Power up your pit-stops – a guide to eating on the go. Choosing healthy while traveling may be easier than you think.
Have you recently taken a road trip and struggled with what or where to eat? It’s hard to miss the shiny billboards, reflective blue info signs, or alluring neon logos along the highways across the U.S. illuminating an appetizing meal, snack, or beverage. They may conjure up tempting thoughts or images, regardless of whether your stomach is growling, enticing you to put the blinker on and take the next exit. Even the gas stations are appealing caverns of eye candy with rows of brightly colored beverages glistening like gems behind glass doors, shiny packages, and aisles of candy and snacks targeting your deepest vice.
Making healthier choices on the road may be easier than you think though. Power up those pit-stops and feel great when you finally get “there.” It can be done with some planning and nutrition 411. Here’s 2 your health!
Don’t leave home without them
Traveling for more than 4-6 hours? Be sure to bring plenty of H2O or low-calorie, low-sugar beverages to stay hydrated and not to mistake thirst for hunger. Grab natural “to-go” snacks like bananas, apples, grapes, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, PB & J sandwich on whole wheat, or low-fat string cheese to stave off temptation or impulse buying. The protein in the nuts and cheese and fiber in the fruits will keep your metabolism humming while keeping you satisfied until your next healthy balanced meal.
Fuel up your tank x 2
Your body’s metabolism is just like the fuel tank for your car. It is necessary for each to have enough of the proper fuel along with regular maintenance in order to run efficiently. When you’re at the gas pump get the blood flowing in your arms and legs by doing some easy stretches, like lunges or squats. Reach your arms overhead and do some side stretches and slow spinal twists. The oxygen and reinvigoration of the blood flow will allow you to be alert and refreshed for the next batch of miles.
Out of snacks or need a pick-me-up at this pit-stop? Often convenience stores carry some kind of fresh produce. Look for bananas or apples, or grab a low-sodium V-8, or V-8 splash for a convenient serving of vegetables. Craving something salty instead? Pretzels can be a lower calorie answer for the salty crunch you crave. Sweet? No problem, dark chocolate covered raisins, licorice, frozen yogurt, or jelly beans may do the trick and save on the extra fat calories. Caffeine? Sure, you need your ‘Cup of Joe’ to keep your eyes open, but you don’t need the jitters. Try some green tea (hot or cold) beverages and if you really want that slurpee or slushy just opt for the smallest cup they carry.
Keep it real
Need more tips for choices? Drive-thru’s don’t have to be deleted altogether, they do have some waistline friendly options. Remember to keep your choices as close to the real thing as you can. Baked potatoes, side green salads, broth based soups, bean (black vs. refried) burritos (light on cheese and toppings), subs piled high with veggies, oatmeal, fruit cups, and yogurt are among the few menu items found at many national chains.
Here’s to happy and safe travels.