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Drivin' and Dinin'

July 27, 1998

Summer is the season of the road trip. But just because you're confined to the car doesn't mean your nutritional choices are limited.

This summer, you're going to be on the road a lot--to the beach, to the theme park, to the campsite, maybe even to Grandma's. Here are some tips from the American Dietetic Assn.:

* Fill sealable plastic bags with vegetable finger foods.

Raw vegetables are good sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Try the following combos: broccoli and cauliflower florets, jicama and carrot sticks, zucchini and bell pepper circles.

* Take all kinds of fresh fruit.

Besides taking the edge off hunger, fruit can be a thirst quencher. Fruit is also low in fat and a good source of vitamins A and C.

* Tuck in single-portion beverages.

Canned or boxed fruit juice, canned tomato juice, and boxed milk will do. Keep cool in a small, insulated container with a chill pack. An insulated vacuum bottle works well, too.

* Take other portable, nonperishable foods.

Among them: crackers, peanut butter, small boxes of ready-to-eat cereal, raisins and other dried fruit, pretzels and plain popcorn.

* Stock an insulated cooler with perishable foods.

Deli sandwiches, yogurt and cheese, among others. Keep your raw vegetables in the cooler to keep them crisp.

* Build physical activity into your daily plans.

Get out of the car. Stretch. Take a short walk. When you're hungry, stop to eat your lunch or dinner. You'll enjoy your meal more--and feel more relaxed as you continue driving.

* You can eat healthfully at a fast-food establishment.

Be aware of the trend toward "big," "deluxe" or "super" size. Bigger portions mean more calories, and likely more fat, cholesterol and sodium. Look for variety in your order. Select a side order of salad or raw vegetables for vitamins A and C and fiber. On sandwiches and salads, go easy on fat-laden condiments. Choose fried foods only as "sometimes" foods.

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