Hitting the road by eating healthy on the great American road trip

Photo courtesy of Carissa Rogers/Flickr

SAN DIEGO, August 19, 2014 — Road trips are a summertime vacation tradition for many Americans.

Labor Day weekend is one of the most popular travel times each year.

There is no denying the freedom, fun, flexibility and cost-savings offered by a road trip.

It is as American as the pioneering spirit and covered wagons.

A road trip is popular because it eliminates the checking in, waiting in line, security checks, flight changes and possible cancellations of air travel.

Simply pack a bag, jump into a vehicle of choice and get going!

According to research conducted by Bridgestone, approximately 83% of American adults who take summer road trips are willing to travel more than 500 miles to reach an anticipated locale of choice.

The very act of being on vacation accompanied by family and friends can be a more important part of the journey than reaching the destination itself.

However, one of the most challenging aspects of taking a road trip is maintaining healthy eating habits.

It is difficult to predict the possibility of finding available snacks and meals at gasoline station markets, convenience stores, fast food chains and a variety of restaurants.

Foods which can be acquired quickly and easily while eaten on-the-go are often desirable for the traveler on the road.

Breakfast can be an early morning challenge, making the choice of sugary and fat-filled donuts, sweet rolls, breakfast bars and the like easy to find and ideal with a morning cup of stimulating coffee.

Instead, select foods which are low in fat and sugar, such as portable hot oatmeal and other cereals, yogurt with fruit, whole grain breakfast sandwiches, egg whites with whole-grained toast and a variety of other low-caloric items.

A midday meal can also be a challenge for the traveler who does not want to be slowed-down by food breaks.

Photo courtesy of Geoff Peters/Flickr
Photo courtesy of Geoff Peters/Flickr

Opt for healthy salads, low-fat wraps and sandwiches, fresh fruit, low-fat cheeses and similar choices which provide energy. Avoid salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter and sauces. To avoid unnecessary calories, eliminate chips and fries from your menu entirely.

Depending upon travel plans or where the journey leads, by the end of the day dinnertime can be the most relaxing meal of the entire day.

Whether choosing a fast-food chain, diner or restaurant, always make healthy food choices when placing a food order.

By selecting low-fat proteins, healthy carbohydrates and vegetables, a road trip dinner might be an ideal time for relaxation and renewal.

Avoid sauces, gravies, butter, appetizers, breads, high caloric beverages and desserts.

For all meals of the day, it is better to share a food order than to pack on unwanted pounds by not paying attention to portion control.

Some road trip travelers pack a cooler and fill it with their favorite healthy snacks and sandwiches.

Remember the health benefits f nuts, crackers and protein bars–they are easy to purchase and generally available–and these easy-to-carry snacks are certain to satisfy most hungers.

With so many wonderful travel destinations to select from and explore across the country, America is replete with scenic beauty, geographical and cultural diversity as well as fascinating historical relevance.

As Americans take to the road throughout the remainder of this summer, keep in mind that making healthy food choices will enhance the travel experience by ensuring the energy and well-being to enjoy the trip.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2014 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare