Take Your Healthy Eating on the Road
Avoiding disruptions in nutritious eating habits is tricky when you hit the road. With an abundance of tempting fast food and limiting rest stop options, it’s easy to allow balanced diet routines to fly out the window, opening up the possibilities of fatigue, digestive issues, and frustrating allergy restrictions. But there are several ways to meld the adventurous outlook of travel with a healthy eating plan. When heading off on a road trip with or without the family, consider a few pre-planning steps to assure a healthy and nourishing driving experience.
Reimagine the Car Snacks
In all stages of a long car ride, packing fun snacks or meals is a great way to avoid unnecessary making stops or spending extra money. Break outside the usual snack packs by prepping healthy homemade energy treats or unique travel-ready sandwiches that you’ve never tried before. A special trip to the store before your journey will save loads of money, otherwise spent in haste at rest stops later on. Other portable meal items, such as smoothies and freshly chopped veggies are a fun way to hold you over from stop to stop—supplying a steadier form of energy than caffeine or sugar. Also, remember that staying hydrated by filling several reusable water bottles is crucial for staying focused and balanced.
Maximize Rest Stop Options
When you must stop at the traditional highway rest stop—because at some point, convenience trumps adventure—be knowledgeable of dependable food options ahead of time. Many rest stop coffee shops offer trail mix or dried fruit, and some delis supply fresh sandwiches made that day. Other hidden gems hide out in the convenience store or gas station areas, offering a wide range of nuts, fruits, and protein-filled snacks; just always be sure to check out the labels if you’ve never tried the particular brand. Simple, straightforward ingredient lists are the best bet for keeping you moving and enjoying the journey.
Off-Roading to Local Spots
Perhaps the most exciting opportunity, a little pre-trip research is an excellent way to find healthy eating opportunities and small-town gems right off the highway. Past the usual rest stops located directly off the main road—ideal for quick stops and gas stations—occasionally sit small downtowns that feature a wider variety of local diners, delis, or sit-down restaurants—often accommodating more dietary restrictions and allergies. When passing a small city or larger town, look out for notable restaurants that feature local specialties or farm-to-table selections. If the trip is a regularly traveled route, spots like this may become a go-to option along the way. Not only do you now have a stop to look forward to, avoiding crowds and overpricing, but you are also able to support local communities along your journey.
Helpful Travel Apps
Technology has enhanced our own exploratory prowess when traveling, guiding us toward the local spots that we may have otherwise missed. For example, sites like the Eat Well Guide allows you to search sustainable restaurants in each new area. The Find Me Gluten Free app is an excellent resource for those with gluten allergies, while Tasteful assists with a large variety of dietary and health restrictions.
Next time you head out on a road trip with the family or drive great distances for work, rethink your usual stops to add both a little adventure and a healthier alternative to the usual off-road options. Breaking up the trip with healthy alternatives keeps you focused, steady, and excited for your next exciting new find.