SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a staple of summer — packing a picnic lunch when you head to the park or the beach.
But how do you make sure that meal is still a healthy one?
Kristin Davenport and her family are making a stop at Falls Park as they travel across the country. That means meals on the go are oftentimes the only options.
“Like at the gas stations, they generally now have the aisles of chips, soda, and all of that but they’ll have, you can always generally find like a basket with fresh fruit in it so we just go for that,” Davenport said.
Davenport packs a cooler of fruits and vegetables before heading out for the day, and says she limits the amount of processed food in her family’s diet.
“If you put somebody in a room with only processed foods we find that they tend to eat more and gain more weight and that could be for multiple reasons,” Registered dietitian Lizzie Kasparek said.
Kasparek says that’s because certain processed foods can lack nutrients that help you feel full, but says not all processed foods are bad.
“There’s a lot of things that we process that aren’t necessarily unhealthy like applesauce or whole grain breads, even some certain bars and things like that. We process food to a certain extent and it can still be healthy,” Kasparek said.
She says more attention should be paid to foods that are ultra-processed.
“Usually those are lacking in fiber, they usually have a lot of the added fats and added sugars. So take like a toaster strudel, it has apple in it. You know just because it has some essence of apple doesn’t mean it’s a health food,” Kasparek said.
While every meal shouldn’t contain ultra-processed foods, dietitians say consuming them in moderation is OK.
Kasparek says enjoying them in moderation can help off-set the urge to over indulge when out and about.
“Especially if all year long, we’re like you’re not allowed to have sugar, and then we let them have it. Same thing with adults, I work with adults all the time that when they get around a package of cookies or Cheez-its, they’re going to eat the whole box,” Kasparek said.
She suggests packing fruits or vegetables and pairing it with a protein or healthy fat while on the go, and limiting drive-thru’s to special occasions.
For more information on ultra-processed foods, click here.