If your car doubles as the family taxi while you’re on vacation, then you know maintaining healthy eating habits while enjoying the freedom of the open road can be a challenge. But Nikki Ostrower, a New York City nutritionist, offers tips for those who want to explore, but don’t want the unhealthy eating often associated with travel.
● Plan Ahead: Ostrower advises planning ahead. After flying into your destination, stop by a grocery store near your hotel to buy fresh foods. Then pack up easy-to-eat finger foods like sliced apples with peanut butter or grass-fed beef jerky before hitting the road for a day of sightseeing. She suggests packing wrapped sandwiches on sprouted grain bread for a more filling option. “On the road, there aren’t always the best food options and sometimes there isn’t a rest stop nearby,” she says. “The last thing that you want is to put yourself into low blood sugar, which can cause brain fog and irritability.”
● Resist on-the-Road Temptations: If you neglect to bring along healthy goodies, not all hope is lost at a rest stop. Avoid candy bars and convenience store muffins, which Ostrower warns are nutritionally equivalent to a piece of cake. She suggests seeking out salads, fruit and nut bars, oatmeal and even hard-boiled eggs.
● Remember Proper Portion Size: Drivers and passengers alike can fall into the trap of mindless eating in a car, but Ostrower advises fighting this urge as much as possible. Instead, stick to eating three square meals a day, whether inside your car or sitting down at a restaurant, she says. Specifically, make sure that half of your plate is composed of veggies. The protein portion of your plate should be no larger than the size of your palm and the grains portion no bigger than your fist. If stopping at a drive-through, skip the bread and order vegetables and protein options such as chicken tenders instead of cheeseburgers. Some food joints may offer a lettuce-wrapped burger choice, too. “Salads and baked potatoes are also great options,” Ostrower adds.
● Stay Hydrated: Focusing on healthy eating will only go so far if you don’t stay hydrated. Buy special reusable vacation water bottles for each member of your family to hold onto and refill throughout the trip. Another option, Ostrower says, is to stock your trunk with a six-pack of bottled water, which is cheaper than buying individual bottles on the road. She added that you can get creative by making in advance a smoothie or mixing water with lemon slices and maple syrup to create lemonade.