Healthy Eating On The Road

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.

mcdonalds_sandwich_nutrition.png  Would you know that a simple hamburger has fewer calories than a grilled chicken sandwich, or a snack wrap?

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?

6 thoughts on “Healthy Eating On The Road

  1. We bring a lot of food with us for many reasons: it’s healthier, less expensive, my kids will eat it, my husband’s vegan…ha ha. It’s so much easier to make a bagged lunch and only purchase a few special treats. There are some great parks and farmer’s markets that we stop at when traveling.

  2. I LOVE sparkling water – I buy the store brand in 1 liter bottles at my local store (only ~$0.75/liter) and mix up that and regular water in my cup at work … and grab one for travel as well!

    For us, preparation is key – hitting a store and buying a bag full of stuff, making sandwiches and packing a cooler, making sure we have enough sweet and salty and water to satisfy everyone so stops are only for ‘potty breaks’. I find that preparation makes our choices cheaper and healthier.

  3. I have a lot of allergies, so we never go on long trips without our cooler. Rather than keeping the food cold with a bag of ice, which melts and makes things soggy, we freeze a bunch of water bottles and nothing has even gone bad on us, even my boyfriend’s meat and cheese sandwiches. Plus we have ice cold water to drink as the frozen bottles melt. My go-tos are roasted beat hummus sandwiches with cucumber and shredded carrot or simple peanut butter and jelly. I also LOVE those snap pea crisps on the road.

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