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With planning, dashboard dining can be healthy


When families become busy with sports and activities, they can spend a lot of time eating on the run and in the car — otherwise known as dashboard dining. The key to healthy dashboard dining is to focus on foods that provide nutrition with few calories from sugar and fat.


“Healthy dashboard dining requires foods that are easy to carry, store safely and require little preparation,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.


So what foods have big nutritional punch, are easy to carry and are mess-free?


Start with fruits and vegetables. Try baby carrots, a variety package of pre-cut vegetables or cherry tomatoes. For fruits, try apples, oranges, bananas and grapes. Dried fruits like raisins, apricots or an assorted mix, or single-serving packages of applesauce or fruit cups are also good. In addition, Roberts recommends vegetable and 100 percent fruit juices that are packed with vitamins.


For daily calcium needs, include string cheese, cheese cubes, yogurt or one of the new single serving flavored milks. For protein, try snack-sized tuna, nuts or peanut butter. To get more carbohydrates, try graham crackers, bagels, rice cakes and tortillas.


Roberts recommends keeping a zippered plastic bag filled with plastic spoons, forks, napkins and sanitizer wipes in the glove compartment of your car. It is also a good idea to purchase a small ice chest or insulated bag to carry foods. Keep a blue-ice freezable pack in your freezer to pop in the ice chest or insulated bag to keep your food safe.


“Active bodies need healthy fuel to perform at their best. Pack some nutrition punch into your dashboard dining routine,” said Roberts.


For more information, contact Tammy Roberts at 417-682-3579.


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Last update: Monday, August 23, 2010