Good guys vs. Bad guys
Do not let giant food corporations manipulate your idea of a good snack. They will have you believe that candy, crackers, and processed grain concoctions like pop tarts are a great idea. They’re the bad guys.
Your child— and even you—can retrain his/your mind to accept real food as snacks. If you start your kids on on a healthy path when they are young, they will never know otherwise. If your kids are older, gradually phase out the bad stuff. For yourself, decide if cold turkey or incremental steps are best. By the way, cold turkey is on the list!
It’s true that the easiest snacks to transport are the ones that don’t require refrigeration and have an endless shelf life—and those are usually the unhealthy ones. So here’s how to do it right.
Buy an insulated bag/mini cooler
There are a huge variety of large and small ones, and some are pretty enough to carry around like a purse. Check out these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or this, and this one by U Konserve, which is similar to mine.
Then all you need is an ice pack. I like these, by Planetbox. One on top and one on the bottom is ideal. Ice cubes are not great because they’ll melt and all your snacks will be drenched and floating around.
Buy a thermos.
Chunks of mixed fruit may be more appealing to kids than a whole piece.
The best kinds are the ones you grind yourself at the supermarket because they’re so fresh (but still require refrigeration). Use small containers. Almond butter is healthier than peanut butter.
Bake with skin on for 90 minutes on 400F and chop into bite-sized pieces. Delicious both hot and cold.
Cut three inch strips so they’ll be easy to hold while dipping. Try all kinds of dips—guac, hummous, non-soybean ranch, nut butters. If they make a face, try a new dip or veggie. Re-introduce again in a few weeks.
- red pepper
- purple cabbage
- raw broccoli
- Pea pods
- string beans
Free of nitrates, nitrates, preservatives, and colorings. My favorites are:
- Organic Pasture
- Nick’s Sticks (grassfed “slim jim”)
- Epic bars (meats with seeds and berries)
Slices of bread
The better kinds are kept frozen (because they’re a “living food”), but they can travel for a day. To keep them fresh longer, keep them separate from luncheon meats or spreads until ready to eat. Butter is a great food if grassfed.
- Alvarado Bakery
- Sourdough made fresh and fermented properly by neighborhood store or by you
- Siete and Ezekiel tortillas are a nice alternative to bread slices. Siete comes in some great paleo flavors.
Raw is much healthier, and it’s also more expensive. The cheapest I’ve found is Organic Valley grassfed cheese which comes in a mild and sharp cheddar.
-There are thousands of kinds of cheese, so it’s fun to experiment. Stores like Whole Foods will let you taste them before buying.
All that said, there are healthy foods that are dry and don’t require refrigeration, although they should not sit in a hot car for a week either. They are:
Easy to peal is best (orange, banana); If you have a knife and spoon you can try some interesting options like kiwi– cut fruit in half and scoop out.
All kinds! Go wild. There are so many good choices. Peanuts and almonds should be purchased organic because they are heavily sprayed. Can usually find in bulk which is cheaper than buying packaging.
Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds. These are actually kind of addictive and one of the 10 highest foods in fiber. Also:
- sunflower seeds
- hemp seeds. Sprinkle on salads and soups. Nice nutty flavor.
Find a brand made with sesame or olive oil like Seasnax.
Only with olive oil or coconut oil. Look closely at ingredients. Best and cheapest to make your own!
My litmus test is # grams of sugar. If it’s more than 7, it’s dessert! My brand of chocolate has 3 grams sugar per serving which is less than 90% of power bars out there). One exception is Greens because their bars are packed with amazing ingredients.
- Kind Bars with 4 or 5 grams of sugar
- Ginger cashew spice
- Dark chocolate sea salt
- Go Raw Live Pumpkin Bar
- Health Warrior Chia Protein Bar
- Green Protein Bar
If you must give them chips:
Select brands that use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Not sunflower or expeller-pressed canola oil and certainly not corn, soybean, or cottonseed.
- Jackson’s Honest Chips
- Boulder Canyon
- Terra Red Bliss Potato Chips
- Trader Joe’s Kettle-Cooked Olive Oil Potato Chips
- Good Health Natural Foods Olive Oil Potato Chips
- Unique Sprouted Whole Grain Pretzels
If you must give them cookies:
- No fake ingredients! Look for a short ingredient list of things that are normal to have in your kitchen
- Look for grain-free (gluten-free brands are usually high-glycemic which means they spike your blood sugar)
- Coconut flour and almond flour are preferable to rice, soy, and potato flour
- Try to find good alternatives to sugar: stevia, coconut nectar, molasses, honey, and maple syrup. Sweetened with banana is best (That’s how I sweeten my oatmeal!)
I took my son to a theatrical performance last week and managed to carry in an innocent looking freezer bag which contained a thermos full of broccoli roasted with garlic and chicken fat. He gobbled it up and then he got a tiny coconut flour cookie 😀.
It just requires a little advance planning and some light equipment to travel with high quality snacks.. It’s worth it!!
Leave Darth Vader for the big screen and make sure all your snacks are heroes!
Food products are always changing and new ones are introduced. If you have a food that should be on this list, please let me know!