Over the past few weeks we have logged a lot of mileage in the car (over 2,000 miles in one week!). Road tripping can be both fun and stressful. Eating on the road can make the equation even worse.
Whether you are training for a race or trying to watch your waistline, meals during road trips can be overwhelming. It can often feel like healthy options are few and far between. But the good news is that most of the time, you can find something to appease your appetite while remaining mostly guilt free.
At the gas station: I am not a fan of fast food. I rarely eat it. Instead, I often scour the gas station and find some treats to make a “road picnic.” Nuts, cheese, meat, and fruit are my staples. Almost all gas stations sell string cheese by the single stick; often in various cheese flavors. Small packs of heart healthy nut combinations are a quick way to get some healthy fats. Most gas stations usually have single bananas, apples, or oranges. Many modern gas stations now offer cups of fruit such as strawberries, grapes, and pineapple.
Look for things like small packages of Smart Food popcorn where you get a delicious cheesy flavor and plenty of food without a ton of calories or fat. Another favorite of mine is That’s It Bars. Mary now loves these too. They aren’t cheap but they are made of only fruit and come in at 100 calories. You feel like you are eating a granola bar, but in a far healthier version. Our one year old can eat a full bar on her own. It’s rather impressive.
Get your sparkle on. Sparkling water is found just about anywhere these days. Simply put, it is carbonated water often found in various flavors. With zero calories and no sodium, it is a great choice on the road and at home. It gives you those bubbles you might crave from a soda, minus the sugar and additives. This is a great option for keeping you hydrated on the go. LaCroix has been my go to for years!
Compare your fast food options. The Dietary Guidelines recommend reading food labels and comparing your foods, especially when it comes to sodium intake. Modern technology makes this easier than ever. While on the road, you often get advance notification of what fast food options are coming up. When we are trying to decide where to eat, we pull up nutrition facts and compare our options.
Not surprisingly, some of the seemingly “healthier” options on menus are laden in preservatives and fat/calories. Many salads often pack on many more calories than sandwich options. What often appears to be a guilt free chicken option, often is much less healthy than going for a simple hamburger.
Make yourself an informed consumer and read the nutrition facts before you even get there. If you know that the burger you are craving packs on an extra 700 calories, before you get in line and are tempted, you are far less likely to overindulge. Knowing ahead of time that a simple hamburger or a salad with half of the dressing will keep everything on track, will allow you to order with confidence and avoid questioning your decisions.
What are your tips for eating healthy on the road?