How to road trip in a healthy way

Happy family car trip on summer vacation. Travel concept

This song comes out on every road trip, right?  An oldie but a goodie, you can hear that guitar strumming as you toss the last few bags in the car, your adrenaline begins to rush as you make one last dash through the house, and you are Ready for the Road when your bum hits the seat.  You take a deep breath, turn on your music of choice and roll out of the neighborhood.

Only problem is, just six blocks down the road you hear from the backseat: “Are we there yet?”, followed by (a might bit whiny) “I’m huuungry”.

Whether your road trip is 5 hours or 15, this happens every time, right?

And for whatever reason, road trips mean crappy food. I remember road trips where we’d stock up on licorice, Doritos, sparkling juice or fries and rootbeer floats from the nearest drive through.  We would senselessly mow down Ritz crackers and fruit snacks, bagels and cream cheese, all just to feel heavy, lethargic and gross upon our arrived destination.

Today, I’m here to save you from from that heavy, lethargic and gross feeling that can come from road tripping by giving you some easy to implement tips.

Here are 8 tips for How to Road Trip in a Healthy Way.

1-Two weeks ahead of time put together a list of non perishables you’d like for the trip itself and for your time on the road. It’s always cheaper to have things on hand than it is to grab food on the run.  My favorite resource for this is Thrive Market. I order 10 days before we leave, knowing it takes about 6 days for my order to arrive.  When it comes, I can toss all non-perishables into a rubbermaid bin where items won’t get squished or broken.  So not only do I save money by thinking ahead, I save an additional 25-50% by ordering through Thrive as it’s like a Costco meets Whole Foods experience.

Here are some of my road trip favorites:

Peanut Butter
Beanitos corn free tortilla chips
Beef jerky
Kind bars

2-If it’s summer, hit up a roadside farmers stand or market for fresh veggies and produce.  If you’re road tripping in the winter, make sure you’ve picked up easy-for-travel produce items such as apples, dried fruit, oranges or clementines, pears, carrots, celery, snap peas, jicama and bell peppers cut into strips.

3-Remember to keep a small cutting board and knife with a protective head (like this) tucked in to your food bin so that lucky person riding passenger in the front seat can be soux chef at a moments notice.

4-Being in the air conditioning (or constant heat) with a numb rear end makes for grumpy people, and so do chemically colored, sugar and high fructose corn syrup filled “energy” drinks said to balance out your electrolytes.  You’re not running a race here people, (and even if you were I would encourage you to follow the same suggestion below) you simply need to stay awake and hydrated.  You can do this by eating whole foods on the road and by drinking this great refreshing beverage called WATER. Fill one of those big baseball coolers with a spigot and store in the backseat for easy water bottle refills for longer road trips, or fill everyone’s water bottle before you leave and grab a couple gallons of water to store in the car for refills.  I know you’re rolling your eyes knowing you’ll need to stop more frequently if people are taking in more water, BUT, you’ll find you have happier passengers who are able to move about every few hours.

5-It’s cheaper to plan ahead and pack your food, taking the time you would for the drive through (which isn’t the quick stop you think it is because people have to pee, so your “drive through” experience is easily a half hour) to pull out those jump ropes or stop watches and get the giggles and squiggles out in the roadside rest area.  Pull over, get moving for a bit, whether it’s a walk around the parking lot or jumping jacks with the kids, breathe deep, then sit down for a picnic or hop back in the car feeling rejuvenated for the en route picnic.

6-Pack your paper towel roll and a package of hand wipes for spills, clean up and for on the lap placemats.

7-You can still have sweets and treats, but eating whole, unprocessed food will make for happier, less whiny passengers.

Here are some good sweets ideas:
Chocolate covered almonds
Freeze dried berries

8-Last but not least, it is possible to make decent choices while dining out on the road.  If you can’t find a restaurant that suits you, there is probably a grocery store within a couple miles of the interstate exit you could look up with that fancy smart phone.  If need be, grab a veggie tray, a pound of turkey, a pound of sliced cheese, a bag of apples and be on your way.  If you find a restaurant, a salad with grilled chicken breast or a burger without the bun and a side salad would also be a fine choice.


Now that I’ve shared these tips with you, what is YOUR favorite road trip snack or tip?


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