Whether you’re a travel nurse en route to an assignment or a healthcare professional road tripping for pleasure, it makes sense to pack a cooler with foods that do the body good. Registered dieticians recommend a snack with enough complex carbohydrates to give an energy lift, and enough protein to sustain it. Snacks should ring in at between 150 and 300 calories, and have no less than 4 grams of fiber per serving. If you plan on whipping up homemade snacks, consider making Healthy Careers’ No Bake Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Balls.
To keep energy levels at optimal levels, you should have protein every 3 to 4 hours. To meet this goal, try using small Ziplock bags and one serving containers, and pre-ration your snacks so they last throughout your journey. Here are a few ultra-healthy, energy-giving foods worthy of a road trip:
- Air-popped popcorn: This is a favorite of Weight Watchers, voted one of the top 5 healthy lifestyle diets in the U.S. Weight Watcher’s recommends adding a little smoked paprika or sprinkle of parmesan to your popcorn.
- Low-fat yogurt: Yogurt fulfills one-quarter of your daily calcium, and provides as much protein as you’d get from a large egg. Yogurt is also chock full of Vitamin D and comes in a “go-gurt” variety for both kids and adults.
- High Fiber Cereal: Cheerios, Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts are all safe bets for mixing with low-fat milk, yogurt and fruit.
- Baby carrots and grape tomatoes with a hummus dip: Carrots are waistline friendly and loaded with beta carotene. Humus is made from chick peas, a.k.a garbanzo beans and great for meeting fiber requirements, not to mention staying fuller longer!
- Nut butter with a little honey, on whole wheat bread. Wash it down with green tea and rev your metabolic engines!
- Peanuts in the shell: It’s fun to crack ‘em open and the effort spares the risk of overdoing it. Peanuts are high in Vitamin E, healthy monounsaturated fat and resveratrol. So that means, “in a nutshell!” that peanuts are heart healthy!
- Fresh fruit: offers a natural sugar high and can be mixed with low-fat yogurt and/or granola for a snack that’ll tide you over for at least 100 miles! Choose fruit cups packed in light syrup if you’re buying “to-go!”
- Trail mix, and/or dried fruits and raisins: Trail mix has half the fat you’d find in a Hershey Bar or bag of M&M’s! The calories in trail mix and all its separate ingredients are anything but empty calories. Think of your body like a car and don’t deprive your gas tank!
- From the dairy section… Part skim string cheese snacks and hard-boiled eggs are smart, low-fat, low-calorie options with plenty of protein!
- Healthy snack bars: Bad snack bars are low in fiber, high in calories and loaded with sugar. Choose a power bar with at least 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein and fewer than 170 calories.
Healthy Careers are About Safe and Fulfilling Journeys!
Travel nursing jobs and travel therapy jobs, before you get in the car with your trip tick, be sure to have a good breakfast: a banana on high fiber cereal or whole-wheat bagel, slathered in nut butter is a good choice. Bring a refillable BPA bottle and fill it at every rest stop with water. Drive safe, eat well and live well, friends!