Finding the willpower to eat healthy while traveling is hard enough when you have access to fresh markets and cooking utensils. It becomes even more of a challenge when you’re on a road trip, trapped in a car for hours on end, with nothing but fast food restaurants and greasy spoon diners for roadside dining options. But with a little planning, a little extra time, and a lot of self-control, you can eat healthy while on a road trip. Here are few tips.
Start your day off right.
Begin your day with a carbohydrate feast and you’ll be craving carbs again in a few hours. Put down the donut and instead, take the time to have a healthy breakfast at your hotel. Eat a good mix of whole grains and protein and you’ll ingest fewer calories while staying full later into the afternoon.
Get some exercise.
Spending eight hours or more being sedentary in the car means that your body may be burning a lot fewer calories than normal. Reduce your intake accordingly and try to get a nominal amount of exercise. Even if all you do is take a 15-minute walk in the morning and then do a few bonus laps every time you stop along your route, you’ll feel good having stretched your legs. Even better: plan your stops around scenic walks or hikes so you can do a little sightseeing while you get moving.Pack healthy snacks.
It’s easy and tempting to swing through the drive-thru or grab some chips from the gas station, but that won’t do your waistline any favors. Pack healthy snacks like almonds, granola or trail mix (choose low fat, low sodium, high fiber varieties), fruit and peanut butter, or power bars. Depending on the length of your drive, you can pack a cooler with items like string cheese sticks or hummus and pita. Just refill the ice each day at your hotel. And don’t forget to drink lots of water throughout the day and avoid coffee and soda.
Choose your meal stops wisely.
It’s harder to make healthy choices at a place where the daily special is a triple cheeseburger or a chicken-fried steak. If you can, take an hour to stop and have a proper meal once a day. Sit down, eat slowly, and follow the same healthy rules you normal use for eating out – choose grilled or broiled over fried, get dressings on the side, opt for tomato-based instead of creamy sauce. If you don’t feel like dining out, try to seek out a grocery store where you can pick up healthy prepared foods to go. Most Whole Foods locations have extensive salad bars and cut fruit available to go.