Healthy summer road trip munchies


The season of summer vacation travel is upon us and that means eating out more frequently.  Eating healthy on the road can be challenging.  Food choices are limited, routines are chaotic, and there can be long lines at the airports or train stations making you irritable and more likely to choose not the healthiest foods.  Add to that gas stations and convenience store food choices can be limited making it that much more difficult.

Before you set foot out your door on your vacation adventure, have a food plan in mind.  When you plan ahead that at least gives you some leverage on what and where you decide to eat.  It is possible to eat healthy when traveling without going completely overboard on not-so-healthy foods. 

Of course, some people may say, “But I’m on vacation.  Let me indulge in what I want to eat.”  An indulgent here and there very sporadically may be okay, but eating too many unhealthy foods while traveling won’t make the journey much fun.  Besides, who wants indigestion, an upset stomach, or low energy when on the road?  When you make eating healthy a priority while vacationing, you’ll enjoy your time away from home so much more.     

Here are some ideas to make this happen:

When traveling by car

You plan is to start out at the crack of dawn so you have the entire day to road trip it to your destination which is hours away.  To save time and money, you decide to bring along some food to snack on while enjoying the view.  Forgo bringing chips, candy, or sugary beverages. The solution here is to do your own food prep of nutrient-rich options.  Use an insulated cooler packed with ice for perishables and plan out meals and snacks balanced in providing good sources of fiber and protein.  Protein fills you up and prevents overeating while fiber digests slowly helping you stay full.  Choose from the list below and pair together:

Protein packed foods

·      Hard-boiled eggs

·      Lean meat jerky

·      Hummus

·      Nuts or seeds

·      Greek yogurt

·      Mozzarella string cheese

Fiber rich foods

·      Whole grain crackers

·      Fresh vegetables like carrot sticks

·      Dried or fresh fruit

·      Popcorn

·      Whole grain nutrition bars.  Choose ones with at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Avoid bars that list added sugar as one of the first two ingredients.

And always bring plenty of ice cold water to keep hydrated with.

Choosing food at an airport, convenience store or train station

When hanging out at an airport, convenience store or train station, instead of grabbing the first food you see or going to the first vendor, take time to look around at your options (plus get in some exercise).  Luckily, there has lately been a huge trend toward offering healthier options in almost all travel areas including air terminals, bus stations, convenience stores, and train stations.

Here are a few tips when choosing foods from these locations:

·      Choose fresh fruit.  Look for apples, bananas, oranges or grapes that are being offered more in restaurants and convenience stores.

·      Look for healthy salads.  Choose salads made with colorful veggies, grilled chicken, beans, nuts or seeds with the dressing on the side.

·      Keep an eye out for better sandwiches.  Grilled chicken or turkey is always a good bet.

·      Stay away from overly salted, sugared or low-nutrient snacks such as chips, pretzels, or cookies.  Healthier options include hummus and fresh veggie cups, fresh fruit cups, unsalted nuts, or single-servings of cheese.

·      Trail mix is always a treat.  Choose ones with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds and minimal candy pieces.

·      Yogurt parfaits can be perfect.  Look for ones made with Greek yogurt, nuts and fresh fruit.