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Healthy Tips for a Healthy Road Trip

Posted by Lisa Peterson -

The holidays are a great time of year to spend with family and friends, which often includes the long road trips to get to them. I am no different than the projected 98.6 million* Americans who will be traveling this holiday season. Instead of flying back to Minnesota this year, I've decided to drive the ten and a half hour journey up the interstates back to the land of 10,000 lakes. One challenging task of traveling is trying to eat healthy while on the road.

Make packing snacks a part of the overall suitcase packing experience. Instead of empty calorie snacks, consider packing snacks that will provide energy, so not only the car will have the fuel for the long jaunt but the body will too! Aim for snacks with energy boosting nutrients such as carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Below are a few options to make snacking sensibly while traveling easier:

  • Unsalted nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and cashews
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Granola
  • Bananas
  • Trail Mix: Mix up nuts, dried fruits, cereal, and dark chocolate chips

Another option for road trips is to pack a small cooler with not just beverages, but prewashed fruits and vegetables, low fat yogurt, cheese sticks, and dips such as hummus or guacamole. Perishable foods should be kept below 40°F to prevent harmful bacterial growth. Keep the refrigerator food safe by surrounding the food with ice packs. I like to freeze water bottles the night before to ensure I have cold water for the trip. The frozen water bottles additionally serve as ice packs. Also, to help provide variety to beverages throw in a few 100% juice options in the cooler. I'll admit, I'm a huge coffee drinker, so I consciously have to limit my intake when traveling. By providing myself other beverage options such as low-calorie flavored water or juice, I'm less likely to stop for another cup of coffee.

When traveling the long stretches of interstate boredom can set in, leading to mindless eating. Instead of packing a bag of potato chips, grab a box of pre-portioned or single serving snacks. Single serving bags can help limit mindless eating. I'm a huge fan of making trail mix for road trips and packing them in small plastic bags to help with portion control. By packing road trip snacks with the same amount of concentration as suitcase packing and focusing on healthier options, holiday traveling can be less stressful, and start the New Year off on a healthier note!

For more quick nutrition, physical activity, or wellness tips follow me on twitter! Looking for upcoming programs? Visit our local extension website at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/

*Sources:

Hall, Julie. "Holiday Travel Forecast Archives - AAA NewsRoom."AAA NewsRoom. 16 Dec. 2014. Accessed 18 Dec. 2014. http://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/holiday-travel-forecast/

"Smart Snacks for Your Trip."Smart Snacks for Your Trip. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Apr. 2013. 18 Dec. 2014. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442470546



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