The open road is calling again—or perhaps that’s the sound of stomachs growling in the back seat. If a car trip is in your travel plans this year, follow these guidelines to eat healthily and stay fueled up for your adventures.
Choose Smart Snacks
Whole fruit such as apples, oranges, and bananas travel well and provide a nutritious substitute to candy. Or pair dried fruit with protein-rich nuts and whole-grain pretzels to create a trail mix that can satisfy hungry passengers without causing a sugar crash.
Better choices than potato chips can also be found at gas stations. Look for hummus, fruit cups, skim-milk string cheese, low-sodium beef jerky, and snack bars without added sugar. Flavored, unsweetened seltzer water is a savvy swap for soda.
Pass on Fast Food
Convenience and cravings can make it tempting to stop at a fast-food chain, but taking a short detour to a farmer’s market or casual eatery offers two benefits: healthier options such as fresh fruits and vegetables, soups, salads, and steamed or baked entrees—and a chance to experience the local flavor. If the drive-through is unavoidable, opt for selections that are grilled, rather than fried, or choose salads topped with lean protein and a vinaigrette dressing.
Ask for a Mini Fridge
Booking a hotel room with a mini-fridge is a smart move. It makes it convenient to stock fresh grocery items and healthy snacks to help avoid trips to the vending machine. Having quick ingredients on hand such as whole-grain cereal and skim milk, yogurt, or lean sliced meats and cheeses with sandwich fixings can provide an alternative to eating out for every meal—a plus for both waistlines and wallets.
Practice Food Safety
This one is a must; one risky meal can cut a vacation short. It’s safest to avoid unknown street vendors—and even buffets—even though they are tempting. At those venues, there’s a greater risk for unsafe food prep practices, serving temperatures, and communal serving utensils. Washing hands and sanitizing shared spaces (such as airline tray tables) before eating is also important. And if you’re concerned the water may be contaminated where you’re traveling, bring bottled water—just in case.
Keep these tips handy to stay safe and eat right on any road trip (while avoiding the guilt trip)!