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Healthy Eating On-The-Go this Summer

July 23, 2023
healthy snacks in a lunch box

By: Samantha Wilford, MS, RDN, CD

With all the excitement of summer, it can be easy to forget about healthy eating and hydration. Whether it’s a day at the park or a road trip, here are some ways you can stay healthy and energized while you’re out and about.

Pack snacks – Save money and stay energized by bringing your own snacks. Pack a cooler with sliced fruits and veggies, yogurt, hummus cups, guacamole, or cheese sticks. Or keep non-perishable snacks in your car or bag, like nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers, or snack bars.

Dining out – General healthy eating principles can be applied to restaurants and even fast food! Choose lean proteins like baked or grilled chicken, fish, or plant-based options. Choose whole grain alternatives like brown rice or whole wheat bread. Try a side salad or fruit instead of fries, or add veggies to your entrée. Many restaurants have their menu posted online (often including nutrition information), so you can make an informed decision beforehand.

Hydration – It’s easy to get caught up in outdoor activities and forget to drink water. Additionally, many popular summer beverages contain alcohol or caffeine, which can accelerate dehydration. Be proactive about hydration and be sure to take regular water breaks. Don’t like plain water? Try a flavored seltzer, unsweetened iced tea, or infusing fruits or herbs into your water bottle!

Food safety – Don’t let food poisoning ruin your summer fun! The CDC estimates foodborne illness affects 1 in 6 people every year, and warm summer temperatures create a prime environment for bacterial growth. Store leftovers promptly and pack perishable snacks in a cooler. Most foods shouldn’t be left out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if it’s 90 degrees. Clean your cooler regularly to prevent bacteria from growing on leftover food residue and be sure to wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before handling food!

Source: Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (