Friday, July 18, 2014

On the Road: Grain-Free Snacks

A lifelong friendship could have very well been a polite acquaintance had it not been for one thing.

Pretzel rods.

Kim and I were making the journey from northeast Indiana to Chicagoland for the 2013 Wisconsin Half Marathon. Like any good toddler moms would, we came packing. Apples, carrots, nuts, pretzel roods and raisins filled bags and, later, bellies until we were able to stop for lunch.

Just one thing: A suitable dining spot was hard to come by. We spent much of the four trip lamenting that we were hungry as we ate another pretzel rod ... and another ... and another. As we were both running 13.1 the next day, we just considered it carb loading.

But carbs and me aren't on the greatest of terms since I adopted my no sugar, no grains lifestyle (which is about 80/20). So when it came time to pack snacks for our road trip to Colorado, I was at a bit of a loss. Sure, I could fill a bag with fruit snacks, yogurt-covered raisins, granola bars and crackers for the boys. But what was I going to pack?

Plenty, as it turns out.

 photo photo_zps460aa2f4.jpg

UGo Bars. I found these at my local running store, and I couldn't resist. The bars are made in Bloomington, Indiana, and feature recognizable ingredients and an actual expiration date. They are comparable to Larabars but the taste is off the charts. I had the Ultra Cherry and Cacao, which had dried cherries, pecans, raisins, flax, cinnamon chia seeds and cacao nibs. They do have brown rice syrup, which hedges the line of no sugar, but it's still a good option.

Snack pack olives. I'll admit, these weird me out a bit. The black olives come in a plastic container with no liquid. And, at nearly a $1 per serving, these aren't cost effective but it's nice to have something salty and fatty to tide you over.

Shelled pistachios. I love, love, love pistachios and often get them on car trips when we make a pit stop at a gas station. The only problem is that they come in the shell, making them difficult to eat while driving and messy. It's worth it to spend the extra money and get them pre-shelled. I bought snack pack plastic baggies and portioned them out. Other nuts are great, too.

Peeled boiled eggs. This option is best for consumption within a few hours but I packed a few eggs in a plastic container with freezer ring. As we left at 4 a.m., I was able to grab these when I was ready for breakfast and eat something familiar.

Almond butter packets. A container of fresh ground almond butter can almost always be found at my desk. I eat it with fruit or on a sweet potato but mostly I eat it with a spoon. So why would I stray from a favorite on a trip? The combination of fat and protein is great for satiety.

What are your must have snacks?


  1. I love hummus and carrots, pistachios, watermelon, apples, and plain Greek yogurt with ground flax stirred in with fresh blueberries on top. Yum! A cold cubed sweet potatoe sprinkled with cinnamon is another favorite of mine. I will have to try those snack bars because they look delicious. Have a great trip!

  2. We went for a day hike last week and packed hard boiled eggs, cooked chicken, small cooked potatoes (and a saltshaker), apples, carrots, raw cauliflower, and dried cherries. The potatoes were a major hit! My co-op sells date rolls (chopped dates formed into logs about the size of your thumb and rolled in coconut flakes) and they are a major treat -- like eating candy. I use them and Larabars when running.

    Your UGo bars look delicious. Wonder if anyone around here sells them?

    The Feed Zone cookbooks (Feed Zone and Feed Zone Portables) have some good gluten-free, portable snack options, but many are based on white rice. It works for us but might not for you.

  3. Trader Joes saved our friendship.

  4. Almond butter with apple slices, pumpkin seeds and plantain chips are my go-tos.

  5. we eat a ton of nuts (willa especially loves pistachios and i love how she says it (pis-ta-cho..;)) i've cut down on dried fruit, but i'll occasionally throw in some dried cherries if making a trail mix. seeds are good too (pumpkin and sunflower are faves). yogurt is also a good snack (plain, full fat greek style) and fresh fruit, which is easy to cut up and easier if it's berries. i like the bar idea b/c it's convenient - and those look great!