Hitting the road with the family or a group of friends can be a fun and exciting way to travel from here to there. And with the economy in the can and airline prices high, it may be the best option for your budget. Plus, who doesn’t love a road trip? The wind is in your hair, the sun is shining down, and you’ve got hours of awesome tunes just waiting on your MP3 player, not to mention a stack of Mad Libs to play. The only snag you’ve hit is that you’re not sure how to continue your healthy eating habits while travelling cross country. Chips, candy, and soda are easy to pack and they’re what everyone expects, but knowing already that you’ll be stuck eating at greasy roadside diners, you’d at least like to have a few healthy snacks on hand. So here are some options to help keep your digestive tract in order, your body feeling good, and your palate satisfied when you take a road trip.
- Fruits. Bananas, apples, and oranges are going to be the easiest to transport because they come with their own, individual packaging (and they don’t need to be refrigerated). Berries, stone fruits, and softer-skinned items will be more problematic (especially since squishing is an issue), but you can put them into Tupperware containers and shove them in a cooler if you want the variety. It’s worth the effort since they’ll help you get your sugar fix while providing you with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants (in some cases), and much-needed fiber.
- Veggies. While bringing a salad probably isn’t the best idea (lettuce wilts awfully fast) you can’t go wrong with some crunchy crudité. So bring along baby carrots, celery sticks, and even some super healthy cruciferous veggies (broccoli, for example). You can also pack a jar of peanut butter for dipping (and a dose of healthy fat that will help to keep you fuller longer) or ask for a side of ranch dressing at the drive-thru window.
- Trail mix.You can buy ready-made or mix your own, but your trail mix should have nuts, raisins (or other dried fruit), and maybe even a few pretzels and chocolate chips. Just a handful is enough to pep you up and help you overcome hunger for a while. And although you shouldn’t eat a whole tub of it (since it is full of sugar and fat, albeit more or less healthy), a few bites here and there will help you make it to the next pit stop.
- Cheese. While you’re probably thinking that cheese has a lot of fat, making it less healthy as a snack, the truth is that you need some fats in order to function. That said, choosing low-fat cheese is not a bad idea. It’s going to be hard to bring dairy on your trip, but cheese will likely hold up better than, say, milk or yogurt. So pack a cooler with some string cheese or cheese slices and pair them with your fruits and veggies for a snack that is more satisfying (because of the addition of protein) and helps you get your daily dose of calcium.
- Water. Skip the sodas; they will not only get everyone hyped up (while stuck in a small space) but they’ll also leave you dehydrated down the line (can you imagine a car full of people with dry-mouth and headaches?). Water will help to keep your body functioning normally, despite the stresses of travel, allow you to clear out any toxins that build up (unless you keep gas analysers on hand, who knows what’s building up in the car?), and most importantly, ensure that your body is well-hydrated, no matter what climate you’re in. Plus, if the car breaks down somewhere and you have to hoof it to a gas station you’ll be glad to have the extra H₂O.