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ISTOCK.COM


family! The next time you take a day trip or even an afternoon hike, pack a few easy meals or snacks for a family picnic. A little prep time can save a lot of hassle and stress on the road, as well as keep everyone happier and healthier.


 Leave the processed food trays and snack packs at the store. One staple for a to-go meal or snack is a make-your-own char- cuterie board or sampler plate. Foods can vary based on seasonal availability, so try to keep to the highest quality local foods you can find. Focus on the vegeta- bles and fruits, and add accompaniments.  cherry tomatoes, broccoli, carrots. hummus, pesto, peanut or almond butter.  apples, figs, grapes, pears, cher- ries.


 pulled pork, turkey, sausage. olives, hard-boiled eggs, various hard cheeses. Quesadillas are fun for kids, and you can make them to suit your child. Fill a tortilla with sautéed onions, zucchini, broccoli, spinach and/or black beans. Sprinkle some cheese inside, close and heat in a pan. When cheese is melted, cut into slices. For an added healthy bonus, serve with an avocado or homemade guacamole. Quiche, a pie-like egg dish, is easy


to transport and can pack a lot of veg- gies. To your pie shell, add sautéed or steamed broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots or a combination of cooked vegetables you have on hand. Beat four- to-five eggs in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of milk and pour the mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle some cheese on top and bake





at 350º F for 45 minutes. Slice and serve with lettuce greens or a side of fruit. “Hiding” the vegetables can be a way of getting a picky eater to get those vegetables in! Create your own lunch wrap. Start with


tortillas, turkey or ham slices, and cheese. Add spinach or lettuce, and a thin layer of cream cheese, mayo, pesto or avocado. Sweet potatoes are very versatile and popular with children because of the taste and texture. Cut into one-inch pieces, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 450º F for 30 minutes. This can be a delicious side dish or an addition to your favorite wrap for a nutritious lunch. For an easy pasta salad, boil tricolor


rotini as instructed on the box. When complete, add kalamata olives, cooked broccoli, cucumber quarters and feta cheese. Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. These meals are designed for short-


term transport with no refrigeration. Avoid heat or excessive storage time if you include meat or eggs. If necessary, place an ice pack in your carrier bag or box to protect your meals. You can also freeze a water bottle or packet of apple- sauce or yogurt to help keep items cool.


 Roasted chickpeas are an easy finger food. Drain, rinse and dry a can of chick- peas. Spread on a baking sheet, and roast at 375º F for 45 minutes. While hot, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and a few of your favorite seasonings. Try Parmesan and garlic, cinnamon and honey or a ranch packet. Foods that are protected by their rind, such as avocados, bananas and oranges, hold up well while you’re out and about.


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