Take the High Road When Snacking on Vacation

Paulina Howard ’15
EE Senior Lifestyle Editor

Summertime is all about the travel. Who went out of the country? Who met someone famous? Who did something daring and epic while on vacation? It is all part of the high school experience: always subconsciously trying to “out vacation” our peers. Sure, vacations are so much fun and relaxing once you are there, either basking in the sun on the beach in California, or jumping off of cliffs in Fiji. However, the travel time is the stressful and agonizing aspect of every vacation. Whether you are jam packed into the car with the rest of your family, crammed in coach on the plane, or taking the scenic route via the train, it is a lot of time to be stuck sitting and doing nothing. So it is obviously human nature to eat our way through the travel time. But are we really aware of the empty calories and immense grams of fat that we are ingesting while sitting and doing nothing? Not likely.

While sitting in the car, driving to Florida, trying to escape Trumbull, the scenery passes by the window as bleak and boring as the last state.  Traveling through South Carolina, (North Carolina was exactly the same), corn crops run along both sides of the highway, and the next car is a good mile ahead and behind your car. Your family is having a karaoke session, which was fun on Day 1, but has you pounding your head on the window today. Peeling your eyes from the barren and unexciting landscape, they drift to the snack bag which sits next to your brother. Your fingers itch to chow down on a big bag of Twizzlers and gummy bears to help pass the time…

Stop right there! For, according to www.mayoclinic.com, extended sitting causes a decrease in your metabolism, thus making the excess calories and fat that you are ingesting harder and harder to be burned off. The long term effect? Excess body fat, higher blood pressure, higher sugar levels, and metabolic syndrome.

“I usually snack on pretzels. They’re easy to pack, a huge variety to choose from, and who doesn’t love to play with them and make pretzel rings. [But,] On vacation, I do find myself aimlessly snacking. At first, I may actually be hungry, but as the time passes, I do snack out of boredom” says Trumbull High School junior Alison Kuznitz. Even junior Erin Harlor admits to snacking out of boredom, with her prefered travel snack as candy.

Some completely healthier alternatives would be edamame, plain greek yogurt, baby carrots with 1 tbsp of hummus,  or apples. Edamame is low in fat and calories and high in protein and fiber making it a perfect snack without the excess fat and oils that chips pollute your system with. They are just boiled soybeans, which might sound unappealing, but taste amazing. They are commonly served as appetizers at Japanese restaurants. Where edamame can be seasoned with salt and pepper to help bring out its flavors, plain greek yogurt may not be the most tasty of these snacks for most people. Plain greek yogurt is known for its strong bitter taste, that is not at all all sweet. However, by eating plain greek yogurt, you are getting the creamy fix that most people look for in pudding, custard, and even jello. According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Healthy Eating website, “A 1-cup serving of fat-free, plain Greek yogurt contains 130 calories, 9 grams of sugar and 23 grams of protein, fulfilling almost half of an adult’s recommended daily intake of protein. In contrast, 1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt has 120 calories, 17 grams of sugar and 12 grams of protein.” Even though plain greek yogurt is unflavorful on its own, it is known for being able to take on flavors with whatever it is mixed with. According to Emma Schober, “I love greek yogurt with black raspberries because it fills me up fast so that I don’t snack all day, and it tastes delicious!” Just like how Emma personalized hers, greek yogurt can be spiced up by simply adding a few berries or even a teaspoon of honey to offset the bitterness.

If the creaminess crave is not what gets you snacking, and it is the satisfying crunch that chips and pretzels give you, try eating a bag of carrots with one tbsp of hummus. Carrots are stocked full of antioxidants and vitamins that help to stimulate healthier glowing skin, better vision, anti-aging, body cleanser, and even prevents heart disease, strokes, and cancer! Who knew? A food that gives back, and not to the thighs or waistline! Don’t like the taste of carrots? No problem! Just swap the carrots and hummus out for apples and peanut butter like THS junior Claire Deagan likes, or celery and peanut butter like junior Emily Uus enjoys. They all have similar properties that give back to the body. All the while cutting down your sugar, cholesterol, and fats intake for the day.

Think twice before your hand begins to subconsciously begins to reach for the oily chips, over-buttered popcorn, and empty-caloried sweets that you may love, but they do not love you back.  When you begin to eat  healthy, it beings to change your mindset. For Emma Schober, she feels, “Energized because I can stay [fuller] longer throughout the day, and I can focus better on my work.” Claire Deagan feels similar, “It makes me feel good about myself because I’m putting good things into my body for a healthy outcome.” There is nothing to loss by converting to healthier alternatives, nothing but reaping the rewards!

So during those long car rides with the family, and you spot the Twizzlers and gummy bears perched very conveniently in your line of vision, ignore their empty, worthless lies that they whisper in your subconscious, because you know better right?

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