“On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again.” Surprisingly, I learned all the lyrics to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” in my 4th grade music class. For many, traveling can be disastrous when trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Long miles = fast food stops and long periods of inactivity. My husband and I are about to hit the slopes and enjoy some spring snowboarding in Colorado. The only thing that stands between us and the beautiful Rockies is a 14-hour car ride. Luckily for my husband, I have nominated myself as the road DJ, so we’ll be listening to jams from Hootie and the Blowfish, Ke$ha and Fleetwood Mac the whole way there. Okay, maybe not the whole way…but most of the way.
The best thing you can do to stay on track with your healthy habits while traveling is plan, plan, plan.
Plan your snacks. Nuts and homemade trail mixes that include dehydrated meats, dried fruits and nuts make great non-perishable snacks for long car rides. Another idea is to pack a small cooler or lunch box with items that need to be kept cool like fruit, hard-boiled eggs or cheese. Try to avoid foods of low nutritional value such as chips, pretzels and cookies.
- Another tip: Try not to pack sweets for long car trips. We may have good intentions of practicing portion control, but this often gets pushed aside when one is bored just sitting for hours upon hours. A friend of mine said she had packed a bunch of cookies to for a trip to Florida. They consumed all of them before they had even left Illinois.
Pack adequate fluids. Keep a cooler packed with extra water bottles so you’re not tempted to grab a soda or sweet tea during gas stops.
Plan your dining stops. My husband and I always have a discussion on types of restaurants we will stop for. This really helps if you know your menu items well. Chipotle is always a great go-to for us because we can load up on a good protein source and lots of veggies. If you are a Chipotle-goer yourself, then you know how awesome their guacamole is. The downfall is the price of it! I typically pack a small avocado and slice it on my burrito bowl to save money and load my meal with a heart healthy omega-9 fat. Other times, I’ll pack some veggies ahead of time, order a sandwich and just use the meat to put with my vegetables.
Watch the clock. Be mindful of how often you’re snacking. Sometimes we eat out of pure boredom when driving, so it’s especially important to pay attention to how often you’re consuming your meals or snacks. If you’re eating every hour, it’s definitely not because of physical hunger cues.
Steer clear of high-calorie menu items. Watch out for high calorie meals, considering you haven’t exercised all day. Ways to cut back on calories include not ordering cheese on sandwiches, taking off one or even both buns from sandwiches, opting for salads or soup as side items instead of fries and the obvious–go with grilled menu items over breaded, fried options.