trip better, we’d have brought some provisions to stave off starvation but we didn’t and now we’re faced with a difficult choice: finding something decently healthy to eat in a gas station or starving.

Take heart. Many quick stops have noticed American’s slowly changing attitudes about snack food and made adjustments accordingly. It is possible to grab a snack that isn’t too saturated with fat, salt and sugar and has some actual nutrition. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself that it’s a road trip/vacation and you deserve a treat. If gas station processed food is the highlight of your trip, you need to upgrade where you eat.

Here are a few tips on making a healthier choice when your blood sugar is falling. Number one: leave small children in the car. You can’t make a good choice when your three year old is lying in the floor screaming for the powdered sugar donuts. Number two: read the package serving size. Many small packages actually contain multiple servings and you only want to ease your hunger pains, not pig out.

Some quick stops now carry fresh fruit like apples or bananas. This is a no brainer, grab one. Score more points if you can find a squeeze packet of almond butter to spread on the fruit. The protein in the almond butter will keep you satisfied longer than fruit alone. Peanut butter is a good second choice if it doesn’t have too much added sugar.

Almost any kind of nuts, such as pistachios in the shell are a great choice; just don’t buy sugar or chocolate coated nuts and certainly don’t eat the whole bag, stick with a single serving.

Look for cheese sticks, Greek yogurt or plain milk; the protein will fill you up until your next meal.

Granola bars are a decent choice if they aren’t glorified candy bars. Read the nutrition label and pick one with the most fiber and protein and the least sugar.

Because they are fermented, pickles actually make a great probiotic snack. They can be high in salt so be careful not to eat too many.

Look for hummus packs with carrots or second best, pretzels. The protein and fiber rich dip will satisfy your cravings.

Trail mix can be an okay choice if you have the self control to eat a single serving and not the whole bag as it is high in calories. Look for trail mix without candy. Yes, without candy!

The last two suggestion may seem odd but beef jerky is a high protein, low carb snack. Look for the least amount of preservatives, MSG, nitrates or other added chemicals. Pork rinds are a better alternative to chips if you are craving something salty as they have loads more protein while chips have twice the calories and fat.

Truly the best option is to always take snacks in your car if you are going to be traveling over 2 hours, through meal time or with children. Not only will it be cheaper, you can make sure to pick healthier options.

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