Following a healthy meal regimen is challenging when your family is always on the move. Sitting around the dinner table is replaced by a detour to a fast food drive-thru. While you can buy pre-made, packaged snacks to regulate your family’s nutritional intake, you can save money and avoid preservatives by making your own travel snacks. Here are some examples that you can use when you’re in a pinch.
Get a boost of nutrition and vigor from these energy bars that you can bake in your free time and store until you need them. If you follow the recipe for cakey, oaty energy bars from Emily Han of Kitchn, in a stovetop pan at medium heat you should melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and 3 tablespoons of brown rice syrup. Remove it from the stove, and whisk in 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds, 1 1/4 cups of apple sauce and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
In a separate bowl, toss together 3 cups of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Pour the liquid from the pan over the dry mixture and stir until everything is coated. Pour the bowl into an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper, and bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.
This will yield 12 bars that you can store in an airtight container and grab whenever you’re headed out the door. You can make multiple batches to feed your whole family and customize the ingredients to suit their flavor and dietary preferences.
If you’d prefer a snack that’s sweet instead of salty, you can make your own homemade fruit roll-ups that are much healthier than the store-bought version. Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry, shares a recipe for spicy strawberry fruit roll-ups on 100 Days of Real Food.
In a blender, combine 2 pounds of de-stemmed strawberries, 2 cups of applesauce, 1/2 cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/4 tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Once the mixture is smooth, pour it onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets in a very thin layer. Bake in the oven at the lowest possible temperature until the sheets are firm and barely sticky (which could take between 6-24 hours). Cut the fruity leather into strips and store them in an airtight container until you need a snack.
Ants on a Log
If you want a quick snack that you don’t have to prepare in advance, you can quickly put together these “Ants on a Log” that health blogger Deryn posted on her website Running on Real Food. You can make your own version with whatever ingredients you want — most people use peanut butter and raisins on celery sticks — but Deryn suggests topping the celery with almond butter and goji berries, cashew butter and cranberries or hazelnut butter and dried cherries. Let your kids do the work for you by letting them craft their own combinations and packing them in food storage bags before hopping into the car.
You don’t have to rely on packaged treats or greasy fast food bags to provide you with sustenance on the go. Try these the next time you’re hungry and in a hurry.