As I was preparing for a summer road trip this past week I caught myself humming the old Willie Nelson classic, “On the Road Again” and realized that before my family starting thinking Out of the Box about our food, “on the road” meant stops at fast food restaurants and mini marts for meals and snacks. But now that we’ve turned a “nu”tritious-leaf, I knew I needed to give some thought to what I would provide for my kids who would inevitably mark the hours with shouts of “Are we there yet?” and “I’m hungry.” Hmmm…gotta be prepared. Snacks.
All snacks are not created equal. This is a topic we can (and definitely will) address again and again at Out of the Box Food. We can’t possibly cover all the different assortments of kid’s snacks in one post, so let’s start with a generic, good-ol’-fashioned snack mix. More on the cheese puffs, booties, crackers, nuts, pretzels and chips in future posts.
The Comparison: Chex Mix Traditional vs. Out of the Box Snack Mix
(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient)
Chex Mix Traditional
- enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
- whole wheat
- degermed yellow corn meal
- vegetable oil (soybean and/or rice bran)
- partially hydrogenated* soybean oil
- Contains 2% or less of:
- rye flour
- barley malt extract*
- color added
- baking soda
- distilled monoglycerides*
- malt syrup*
- calcium carbonate*
- trisodium phosphate*
- autolyzed yeast*
- yellow corn flour
- hydrolyzed soy protein*
- natural flavor
- disodium inosinate*
- disodium guanylate*
- freshness preserved by BHT*
**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label. Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.
Out of the Box FoodSM Better Choice Snack Mix
All ingredients in Out of the Box Snack Mix have been chosen for their simple, few ingredients. This is not a low fat or diet snack, just a snack mix filled with better option boxed snack food and a couple of easy homemade additions.
*You can find the selected packaged item’s ingredients following the recipe.
- 1 C Fritos Corn Chips
- 1 C Terra Stix Original
- 2 C Snyder Sourdough Pretzel Nibblers
- 2 C Smart Puffs
- 4 C popped popcorn (*see recipe following)
- 4 C bagel chips (*see recipe following)
- 1 C natural, raw or salt only peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, etc. (optional)
- If you have an air popper, pop the popcorn in the machine. Otherwise:
- Add 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil to medium saucepan.
- Add 1 1/2 C popcorn kernels to pan.
- Cover pan and over medium heat, pop the popcorn until popping sound slows to nearly a complete stop. Shake pan occasionally to ensure even popping.
- Salt if desired. Do not butter if using for snack mix, popcorn will get too soggy.
For Bagel Chips:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Thinly slice bagels of choice into approximately 1/8″ slices.
- Lay slices onto cookie sheet and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Sprinkle slices with seasonings of choice (some options include: garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, sea salt)
- Bake 12-16 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Optional: Once chips are browned, grate a little Gruyere cheese over baked chips and continue to bake until melted and bubbling.
- Break bagel slices into pieces and add to mix.
For Snack Mix:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Divide into individual servings and store in your favorite containers or bags.
Frito Corn Chips
- whole corn
- corn oil
Snyder’s Pretzel Nuggets
- unbleached wheat flour
- natural flavor
- vitamin E (mixed tocopherols*) added to preserve freshness
Terra Stix Original
- A seasonal mix of root vegetables (sweet potato, taro)
- beet juice (for color)
- canola oil , and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil
Smart Puffs by Pirate Brands
- corn meal
- contains one or more of the following:
- sunflower, expeller pressed canola or corn oil
- aged cheddar cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes)
Additional road trip snack options:
- Pack a cooler and throw in these other great snacks:
- sliced cheese and woven wheat crackers (such as Triscuit crackers)
- cheese & cracker sandwiches plus salami
- grapes, bananas, sliced apples, sliced pears
- natural peanut or almond butter between two healthy crackers
- peanut butter or almond butter sandwiches on whole grain bread cut into four squares
- dried fruit and nuts
- 100% fruit leathers
- carrot sticks, celery sticks, snap peas, red pepper, cucumber sticks
So our six hour road trip went well. The kids liked the snacks and we managed to avoid stops at fast food restaurants and mini marts. In fact, we threw in a blanket, packed a cooler with nutritious sandwiches and fruit and found a little grassy spot along the way to enjoy a picnic lunch. While we watched other families stand in long lines at the fast food restaurants across the street, we sat in the shade, ate a leisurely lunch and let the kids play on the grass. These couple of changes made for an enjoyable road trip and now we ” just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
We’ll dive further into snack foods in future posts, but as we head into August, we’ll focus on some other fun summer treats. Until next week…
© 2010 – 2011, kimgerber. All rights reserved.