On the road with the Fast Metabolism Diet

Summer is the time for family road trips. Last year, we packed the whole gang (2 grownups, 5 kids) into the car and trekked all over Colorado. And no one asked for fast food even once! Here are some of my best tips for keeping everybody eating healthy, even on the road.

There’s something about sitting in a car for long periods that just makes you want to nosh and nibble. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a whole lot to do. But the last thing you need in the car is a bunch of kids hopped up on sugar and caffeine. Try these sweet and crunchy goodies that travel well.

Go for unbreakable fruit. The car always ends up a mess during road trips, with everybody’s pillows, games, snacks, etc. You really don’t want to end up stepping on a mushy banana. We stock up on oranges, pink grapefruit, tangerines, and apples — they can roll all over the place and not get beat up. And you can always wash them off.

Skip the chips in favor of healthier crunchy goodies.

  • Raw nuts are always a great crunchy snack. We love pistachios.
  • Roasted chickpeas are also great — really crunchy, like corn nuts. There are some brands out there, but most have sugar in them. Making your own is easy. They keep really well — just stick them in a zipper bag.
  • Another great idea is popped sorghum. If you’re a popcorn fan, you’ll like this (see recipe below).
  • Nori snacks — or seaweed snacks. These are getting really popular and have a great flavor. Find them at Trader Joe’s and other shops. They usually come in small packets.

Don’t forget protein. Protein snacks keep the munchies at bay and help keep your energy up. My dad used to make a huge batch of beef jerky for our week-long camping trips when we were kids. Here’s my recipe for homemade jerky. Chickpeas also have protein — so your roasted chickpeas can do double duty.

Portable veggies. Sure, you could always bring carrot and celery sticks, but those can get a little dull.

  • One of my favorites is sugar snap peas. Because you eat the whole pod, you get a lot of fiber — great for preventing constipation that sometimes travels with you on road trips. Did you know that snap peas have 150% more vitamin C than regular green peas?
  • Cherry and grape tomatoes. We love to stop by farmer’s markets along the way and picks up fresh ones, along with whatever else looks good.

Water still wins. For any road trip, water is just so much better than soda or sports drinks. Jazz up your water and plain seltzer by packing a bottle of lemon or lime juice (make sure it’s 100% juice, no colors or extra stuff). You can also squeeze lemon juice on top of apple slices. My daughter likes it on pretzels. Yes, pretzels. Go figure!

Consider a plug-in icebox. Remember on those road trips when you were a kid? How the ice from the cooler always leaked into the bread or your lunch meat? A plug-in ice chest is one item that can make your whole trip more pleasant. Instead of messing with coolers and ice, these gadgets plug into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. You can also get an adapter for a regular outlet, letting you take the whole thing from the car to the hotel. This gadget is a lifesaver for carrying nut milk or other specialty items that can be hard to find in small or unfamiliar towns. This is one example at Amazon.com.

Sorghum “Popcorn”

Sorghum is a grain; you’re actually popping the seed. And you can pop it just like you would popcorn, in the microwave or on the stovetop. It’s key to get popping sorghum — not all sorghum is meant for popping. I like the Mini Pops brand.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 cup popping sorghum

Topping variations:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 packet xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt plus pinch of cayenne pepper

For stovetop: Heat the oil in a pan with tall sides until the oil starts to shimmer. Add the sorghum. Stir or shake the pan until kernels pop. When popping slows to 1 second between pops, remove from heat and add toppings. Unpopped kernels are totally edible too!

For the microwave. Skip the oil. Place sorghum in a paper bag and microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Add toppings to the bag and shake to combine.

Sorghum likes its space — adding more than 1/4 cup at a time can result in lots of unpopped kernels, so it’s better to make a couple of batches.