My dear friend Jessi from college wrote to me recently and lamented about the amount of junk food her family is eating. They are used to eating salads, beans, and made-from-scratch everything in Africa where they have lived for the last eight years. Now they are visiting churches and living in different places every few days because they are traveling state to state here in the USA.
I gave her a few helpful tips and thought if she were struggling with eating healthy on the road, some of you may be as well! Vacation time is coming up, and you can still be healthy even if you are driving from Montana to Kentucky. The key is to be in control of what you eat as much as possible.
Whether you are taking a business trip or a family trip, eating healthy on the road is important. First, it will help avoid illness. Second, it will help avoid stomach discomfort, which can be a disaster when you are driving down the highway. Third, no one wants to spend a road trip, business trip, or vacation feeling under the weather.
Here are a few helpful tips:
Pack a cooler.
Before you begin a long journey, get a big enough cooler to store water, cut up vegetables, and other snacks. Having this will avoid the impulse potato chip and Snickers purchase at your gas station stop.
Depending on how many days you will be on the road and how big your cooler is, you can pack a meal for one or two days for your family in the cooler. Think cold soups, salads (without dressing mixed in), and your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Tip: you will want the snacks ready-to-eat. If you are bringing carrots, they should be washed and chopped up to eat (unless you eat them whole). The prep work should be done before you leave for your destination.
For every meal, you need a protein; otherwise, you will be hungry.
My husband and I brought these protein bars with us on our last vacation and loved them! We also purchased Epic beef steak strips made with honey instead of sugar for a quick meat and protein that was already cooked and did not need to be canned. You can read this article to see why we opted out of dried meat with sugar.
Nuts are a tasty and nutritious treat as well, for children and adults alike. Avocados are delicious as well, and you can add salsa to the center for an extra special treat!
You have been on the road for a few days already, and your appetite has made you devour all your delicious snacks. You are hungry, and the only place you have to stop is a gas station.
Gas stations used to mean junk food, and now there are much healthier options available. Kwik Trip is probably the best gas station for healthy options such as nuts, salads, and fruit cups. You can also buy bananas, tomatoes, and avocados there very reasonably. Apples, oranges, and other fruit are also often sold there (replenish your cooler if necessary).
Your snack options are not limited to pretzels with cheese and greasy pizza. 🙂
Eating on the road may bring McDonald’s to mind, but there are so many other places to eat other than fast food. Besides, you will want something other than snacks, especially if this is day two or three of your vacation.
First, if fast food is your only choice at a certain stop, choose the better of the two. Chipotle or Panera is better than McDonald’s. However, if your only choice is McDonald’s, you can choose a salad and some kind of fruit over a hamburger with French fries and a fountain drink.
Second, consider the grocery store salad bar. My top recommendation to you would be to go to a co-op first. They would have the best quality food, and if any family members have food allergies, they list all the ingredients in every prepared food.
If a local co-op is not an option, Whole Foods would be my second best recommendation. They have a salad bar and a hot food bar in most locations. Some Whole foods locations have numerous options for eating healthy on the go.
If you have neither a co-op nor a Whole Foods within reasonable distance, choose a grocery story salad bar or deli. Either place will have healthier food than McDonald’s, and you won’t be paying sit-down restaurant prices to eat either. You may actually pay less than you would at McDonald’s depending on how hungry you are and what you purchase.
Time-saving tip: purchase two meals at one stop. Eat one, and pack the other away in your cooler for a picnic for the next meal. This works best with cold foods and salads, of course. 🙂
More of this; less of that.
As you travel, you are not using many calories, unless you are climbing mountains or getting some form of exercise. You want to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, and more vegetables and fruit. You also need protein. Limit salty and sweet foods as much as possible since they will make you thirsty. Eat as many whole foods as possible and as few processed foods.
Ok, that should give you something to think about. If you want to do all you can to stay healthy on the road, email me here today, and I would love to set up a complimentary phone or Zoom call to learn what your exact needs are and to suggest to you some natural remedies that can help you to feel better.
Please share below; what are your most difficult challenges as you travel?
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