Eating healthily on holiday road trips can be tricky; striking the balance between giving ourselves a break from the bump and grind of day-to-day life – which is after all the whole point of a holiday; to trying to avoid meltdowns at the start of a what is supposed to be a fun time with sugar-overloaded kids and exasperated parents.
Patrick says armed with a bit of knowledge and a bit of pre-planning, your hours in the car can be happy ones. Here he gives some healthy ideas for the age-old South African tradition of “padkos”:
FAVOUR FRESH FRUITS
The secret to fruits is to know which ones are going to give your kids the same kick as a sugar-laden chocolate, and the ones that are not only delicious but also keep their sugar levels steady. As a general rule of thumb says Patrick, the brighter the fruit the better they are for you. Good examples of these are apricots, blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears or plums. Patrick suggests these fruits as they are the best choices for balancing blood sugar – important for avoiding hyperactive children in the backseat!
Keep them whole or cut them into bite-sized pieces and skewer on toothpicks to keep hands from getting sticky. If you are looking for the convenience of dried fruits, choose dried apricots which are have a lower-GL value than other dried fruits.
PACK SATISFYING SANDWICHES
Sandwiches are a great go-to meal for road trips but these too can be full of hidden sugars. Patrick suggests going for rye (choose lighter version for kids) or whole-wheat breads. For fillers a good rule of thumb is to include a protein such smoked salmon, tuna or hummus and to combine this with a slow-releasing carbohydrate such as avocado. Combining your proteins with low-GL carbohydrates is the secret to keeping tummies full and sugar-levels balanced on a long trip.
Hummus or variations such as beetroot or red pepper hummus are also great as a home-made dip for oat cakes and fresh, raw vegetables. Keep the wet-wipes handy for those messy fingers!
YOGHURT ISN’T SUCH A PLAIN JANE
Yoghurt is packed with probiotics, which help to maintain healthy gut bacteria and aid in digestion – ensuring everyone has a healthy gut before (and during) a holiday is always a good idea! Include small tubs of plain yoghurt; sprinkle these with a bit of cinnamon, a dash of honey, and instead of a spoon, serve with apple or pear slices for dipping.
Pack some low carbohydrate muesli – a combination of oats, ground almonds, nuts and seeds – to sprinkle over the yoghurt.
CHOOSE NUTS OVER CHIPS
Nuts are a great alternative to chips. Choose raw, unsalted nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds. Walnuts are a fantastic antioxidant source, containing as many antioxidants as half a dozen tomatoes, and almonds are a great source of calcium and magnesium. For a tasty treat, combine these nuts with seeds such as pumpkin, flax, sunflower, sesame and especially chia, giving an Omega 3 boost as well as providing a delicious snack.
For a delicious “padkos” snack, make these irresistibly tasty chocolate dipped nuts. The nuts are rich in proteins and minerals, and the dark chocolate is high in magnesium and antioxidants.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED NUTS
15g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
25g shelled, raw mixed nuts (such as almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts)
- Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
- Gently melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie. To do this, fill a pot with water to halfway, then allow to simmer. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl above the simmering water and allow to melt over the heat.
- Once melted, tip the nuts into the chocolate and stir to coat. Place the nuts on the baking tray, making sure they do not stick together.
- Place the tray into the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.
- Break into pieces once cooled and set.
- Store in an airtight container.