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Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

For many families, the summer season brings long car rides to amusement parks or vacations to the mountains or the beach. Eating healthy snacks while on-the-go may seem difficult, but there are quick and nutritional snacks that will keep you full and energized while still satisfying your taste buds.

The American Dietetic Association advises people to think of snacks as mini-meals that can offer the nutrients and energy you need to make it through the day. In order to avoid unhealthy snacking habits, snacks should be pre-planned and appropriately portioned.

Choose snacks that are less than 200 calories, but high in fiber. Fiber makes your stomach feel full faster and also helps the digestion process. Many fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, and carrots have high fiber content. Apples and bananas are easy to transport and do not need to be refrigerated like some other fruits and vegetables. Nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, and cashews also are high in fiber and can be combined with dried fruits and dark chocolate to create a quick, healthy trail mix.

Many food manufacturers offer snacks that are low-fat or fat-free. Double check nutrition labels on low-fat and fat-free snacks to make sure they are not high in calories or packed with sugar. Snacks that sound healthy, like granola bars, can sometimes have a great deal of trans fat which can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease. Always read nutrition labels. Air-popped butter-free popcorn, whole-grain cereal, and peanut butter and crackers also make for healthy on-the-go snacks.

Healthy snacks are not just limited to foods. Nutritional drinks are also an important part of a healthy diet. Juice drinks and yogurt smoothies are tasty, but avoid those with high sugar content. Instead, choose low-calorie juices and smoothies. Don't forget about the calcium and vitamin D benefits that milk provides. When in doubt, water will keep you hydrated and energized.