SAN DIEGO: Road trips are a summertime vacation tradition for many who want to see America. There is no denying the freedom, fun, flexibility, and cost-savings of 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 AAA approximately 100 million Americans will embark on a road trip this. 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.
Eating healthy while on the road
Foods which can be acquired quickly and easily while eaten on-the-go are often the first choice on a road trip.
It is difficult to predict the possibility of finding healthy snacks and meals at gasoline station markets, convenience stores, fast food chains and a variety of restaurants.
Breakfast can be an early morning challenge. Sugary and fat-filled donuts, sweet rolls, breakfast bars and the like are easy to find. And delicious with a morning cup of stimulating coffee. They are also a recipe for a blood sugar spike that will lead to lethargy.
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-grain toast and a variety of other low-calorie items.
A midday meal can also be a challenge for the traveler who does not want to be slowed down by food breaks.
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 the healthiest food choices when placing your meal 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, share an entree and add on side salads or vegetables. This will help you to avoid unwanted pounds by not paying attention to portion control.
The local grocery store offers healthful food choices for your car trip across America
Some road trip travelers pack a cooler and fill it with their favorite healthy snacks and sandwiches. Grocery stores offer packages of pre-cut fruit and vegetables. Most have a deli, hot bar and salad bar options as well. Instead of hitting the drive-through, a visit to the local grocery store can provide a delicious and helpful option.
As a bonus you are able to learn more about the area you are in. Local produce and foods you won’t find other places – like fry bread popular in the Southwest, but unheard of in Maine – are found in the local grocery story.
Remember the health benefits of nuts, crackers and protein bars–they are easy to purchase and generally available–and these easy-to-carry snacks are certain to satisfy most hunger.
Don’t forget to recycle while on your road trip
Have a box for plastic bottles and containers and a bag for trash and food items. Toss your trash, but hold onto your plastic cups, bottles, spoons, forks, and straws until you find a recycling station.
A road trip across America the beautiful
With so many wonderful travel destinations across the country, a road trip across America is a great summer vacation. America is full of scenic beauty, geographical and cultural diversity and 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!