Healthy on the Road :: Road Trip Style

how to eat healthy on a road trip[trip style = road trip]

Road trips are one of my favourite things about summer. The journey allows time to sit still and relax, listen to good music and spend some quality, uninterrupted time with friends or family. Yet, a funny thing happens when you sit for a long period of time expending very little energy, you start to feel lethargic and end up craving unhealthy food. Freeway fare, or items from the carb and sugar family {chips, candy, salty nuts, burger, fries} fill your body with bad fats, calories and little nutrition. And filling your body with crap, leaves you  feeling tired, grumpy and blah, which is no way to start your adventure on the open road!

This weekend I went on a short road trip with a best girlfriend down to Seattle for the day. Nutritionally, the trip started off badly. A rushed, early morning departure left me skipping my regular balanced breakfast and wolfing down a Starbucks scone and coffee instead. Less than one hour later, I felt ravenous again, and what was I craving: another scone, and it wasn't even 8am yet!

Rather than feeling too much guilt about my poor food choices, I decided to focus on what I would do next time, so here’s what I suggest for you (and myself!)...

Healthy Road Trip Food Choices Prepare Ahead of Time Before you leave, pack some healthy snacks in a cooler with ice packs to keep food fresh. Load up on fresh-cut veggies, fruit, skim milk cheese strings, nuts (unsalted almonds, cashews, or walnuts), sandwiches (peanut butter or some lean meats) and plenty of water for sipping throughout the trip. If you don’t have these items at home or are travelling into the USA, bring the cooler and stop at a grocery store before hitting the road or once you've crossed the border.

Eat A Good, Balanced Breakfast Your grandma was absolutely right, it is the most important meal of the day. There is no better way to rev up your metabolism. The more balanced your breakfast, the less likely you are to have cravings throughout the day.

Have Some Snacks to Settle A Queasy Tummy I may just be speaking for myself, but I find my stomach gets a bit unsettled on long road trips, making me want dry food like breads, pastries and chips even more! Bringing along baked, whole grain crackers will help settle your tummy without the salt, sugar and extra calories.

If Service Stations Are Your Only Option Protein bars can make a good meal substitute, but read labels to select one lower in sugar and calories. A bag of pretzels isn’t a balanced snack, but it’s better than a bag of BBQ chips.

Coffee Shops Look for options other than pastries and muffins. For example, at Starbucks I would have been better off if I had chosen their “Protein Platter”---a lovely variety of grapes, hard-boiled egg, pita, peanut butter, and apple slices---for my most important meal of the day. If you want something sweet, opt for a bran muffin {which has more fibre so the sugar won’t enter you bloodstream so quickly} and you will feel fuller longer.

{When she’s not training clients or being trained by her dog Zuzu, Leah writes Healthy on the Road, published the first Thursday of every month.}

More Healthy On the Road... Make Any Trip Style Healthy The 20-min Exercise Itinerary Active, Relax, Repeat Healthy DIY Plane Snacks Hotel Room Exercises {You can do in your underwear}

[photo by patxi Izkue]