EARLY YEARS: Dietitian shares tips on how families can cut food costs and make healthy choices on road trips

Packing a cooler for the car can prevent pricey restaurant stops
Packing healthier options like veggies, hummus and trail mix can prevent those spontaneous fast food stops
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:24 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -That traditional summer family road trip is costing more this year.

According to Bankrate, 80% of likely summer vacationers are making changes due to inflation.

One thing families can save money on is food. It’s important to pack wisely.

“My number one tip is to always have a snack bin at the ready with non-perishable items that you can keep in your car at all times. And what some of the things I put in there-- one of these apple sauce squeezes, which is easy and affordable for the kids. Little mini Kind bars, which are whole ingredients. There’s nothing artificial added,” says Registered Dietitian Jennifer Scherer.

Other favorites of Scherer’s include dark chocolate almonds, trail mix and make-your-own protein shakes.

“And then I always keep an empty blender bottle in my car and individual protein powder packs, and then all you need is to add water, shake it up and then you have a protein shake,” says Scherer.

If you do run out of snacks on the road, Scherer says don’t stop at a pricey restaurant.

Re-stock at a grocery store or gas station that has a refrigerated food section.

“If you do have a long road trip ahead of you, I feel it’s a must to have some type of cooler. And that way you can bring some items-- like hard boiled eggs, individual hummus packs with carrots or peppers,” says Scherer.

Eating well is an important part of vacation, and Scherer says you just have to find the right balance of nutrients and savings.

“If you are on vacation, it’s okay to have that high-fat, high-calorie meal, just make sure it’s on occasion and it’s not every day you’re doing that, because you don’t want to regress on all your efforts just because you’re on a week’s vacation, go back to square one,” says Scherer.