We all love road trips in the summers. And no matter how much we tell ourselves that we will eat healthy food on a trip, we end up grabbing quick lunches at fast-food joints. Packing healthy meals and snacks alone will not help you. You need to properly plan and organize your road trip and be consistent with the healthy meal that you have packed.
Keeping the following tips in mind might prove helpful on your road trips or while traveling with your family and friends:
1. Make a Grocery Trip
Before going on a trip, visit your nearest grocery store to buy some healthy snacks for the road. Look for items in individual or snack-size packages; they will not only save your preparation time but will also be easy to toss into a cooler or your snack bag.
Some Healthy Snack Ideas for Your Road Trip:
- Pretzels or Mini Carrots and Hummus
- Greek Yogurt with Granola or any other fruit
- Your favorite milk and protein shake
- Wraps or sandwiches
- Apple slices with nut butter
- Low-fat tortilla chips and guacamole
- Fruit smoothies or ready-made yogurt
2. Bring a Cooler
If your road trip is only a few hours, there is no problem. But if you are planning a longer trip, you may need a cooler to keep your foods fresh and drinks cool. The size of the cooler depends on the amount of food you are packing and the number of people traveling. Store your cooler somewhere which is accessible for you.
You can store it on top of your other bags in the trunk or the backseat. Place the cooler somewhere that makes it easy for you to open it when needed, and you would not have to wait until your car stops.
3. Avoid ‘Feel Bad’ Foods
Feel bad foods are the foods we crave and then feel guilty and sick for eating. So, when you are on a road trip, avoid the foods that deflate your mood and drain your energy.
Foods to avoid are:
- High glycemic foods or simple carbohydrates, like sodas, sugary snacks, or refined grain products
- Deep-fried foods
- Non-fat sweeteners and desserts (these are the foods that contain chemicals that are hard for your body to metabolize)
- Excessive alcohol
- Anything partially hydrogenated (such as Jiffy-style peanut butter, non-dairy creamer, margarine)
4. Stay Hydrated with Drinks and Healthy Foods
During road trips, you are forced to spend a long period sitting, which can affect your digestive system. While driving, we do not move around, and as a result, our gut does not stimulate. It can lead to uncomfortable feelings like abdominal cramping and bloating. It does not sound fun in any case, but on a car trip, it becomes worse.
You can save yourself from such discomfort and keep your digestive system happy by keeping yourself hydrated. Always keep a water bottle with you and remember to drink throughout the journey. So, every person on the trip must have at least 1-large re-useable water bottle and sip throughout.
Moreover, some people who want to minimize rest stop purposely keep away from drinking any fluids. If you do not plan to drink much, you can always go for hydrating foods to stay hydrated. Hydrating foods include vegetables and fruits (having a high water content).
Try packing some apples, cucumbers, bell peppers, watermelon, oranges, celery for snacking. Once you arrive at your destination, ensure you drink lots of water.
5. Avoid Fast Food
You may crave fast foods when passing through the restaurants on your way to the destination. But try to skip fast foods and pack healthy quick snacks with you on your trip. It will save and stop you from eating unhealthy food.
However, if you do not have healthy meals, restaurants that serve healthy food, such as Subway, can be your best option.
6. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
It does not matter if you are traveling by air or road; bringing a reusable water bottle with you is important. If you are traveling by plane, bring empty water bottles, and then later you can fill them up at water fountains.
Also, if you travel by car, you can always ask the sit-down or fast-food restaurants to refill your water bottles before hitting the road again.
7. Eat Frequently
Do not wait until you get too hungry, and make time for healthy meals and snacks and eat again and again (little portions) during your trip. It will maintain your energy level, keep you fresh, and leave you feeling better throughout the day.
8. Limit Caffeine
Long drives are hectic; sitting in a vehicle or long stretches of driving can make you exhausted. So, to stay alert, caffeine can be helpful. However, avoid overdoing it. Taking too much caffeine can become harmful, leaving you feeling stressed out or jittery. You can go for other options, like juices, water, or other non-caffeinated beverages. Drink the caffeine only when you are really in need of it.
Some healthy beverages options:
- Unsweetened iced or hot tea
- Organic 100% juice
- Coconut water
- Bottled water
- Green tea
- Herbal tea
- Vegetable or low-sodium tomato juice
- Natural soda
9. Eat Plenty of Protein
Protein is essential for our body, and consuming the appropriate amount of complete protein enhances concentration, stabilizes blood sugar, activity level, weight, and keeps you strong and lean. It will also save you from feeling dull and help you control your unhealthy cravings while traveling.
Consuming a complete protein means food that contains all the essential amino acids our body needs. So, when you need energy for a day at the beach, a long drive, or a long hike, stoke your body with prime-quality protein. Try to choose protein-rich snacks like hummus, cheese, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg.
10. Bring Food for Special Diets
If you or anyone on a trip with you follows a particular diet or has any dietary restrictions, it might be difficult for you to find the right food items on the road. A special diet can be dairy-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, diabetic, food allergies, etc. So, it is advisable to be mindful of your and others who are traveling preferences. Buy everything before hitting the road.
Healthy Snacks for Road Trips
Veggies: radishes, cucumber slices, mini carrots, celery sticks
Dairy: yogurt, mini cheeses (such as laughing cow or Baybel) or cheese strips, yogurt smoothies, individual boxes of milk (rice, almond, organic, soy, etc.), cottage cheese
Fruits: dried fruit, oranges, tangerines, grapes, raisins, apples, bananas, unsweetened apple sauce cups
Nuts: peanuts, macadamias, almonds, cashews, no-shell pistachios
Other: hummus, hard-boiled eggs
Miscellaneous snacks: veggie chips, nutrition bars (chia seeds, protein, etc.) or organic granola, kale chips, dark chocolate, crackers, low-sugar trail mix, pretzels, hormone-free jerky, dry cereal
Eating healthy food is important even if you are on a road trip. Eating healthy meals and snacks boost your energy, keep you fresh, and maintains your health. If you follow the tips mentioned above and plan your road trip before, you will enjoy it to the fullest. And yes, do not forget to take care of your special diets to avoid any trouble or problem on your road trip.