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Snacks and Dashboard Dining

Grab a cinnamon roll and caramel latte for the morning commute, chips and soda from the vending machine to get through the mid-afternoon slump, a few cookies before bed . . . and you may have taken in more calories in the form of “snacks” than from the day’s meals!

To avoid this diet downfall, but still satisfy your hunger between meals and on the go, try some of the foods listed here. Try to include protein for a snack that will carry you through until the next meal.

Quick healthy snacks

Try these suggestions for quick, healthy snacks that you can keep on hand:

  • Breakfast cereal, dry or with milk, and fruit. Try low sugar, 100% whole-grain cereals. Keep single serving boxes handy.
  • No-sugar-added applesauce, sliced peaches in their own juice, or other single serving fruits
  • Fresh fruit, such as pears, apples, oranges, nectarines, peaches, kiwi, grapes, strawberries, and bananas
  • Mixed nuts and single-serving cans of tomato juice
  • Dried apricots, apples, nectarines, etc. Keep portions small to control calories because dried fruits can be high in sugar.
  • Low-fat milk and a homemade or store-bought low-fat, whole-grain muffin. Keep it frozen and microwave the muffin briefly before eating. Don’t get jumbo-sized muffins.
  • At the coffee shop, black coffee or espresso is best. Some shops let you add a shot of sugar-free flavor. Remember that flavored lattes and cappuccinos can have as many calories as a full dessert.
  • Popcorn (2½ cups) plain or with margarine (1½ teaspoons)
  • Turkey ham (1 oz.) and soft bread sticks with spaghetti sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • Saltine crackers (4) and part-skim Mozzarella cheese (1 oz.)
  • A turkey kabob: turkey and cheese cubes (0.5 oz. each) with pretzel sticks and low-fat milk (8 oz.)
  • Packaged, ready-to-eat vegetables such as baby carrots, broccoli florets, and cauliflower pieces with a low-fat dip (2 tablespoons)
  • Chopped vegetables from your own kitchen, such as red and green bell peppers; jicama, carrot, and celery sticks; snow peas; button mushrooms; and/or broccoli with non-fat ranch dressing
  • Boost the nutritional value of any snack with single-serving beverages such as canned or boxed fruit juices (look for 100% juice) and boxed low-fat milk.

Hearty dashboard dining

For safety reasons, you should never eat while driving, but if your passengers are running late in the morning or need a quick dinner on the way to soccer practice, they may need a hearty meal for the ride.

You could pull through a fast food restaurant for the 550-calorie ham, egg, and cheese bagel that contains 31 grams of fat, but they may enjoy one of the balanced, portable meal ideas here just as much. Include fruit, vegetables, or 100% fruit juices for their cancer-fighting nutrients.

  • Fill a baggie with dry cereal, dry roasted peanuts, and raisins. Take along boxed low-fat milk or orange juice. A handful of raisins and 6 oz. of juice give you a good start toward the goal of at least 2½ cups of fruits and veggies a day.
  • Toast some 100% whole-grain bread for a sandwich of natural peanut butter and fruit-sweetened jelly. Bring a calcium-fortified orange juice box.
  • Try a hard-boiled egg, mini-bagel, banana, and a juice box.
  • Experiment with cheese and crackers: try 100% whole-grain, saltine, or reduced-fat crackers with part-skim string cheese, an apple, and bottled water.
  • Boost calcium and protein with ready-to-go products like yogurt in a tube, drinkable yogurt, lunch-sized milk cartons, and regular single-serving yogurt. (You’ll need a spoon!)
  • Fill pita bread with fat-free tuna salad and fresh spinach or romaine lettuce; take along a milk box and a couple of fig-filled cookies.
  • Make a dinner wrap using a low-fat tortilla. Fill with low-fat deli meats and cheeses, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, roasted red peppers, black beans, garbanzo beans, and/or leftover grilled chicken. To flavor and hold a wrap together, thinly spread low-fat cream cheese or hummus on the tortilla, or use a small amount of low-fat ranch or blue-cheese salad dressing.

With a little planning you and your family can stay “on the go” and still give your bodies the nutrients they need – with less calories and fat!


Last Medical Review: 09/11/2013
Last Revised: 09/11/2013