healthy snacks

Peggy, Week 18: Road Trip! Taking Our Kids To College

The Avagliano Family

Tomorrow we leave to drive three of our kids back to college. Amanda can’t come with us, because she must attend band camp this week. The marching band runs band camp from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. A family friend will stay with Amanda, Minnie, our cat and the dogs.

We plan to do a family road trip, and the first stop is University of North Carolina School of Arts in Winston-Salem. The kids were assigned move-in times based on their last name. Michael’s move-in time is at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. We have time to shop until 2 p.m., when we have to head to a parent orientation. A welcome BBQ is planned for the evening, so we plan to stay over in North Carolina until Wednesday.

Once Michael is settled into his college, we will head to Tallahassee, Florida. Katie is arriving on campus early to audition for the Florida State University Marching Chiefs. Katie played the mellophone for Absegami High School’s Marching Braves, and hopes to become Chief following auditions. Although she must arrive by Friday at 8 a.m., she can’t move into the dorms until 8 p.m. Friday evening. Although Christina is scheduled to move in on Saturday, we can’t head to Sarasota until Katie is settled.

Christina has been living on campus for the past year, but this year she has an apartment with some of her friends. Each girl is to bring a few items for the kitchen, and we’ll try to make sure it’s stocked before we leave for home.

Normally, a road trip would mean Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies, M& M’s and fast food. With this challenge, I bought fresh fruit, celery, Diet Snapple and—I’ll admit—small bags of M&M’s. I chose hotels with free parking, a fitness center and free wi-fi.

Hopefully, we can stay on track while away. Michael will have to do his final weigh-in on campus.

How do you make your road trips healthier? Post a comment and tell me.

Stephanie: What’s Better Than A 100-Calorie Snack Pack?

Day 3: Midmorning Snack

The Lehman family loves to snack on 100-calorie packs, especially the cookie ones. But if you’ve ever tried one of these snack packs, I have to ask: Did they really cure your craving for something sweet? Did they fill you up when you were hungry in between meals? Probably not, because these foods are highly processed and low in nutrients.

I’ve been telling Tiffany for the past few months that there are so many better choices for her. She could have:

  • a tablespoon of peanut butter (one of her favorite foods),
  • a small handful of almonds,
  • half a turkey sandwich,
  • a piece of string cheese with some crackers,
  • a banana or a cup of chopped fruit.

I could go on and on with a list of better 100-calorie options. And they are all more satisfying than the measly 12 or 15 crackers or cookie thins you get in the packs.

Tiffany said the cookie packs help feed her craving for chocolate but she would be better off eating 100 calories worth of actual chocolate! If you, too, love the 100 calorie packs, try substituting a 100-calorie snack made from real, whole food such as ones listed above for just one week and see how you feel. Then post a comment and let ne know how it went!

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Peggy, Week 9: 5 Snacks That Don’t Sabotage Your Diet

Basic Popcorn Recipe

When you pop in a good movie or cozy up on the couch to watch your favorite TV show with the family, it’s natural to want to snack on something. But that hand to mouth gesture can leave you with hundreds of empty and unwanted calories that keep you out of a smaller pair of jeans. So I came up with a list of things I can chow on without feeling as guilty. Maybe you’ll find them useful too.

If you mindlessly eat salty treats in front of the TV, try:

Celery and peanut butter: Just make sure you measure a tablespoon or two of peanut butter on a plate. If you bring over the jar, you can really pack on the calories and fat!

Carrots with light ranch dressing: I know, it’s not as satisfying as those ranch-flavored triangle tortillas, but they’re a better alternative at the end of the day!

Popcorn: Pop kernels in a brown paper bag standing upright in your microwave. Try adding toppings for a flavor boost like cinnamon sugar, dry ranch dressing mix or taco seasoning.

If you want something sweet on the couch, reach for:

Frozen blueberries or grapes. Perfect, especially when the temperature spikes.

Fresh fruit cut up in squares with yogurt dip. I use a 4-ounce container of light vanilla yogurt. Great with berries or melon!

What are some of your favorite guilt-free snacks? Post a comment and tell me here.