Spring break season is here and summer travels will be happening before you know it, so let’s talk about eating healthy on a road trip today! As a frequent road trip warrior to see family and friends I have a few tips for sticking to your healthy habits while on the road.
- Don’t stress over one (or two) days of car travel. Yes, you will be in the car for a long time on one or two days, but in the overall scheme of things that really isn’t too much damage done, so don’t freak out. You will not turn into a flabby pile of mush in one 24 hour period. Return to your normal fitness activities as quickly as you can afterwards, but don’t stress over something you can’t change.
- Stop every 2-3 hours and move around. As my husband reminds me the journey is part of the vacation too; don’t be in such a rush to get to your destination that you detest the drive. You may choose to stop somewhere fun like a landmark or just a rest stop with a view, but get active while you are there! Run and play with your kids, go for a short walk or hike, or just do some lunges while you pump your gas–getting moving is GOOD for your body.
- Eat wisely. Don’t eat anything on the road you wouldn’t eat at home. It can be hard to seek out healthy choices in fast food or quick stops, but here are some of my staples/favorites: Subway, Jimmy Johns, Qdoba (or Chipotle), and Panera. Most fast food places if I have to go to I will end up with a grilled chicken sandwich or salad.
- Snack smart. The meals don’t trip me up on the road as much as snacks do…when you are sleepy and need SUGAR good intentions are gone quickly! It is smart to pack a small cooler in the car of your favorite snacks like apples, mandarin oranges, grapes, granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurt, dark chocolate, and fruit pouches. I like to keep a pack of gum handy for dealing with the munchies and to keep me alert. Here are some healthy snacks you can find at a gas station in a pinch:
- Nuts or seeds- look for ones without added sugar or sweetener
- Bars- I like Larabars and Kind bars best!
- Dried fruit
- Piece of fresh fruit-often on the counter I choose something that can be peeled, generally a banana
- Small box of cereal like Whole Grain Cheerios or Kashi cereals.
- Watch your liquid calories – This is the hardest because on the road you have to stay awake and the easiest way to do that is through CAFFEINE! Look for unsweetened coffees, water, unsweet tea (green or black for a caffeine boost), and if you really need it to stay awake a small amount of soda.
- Keep your brain occupied – The trip that felt like went the fastest for me was when I spent a 18 hour drive from Texas to Indiana (by myself) listening to The Help on audiobook. I was SO into the book and I stayed super awake throughout the whole drive and arrived in Indiana with a thick southern accent thanks to the book! Try mixing up your activities (music, calling a friend, audiobooks, podcasts, road “games”) every hour or two to help you stay alert. Never feel bad about needing to pull over for a short break or rest or to get a hotel room for some sleep. Better safe than sorry!
- A quality night’s sleep is worth good money. Okay, this has generally become a rule during our vacations/road trips: we stop at our favorite hotels if we have a trip over 12 hours. We are now Holiday Inn people. We like a hot breakfast, fluffy pillows, big King beds, and clean rooms when we have long days on the road–and we don’t mind paying a little more for something we feel like is a quality experience. Unfortunately, we’ve had the dirty rooms, smells like cigarette smoke, bedbugs experience and saving $30-50 is NOT worth it to us! We’ll take the nice place for more money any day. Becoming a rewards member of a hotel chain is a great way to get discounts and earn points towards free rooms. Also, if you have the energy a hotel may have a pool or fitness area to relax and get active in at the end of a day of travel which is a huge plus as well.
Once you arrive at your destination, celebrate and relax! I love active vacations that involve hiking, canoeing, biking, and exploring a new city on foot. Using a pedometer can help track your activity while you are just walking around with the family. At our honeymoon at Disneyworld we both got over 20,000 steps! Don’t let a day or two in the car throw you off your fitness game! You can easily use these tips for a healthy road trip to stay on track!
Are you road-tripping somewhere in the near future? Where!? Any helpful tips for staying healthy on the road?