Does this sound familiar? You’re driving, starving and pull into a rest stop to grab something quick. The spread that’s laid out before you includes, Doritos, Slim Jims, Oreos, and my personal favorite – Bugles. Everything is cheesy, salty, sugary, and full of ingredients that take you 5 minutes to pronounce. None of these things are good for you but you are starving and eating healthy is just not an option at that time. Well, I’m here to tell you that it can be with some preparation and a discerning eye.
Buy one of those personal coolers.
These are great for when you have to be on the road for more than a couple of hours. You can get one for as low as $20. Fill this up with healthy food before you hit the road so that you won’t be so inclined to pull over to Roy Rogers.
Know how to decipher which snacks are healthy.
Many on the road food stops are now including healthier snack alternatives, such as fruit cups and granola bars. When searching for a snack bar, look for ones with natural ingredients that are around 150 calories, with high fiber and low sugar content.
Grab some nuts.
They may have a lot of salt but so do chips. The difference is that these almonds actually have some nutritional value including omega 3, fiber and vitamin E. It’s better to have them raw, but that’s not too easy to find at a gas station store.
Stay away from soda.
I can’t emphasis this one enough. Drinking soda is like pouring sugar down your throat. I’ve been saying this for years: soda does nothing but make you more thirsty; I believe that is why so many of the commercials are all about quenching thirst. Try some of these alternatives, like drinking veggie juice, teas (especially if you need the caffeine) or purchase some flavored water. Better yet, bring a water bottle with you and fill it with filtered water and add some cucumbers or citrus fruits for flavoring.
Choose or bring along some fruits.
Fruit can help alleviate that sweet tooth, steering you away all that sugary junk. Grapes, raisins, dates and bananas are especially good for that and will give you some antioxidants and fiber as well.
Pick fast foods that are healthier.
If you find yourself in a situation where you just have to eat what is there (bus trip to/from Boston & NYC, anyone?), make sure you’re ordering the “healthier” options that are on the menu. For example, some places offer grilled chicken instead of fried, baked potato instead of french fries, water instead of soda. You can even order a salad.
Buy some healthy frozen meals.
You can store them in the cooler and when ready to heat up, you can use the microwave at the various stops. Amy’s and Evol make tasty ones with no trans fat or GMOs and are made with natural ingredients. I want to caution that they do tend to have a lot of sodium but so does the McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish and Fries. Besides, these have fewer calories and more nutritional value.
Hire a Health Coach.
Okay so this one is not so practical but we really can help keep you on track while you’re on the road. When you need some help preparing for a trip or are on one and not sure what to do, reach out. A lot of health coaches are also healthy food chefs so if you can afford it, hire one.
Utilize healthy apps.
There are a growing number of apps that are surfacing to help you make healthier eating decisions. Happy Cow, Food Tripping and of course, Yelp can help you find restaurants or health food stores nearby using the GPS system on your phone. They can tell you where the closest Whole Foods is located.
Consort with people who are supportive.
This may be the hardest recommendation as I realize that not everyone is on the same wavelength as you. However, it is very helpful to have people who are willing to check out restaurants that are healthy and be sensitive to your lifestyle changes. If someone is pressuring you or ragging on you about your new lifestyle, it may be time to get out of that after-school special episode.
Challenge yourself and try some of these tips on your next road trip. Let us know how it goes. Or if you have some tips of your own, by all means, share.