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.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.