When you’re constantly on the road with your young athlete, going between school, practice, games, and other activities, you’ve likely dealt with a hungry, irritable child in the backseat. Unfortunately, stopping for fast food along the way can be expensive and unhealthy, which isn’t good for busy athletes who depend on nutritious foods for recovery.
But with just a bit of planning, it’s easy to stock your car so that you’re ready to tackle any amount of hunger with cost-effective, tasty, and healthy options.
Here are a few easy options for every type of road trip:
Homemade Granola Bars
Skip loose granola or store-bought bars in favor of simple, homemade energy bars, which offer whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit for a balanced snack. TrueSport Expert Kristen Ziesmer, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, prefers homemade options since you can control exactly what ingredients go in, and avoid preservatives or sneaky added sugars. It doesn’t have to be fancy: This five-ingredient recipe only takes minutes to make!
Easy Fruit + Nuts
Grapes, pre-sliced apples, and clementines are all ideal car-friendly options. Skip anything that drips, like oranges or mangoes. Then add a handful of nuts or some peanut butter for dipping to increase satiety: The carbohydrates from the fruit will provide a quick hit of energy, while the fat and protein from the nuts will keep your athlete satisfied for longer. Vary both your nut and fruit choices for a variety of nutrients. Cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, and roasted pumpkin seeds all provide healthy fats, but each have different micronutrient profiles and provide different vitamins and minerals. Portion control is key with nuts though, since it’s easy to accidentally eat several portions at once. Either portion out a ¼ cup in plastic baggies or buy individual packs.