Summer is here and that means, vacation time! If your summer vacation involves a road trip, you may be tempted to leave your good nutrition habits at home. But, with a little bit of preplanning you can have room in the car for your luggage and your nutritional goals.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track on the road.
- Pack a cooler – Between luggage, golf clubs, beach umbrellas, and the floaty unicorn, space in the car can be limited, but leaving space in the front seat for a small cooler let’s you pack quick and healthy snacks that are easy to eat in the car. Pack snack size bags of bell pepper slices, carrot sticks, broccoli, blueberries, apple slices, raw nuts, or any other healthy finger foods. Protein bars or shakes, beef/chicken jerky, or freeze dried soy beans are great ways to add protein. Don’t forget to include a few bottles of water as well. Packing a cooler not only keeps your nutrition on point, but you will save time and money by not stopping to eat at less than healthy roadside establishments. For some inspiration, check out my Road Trippin’ Trail Mix recipe.
- Make smart convenience store choices – Eventually you are going to have to stop for gas. Fuel station convenience stores are full of snack options, unfortunately most of them are loaded with fat, sugar, and preservatives, but with a small amount of effort you can find healthy and tasty options. Most stores have refrigerated sections where you can find protein shakes, yogurt, fruit bowls, and my favorite, string cheese! If you simply MUST have some “junk food” opt for baked chips/cheese puffs, pretzels, or plain popcorn. Avoid the pitfalls of sugary drinks by choosing bottled water (I like sparkling water for variety) or unsweetened tea/coffee.
- Eat out smart – Healthy snacks are only going to get you so far down the road. You are going to have to stop somewhere to eat a real meal. Whether it’s a fast food joint or a roadside cafe, look for the best possible option when it comes to your nutritional goals. Most places have a few different salad options, even if a “salad” consists of lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, a slice of cucumber, and shredded cheese, add some protein and your good to go. If possible pass up the greasy burger and go for a grilled chicken sandwich instead. While you’re at it, only eat 1/2 of the bun or skip it altogether. It’s best to live without the fries, but it is vacation so if you must, order a small size and share it with your car-mate.
- Make a list of healthy options – Before you leave for your trip, make a list of potential snacks and meals. Having a list of healthy options handy when you go into the convenience store makes it easier to avoid the temptation of hot dogs and Twinkies. Also, do some research to find out what restaurants are on your route and what their menus offer. Make an effort to schedule your meal breaks at the restaurants with the healthiest options.
Your nutritional goals don’t have to stay at home when you go on vacation. With a little planning, you can make sure you have room for healthy habits and the unicorn floaty.
Wherever you roam, have fun, be safe, and have a happy, healthy trip!