During the summer months, we plan road trips and vacations while some of us spend a fair amount of time on the road related to our jobs. Here are a Road Trip Nutrition tips to stay fueled with your health goals in mind. Preparation and planning will help to pull it off, save some cash and maintain food freedom.
Road Trip Nutrition: For the Car
- Coolers are your best friend! Pack it with plenty of snacks and meals for the trip. Start by filling a couple of water bottles. These options travel well:
- Fruits- Apples, oranges, clementines, washed grapes, and cherries.
- Snacks- Portioned unsalted nuts and seeds, low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, individual yogurts, individual cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs. Pre-sliced veggies and a side of hummus – baby carrots and sugar snap peas require no slicing for an added benefit. Rice cakes with nut butter or cottage cheese are great!
- Lunch -Hummus wraps, sliced turkey wraps, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches, or a tuna pouch on a wrap.
- Combine- strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to top off your yogurt or cottage cheese and sprinkle with the unsalted nuts – I especially love walnuts.
- Don’t forget to pack silverware – I hate it when I need to improvise to eat my yogurt or salad!
- Prepare the night before for the best success. Try packing a giant mixed green salad the night before and toss anything and everything into it – Edamame, or other beans, roasted veggies, sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, add whole grains, sliced chicken or turkey, canned tuna, salmon, or crab. Any leftover sweet potatoes? Toss one onto your salad then bring along your favorite dressing on the side.
Road Trip Nutrition: On Vacation
- Try to book an Airbnb stay that is equipped with a kitchen or a hotel with a kitchenette. Consider eating some meals this way – it is a cost and calorie savings. It’s fun to have a few meals out on the town but having a place to make an easy meal can be a great balance. The Residence Inn offers kitchenettes, dining space, continental breakfast with good options, free grocery delivery to your room, and fitness amenities.
- If your hotel only has a mini frig pack some of the same cooler items from above and take picnics with you while you sight-see. My favorite hotel breakfast is a peanut butter banana wrap or rice cake – no refrigeration required! Some hotels might offer a continental breakfast and then a safe bet is usually oatmeal, fresh fruits, and eggs.
Road Trip Nutrition: Dining Out
- Stuck without a plan? This can happen to the best of us. Research some restaurant options you can visit on vacation. Are there any health-conscious options that would be a treat to visit for a sampling of the local cuisine? Menus are almost always available online. Here is an article that offers the healthiest chain restaurants in America.
- Lots of supermarkets offer café dining for the items you purchase – this is an easy way to stock up on groceries at the same time. Local co-ops and natural food markets can be fun to check out and usually have some unique local options to try.
- The key to any good plan for road trip nutrition is keeping your hunger in check. Eat a little something every 2-3 hours, and especially slow-digesting lean protein sources like nuts, dairy, yogurt, and soy. We can’t use willpower to combat hunger – when we are hungry, we instinctually go for the most calorie-dense food we can get our hands on and it can lead to overconsumption. When you get too hungry, you’re likely to eat fast, make poor food choices, and eat past the point of feeling satisfied.
- Think ahead about which meals make sense to eat out and earmark a few times during your vacation to dig into the local cuisine. Get your veggies in as a top priority with each meal to nail your road trip nutrition.
Road Trip Nutrition: Add Some Movement
- See a lot on foot. Walking during vacation is great exercise and gives a glimpse of everything close up especially a long walk on the beach! Making a long drive? Can you schedule in a pit stop and hike? Pack workout clothes and explore a city or region on rental bikes. Do a gym, yoga, or kickboxing drop-in. Do you like to golf? Get in a few rounds on a local course. Try something new – surf, paddle, snorkel. Most of all don’t stress – a week off of intense workouts will be so good for your body.