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Healthy Fast Food: Create Your Own Backseat Alternative to the Drive-Thru

July 24 is National Drive-Thru Day, and I’m not sure that’s something we should be celebrating! While we may occasionally decide to treat ourselves to French fries or a milkshake, it’s not good to fall into the habit of regularly pulling up to those portals of bad nutrition. And it can be all too easy to do just that when long lazy days at the pool stretch into evening and getting everyone fed seems challenging.  

If you’re going to eat in the car this summer, opt for healthy fast food. You can make on-the-go nutrition easy by keeping a cooler and food bag in the back seat and stocking them with healthy foods and beverages.

What to pack in the cooler? Try these options:

· Sliced fresh fruits and vegetables. The possibilities here are endless. Great finger fruits include: berries; cherries; grapes; and sliced peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Portable veggies include: carrot and celery sticks; slices of cucumber and red and green peppers; and florets of raw broccoli and cauliflower. Not only do fruits and vegetables supply vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, they help keep you hydrated. Bonus!

· Juice Plus+ Complete Shakes. Everyone loves smoothies, and you can fortify your smoothie with Juice Plus+ Complete. This beverage mix provides balanced, whole food-based nutrition, with 13 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and no dairy or gluten. Check out these delicious and nutritious Juice Plus+ Complete smoothie recipes!

· Drinks. Water is the best way to hydrate, but if you need a little flavor to keep yourself sipping, try adding a splash of lemon or lime juice to your water, or a flavored seltzer. I like to add a few drops of liquid stevia for some sugar-free natural sweetness. If you want something more substantial, milk provides protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Fruit and vegetable juices in moderation can be a good choice, too, but don’t overdo it or substitute them for whole fruits and vegetables, or you’ll load up on sugar and miss out on fiber.

No cooler? No problem. All of the following foods will stay good for at least a few hours without refrigeration.

· Juice Plus+ Complete Nutrition Bars. A healthy alternative to energy bars that are low on fiber and high in sugar, Juice Plus+ Complete Nutrition bars come in two flavors —Wholesome Grains + Cranberries and Spiced Apple + Raisin. Both are tasty, packed with protein and fiber, low glycemic, gluten-free, non-dairy, and 100 percent vegan.

· Hard-boiled eggs. If you haven’t yet, take eggs off your “no” list. The once-maligned egg provides protein, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients called carotenoids in a handy, portable package. Include a baggie with a little salt or pepper if you like.

· Nuts or seeds. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and other nuts and seeds are full of healthy protein and fats. Just be sure to watch the portions; a handful is plenty.

· Cheese. Chunks of cheddar or Swiss cheese or packaged mozzarella cheese sticks are another convenient source of protein and calcium.

· Whole-grain crackers. Check the labels for crackers with high fiber content, little or no added sugar, and no hydrogenated fats.

· Popcorn. Pop it at home and add your own flavorings. Try nutritional yeast, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, curry powder, or black pepper.

Do you eat in the car? What are your choices for healthy fast food?

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