Avoiding high-fat or spicy foods at highway rest stops can be tricky. Fortunately for people with acid reflux, there are all kinds of healthy snacks to pack for a summer adventure.
Lower-Acid Dried Fruits: Dried fruits pack easily and do not need to be refrigerated. They also can satisfy a sweet tooth. Choose lower-acid choices such as dates and papayas.
Bananas: Bananas are one of Mother Nature’s original fast foods. They come already packaged and do not need to be kept cold. They also have a relatively high pH, which correlates to lower acidity. Just as a comparison, bananas come in at about 5.0 on the pH scale while grapes are around 4.0.
Popcorn: Homemade air-popped popcorn is a great snack for a road trip. But if you do not have an air popper, there are many healthy popcorns available for purchase. Be sure to look for low-spice and low-butter/low-fat varieties.
Peanut butter and crackers: Peanut butter comes in at about 7 grams of protein per two-tablespoon serving. Protein can help you stay fuller longer and reduce cravings for junk food on the road.
Nuts: Nuts are a great go-to snack on the road. However, be sure to monitor the serving size. While nuts are rich in protein and antioxidants, they are also high in calories and fat.
Baked chips: Potato chips are relatively low in acid. However, they can also be high-fat, which can make reflux symptoms worse. Look for oven-baked potato or vegetable chips.
Pretzels: Pretzels are one of the best low-fat snacks, plus they can add to your daily fiber intake. And they generally have fewer calories then potato or tortilla chips.
Edamame: Edamame is a fancy name for soybeans. In general, they're a pretty healthy snack, loaded with protein and fiber. Most stores carry bags of roasted and salted edamame that make for an easy travel snack.
Smoothie: Before you hit the road, consider making a healthy smoothie and then freezing it in a mason jar. (Be sure to leave an inch of room at the top since the liquid will expand as it freezes.) About two hours into your trip, you will have a cold, healthy treat.
On Saturdays my family and I travel to my son's college football games and watch him play. Ever since I wrote this, I have been freezing a smoothie and bringing it instead of eating a hot dog and chips when I got there (which always gave me bad heartburn the second half.) If you're looking for some recipes to get you started, you can find some here.