Naturally Healthy 4 Life's Blog

A blog about health, nutrition, fitness and wellness

Road trip!

“The journey not the arrival matters.” ~T.S.Eliot

Road trips are a great way to see the country and (if all in the car are getting along!) it is also a great opportunity for a family to spend some concentrated, quality time together.  Many of us took road trips over spring break (vacations or college visits) and many will take trips this summer.

I live in a pretty large Midwestern metropolitan area, filled with many options when not eating at home – yes, there are a lot of fast food restaurants, but there are also a lot of really great restaurants that serve healthy dishes.  Of course, this is not the case when you hit the open road and can sometimes go several hundred miles between cities that even have restaurants.

What is worse than sitting in a car, unable to move for several hours at time?  For me, it is sitting in a car AND feeling terrible because I ate a bunch of junk for lunch.

So with some recent experience under my belt, I give you a few bits of wisdom.

The number one thing you can do (and it is super easy) is to plan ahead!  The glory of traveling by car is that you can pack extra things in the trunk or in the back of the minivan, such as a cooler.

  • Make sandwiches and/or salads ahead of time.  Important tips:  don’t put tomatoes or condiments on the sandwiches until you are ready to eat (they will get soggy) and don’t forget to pack napkins, wet-wipes, utensils, etc.
  • Pack cleaned and cut up fruits and vegetables.  If you do not want to spend a lot of time prepping, pick up some grapes, bananas, apples, cherry tomatoes or baby carrots, all of which require very little prep – wash and pack.
  • Protein is really important when you are on the road to keep your energy level up (especially if you are the driver!).  Most handy snacks have little to no protein.  Hard boiled eggs are the ideal compact protein source (6 grams) – easy to make and pack in your cooler.  If you don’t like eggs, string cheese, protein bars and trail mixes are also great sources of protein.  However, make sure you read the ingredients on the bars and mixes; many are no healthier than candy bars – a lot of sugar.  Sugar will bring your energy up for only a short period of time and then you will crash.
  • Pack plenty of water.  If you drink water throughout the trip, you will be less likely to be thirsting for some soda pop when you stop at the gas station to fill up.

If you are not able to plan ahead (or just don’t want to plan ahead), look for grocery stores and co-ops along the way.   You could pick up some cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc.  Grocery stores may also have some prepared foods in their deli area that are not processed, like grilled chicken and healthy salads.   Even some coffee houses like Starbucks® now carry pretty healthy snack packs (like cheese and crackers, fruit).

We have a strict rule in our family:  NO eating or drinking (other than water) in the car.  It helps us keep our car clean and smelling fresh, but it also forces us to stop for meals.  It is nice to take a break and step out of the car – even if only for 20 minutes -and keeps us from snacking for six hours.  When you are done eating, take a few minutes for stretching and a quick walk before getting back in the car.  It will really help your digestion.

Happy and healthy travels!

Angela, Traveling Chick 🙂

April 15, 2012 - Posted by | Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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