Health Watch -- Car Snacks

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

When you plan your family vacation, don't forget to plan what you'll eat on the road.

The right car snacks are an essential part of any road trip. Chips, crackers and cookies help the miles fly by. But nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say it's important to choose snacks that are nutritious, delicious and that travel well.

It's possible to find travel snacks that aren't loaded with excess sugar, fat and salt. Individual packages of cold cereal are not only good for breakfast, but they also make good snacks. Granola and cereal bars are also healthy choices, but choose varieties that aren't high in sugar. To add a little protein to your snacking, look for individually wrapped packets of peanut butter crackers, lunch packs of tuna, and trail mix that contains nuts. You can sneak in some fruit and vegetable servings by using sealed fruit cups, fresh fruit, raisins and packets of baby carrots.

When you're preparing snacks, keep food safety in mind. Lona Sandon, a UT Southwestern dietitian and nutrition expert, says it's important to store and handle food properly in order to prevent illness. Wash hands before handling food and before eating - keeping wet wipes in the car will help with that.

The beauty of pre-packaged, non-perishable snacks is that they're not only convenient, they're more likely to hold up safely during travel. They also make good lunch box treats when school starts again.