Have you ever been stuck in the car for hours on a road trip, perhaps a little bored and anxious, your legs are cramped and uncomfortable and you’re starting to feel hungry? You look around and the only options around are gas stations and…you called it…fast food restaurants. Instead of feeling sluggish and foggy from crapola and empty calories, why not plan ahead a little and bring your own healthy snacks to help you feel full of energy and ready for an adventure? What better time than summer to take advantage of all the tasty fruits and vegetables in-season, many of which have little prep involved. With a little planning, it’s totally doable to eat healthy on the road.
Here are 7 tips to ensure a balanced diet while on the road:
1. Bring supplies. You’ll definitely want to bring a cooler with ice to keep your fruits, veggies, dairy, meats (if that’s your thing) and drinks cold. You will also want to have a roll of paper towels, some baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and utensils with you.
2. Keep yourself hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you and continually sip from it throughout the day. Yes, it means pit stops more often, but that’s not a bad idea to stretch your legs and avoid discomfort later on. Coconut water and kombucha are also great choices. Although it contains some caffeine, kombucha is full of good probiotics, providing digestive support and increased energy. It’s also a nice alternative to beer once you hit your final destination. It may even give you a little buzz…it sure does for me. Now drink up!
3. Snack on fresh fruit. Watermelon, grapes, cherries and berries are great choices. I’d avoid fruits that bruise easily like bananas and peaches. Since watermelon is more than 90% water, it’s a great way to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration. Grapes are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, which are especially good for your immune system! Simply cut up the watermelon into 1 inch cubes and place in a large Tupperware container. Rinse the grapes, cherries, and berries and combine with the watermelon. Just make sure you have a bag handy to put the pits in.
4. Munch on homemade trail mix. This road trip staple provides the perfect energy boost. Almonds contain health promoting fats and are an excellent source of magnesium to help relax your tight muscles. Try mixing 2 cups of pumpkin seeds, 1 cup of raw almonds, ¾ cup of raw sunflower seeds and 1 cup of raisins or cranberries. Store in an airtight container.
5. Raw vegetables are a must. Carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, radishes, snap peas are great options. The more colorful, the better. I like to load up on celery which is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Not to mention celery’s high water and electrolyte content can prevent dehydration.
6. Don’t forget dips! Hummus, salsa and guacamole are all great choices. If you have the time, make your own. Otherwise, there are plenty of healthy and delicious store-bought options out there. The chickpeas in hummus provides time released energy that won’t lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. It’s full of protein and will fill you up! Dips go great with raw veggies or tortilla chips!
7. Wholesome energy bars. If you’re looking for something easy, there are plenty of pre-packaged bars out there. Lately, my go-tos are Qi’a bars and Larabars. They’re made from real ingredients you can actually pronounce, like whole fruits, nuts, and seeds. Not only do these bars taste good, but they are a good source of essential nutrients like fiber, protein and antioxidants.
Next time you go on a road trip, plan ahead. Trust me, your body and mood will thank you for it :)