Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian
Happy Summer! As I write this article, I’m blessed to be viewing the beautiful morning sea from my Aunt and Uncle’s home on Block Island. (If you have never been to BI, I highly suggest it!) It wouldn’t be my style to eat out every night during my visit here, but cooking away from home can be difficult. Add to it that when we travel, we generally want foods that can easily come along to the beach, on hike, or be enjoyed by everyone. What I needed was a bit of food preparation and a pantry packing strategy that would let me spend more time enjoying this beautiful island and less time in the kitchen.
Prepare Ahead of time
When planning meals for a trip, the first consideration is what cooking you can do. Does your hotel room simply have a small fridge and maybe a mini microwave? Are you renting a place with a kitchen? Naturally your access to cooking will influence the meals you can prepare (i.e., just a quick breakfast and maybe an easy lunch). How long will you be traveling? Here are some strategies to consider:
Grill chicken in a versatile marinade to take on the road and use in salads, sandwiches and an array of other dishes. Having a quick and easy protein on hand will save you money and ensure you have a healthy option for an outdoor adventure or quick dinner.
The night before leaving for my trip I prepared a cold pasta salad. Upon arriving at our destination, this gave me a quick lunch to serve the hungry small travelers who arrived with me, as well as a side for the chicken at dinner time. We also enjoyed it on the beach and when a light snack was called for. Made well with a variety of vegetables, and maybe along with some diced cheese, a pasta salad is balanced nutrition.
While I generally think that the best produce for travel are baby carrots, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes as well as blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums and other “no knife needed” produce, I realize that there is nothing better than refreshing watermelon on the beach and that a salad without diced peppers and cucumbers and other summer veggies is pretty boring. I highly recommend doing the dicing and slicing at home both to make it ready to go when you want it – and because you never know what type of knives await you at a rental property!
Packing the Pantry
Naturally, you don’t want to pack too many spices or extra pantry staples. But, will you likely be grilling burgers while you’re away? Then a hamburger seasoning might be a good choice. Grilling fish? Then maybe a bottle of lemon juice or Mediterranean inspired spice blend. I also highly recommend packing olive oil, salt, pepper and any other “go to” pantry staples that work for a variety of dishes and please your travel mates.
Nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, wholesome snacks, protein bars, small packets of nut butter and other perfectly portable and versatile options should make their way into your packing. Accent a salad or top a yogurt with nuts and seeds to turn it into a small breakfast, enjoy crackers along with some nut butter for a quick, wholesome snack and high-quality bars are great to have on hand.
Keeping It Safe
Perishable items plus a summer road trip can be a difficult combination. I recommend investing in a cooler you trust and using as many ice packs as possible. Consider packing some frozen foods that will add more chill that you can enjoy at your destination such as frozen fruit.
As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit Hannaford.com/Dietitians online for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AllisonStowell) or Instagram (@AllisonJStowell).
Three Bean Salad (1 Guiding Star)
This classic bean salad is easy to make ahead and will be the perfect side dish for your summer picnic. Canned beans can be swapped in to make it speedier to prepare, but if you go that route, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added options. For more summer recipes and information on Guiding Stars please visit www.guidingstars.com.
2 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. salt
1½ lbs. green beans
1 (1 lb.) bag baby lima beans
1 (10 oz.) package black-eyed peas
¾ cup lemon juice
¾ tsp. pepper
1¼ cups olive oil
1½ bunches large scallions, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender (5 – 7 minutes). Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath, drain, and pat dry.
Add lima beans and black-eyed peas to boiling water and simmer until tender (16 – 18 minutes). Drain and pat dry.
While limas and peas simmer, whisk together lemon juice, pepper, remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, oil, and scallions.
Toss green beans, lima beans, and black-eyed peas in the dressing. Serve warm or chilled.