3 Tips for a Healthier Road Trip

Welcome back to PorrazzaNutrition! I am just a few weeks away from launching my first virtual weight management support group! My goal with the virtual support group is to focus on living healthier all year round with accountability and motivation from others (and yours truly, the Dietitian).

I wanted to talk about keeping your health in mind while vacationing. Any readers out there have a road trip planned for the Summer? Even just a long drive to the beach, mountains, or to visit family can mean some snack or meal planning for the car ride. Check out the tips below for ways to keep your health in mind while out and about for a road trip!

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1- Eat Before You Go
Before you head out for the day, make sure to fuel up with a well-balanced meal or snack. This will not only keep your health on track; but also, cut down on travel costs! Try to aim for at least a lean protein and high fiber carbohydrate. Some examples could be 1 cup of oatmeal topped with ¼ cup of chopped nuts, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 1 cup of mixed berries. This balance will keep your blood sugars stabilized, keep you fuller for longer, and help you to stave off the snacking. If you do plan to stop at a local diner for a meal, keep the same balance in mind and try to avoid loading up on just one food group (i.e. just waffles).

2- Pack Smart
If you are going on a shorter drive (2-3 hours), you may want to pack a few snacks over a full meal. Leave the chips, cookies and candy at home or you will be tempted to munch on those. Fill your food environment (i.e. car) with healthy options for snacks like: homemade trail-mix made with unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, fresh fruits plus some peanut butter for protein, unsweetened applesauce cups, lightly salted popcorn, and nutritional bars. When looking at a bar, I try to aim for at least 3g of fiber, less than 10g of added sugar (the lower the better), and some protein (at least 3g). Think about a variety of flavors/textures since you might want to mix up what you are eating.

If you are going on a longer drive (>3 hours), you might want to think about bringing a cooler with snacks and a more filling meal. Some meal options could be: overnight oats with nuts, fruit, seeds or a sandwich on whole grain bread with a vegetable/fruit on the side. Salads could be great; but, not as feasible to eat in the car if you are driving. Instead, you could try doing a whole grain (gluten-free if needed) wrap stuffed with hummus, beans, and chopped veggies.

3- Have a Destination Plan
After a long day of traveling, you might be tempted to just eat something out versus making a meal. If planning to eat out, try to have a small snack prior to curb your appetite and help you choose a smarter dish. Try to pick the restaurant ahead so you can plan your meal around the healthiest options. Drink water before your meal, since you might not have had enough on the road and have a side salad before your entree to load up on fiber and fluid.

If planning to dine in, bring leftovers from home so all you have to do is reheat and serve. This could be from dinner the night before or something you meal prepped in advance. Bring simple meal alternatives like bean pasta, low sodium sauce, and steam-able veggies for a quick throw together option. If someone else is doing the cooking (i.e. visiting family), find out what is being served. Can you influence the menu or make any requests (even if just to add a vegetable)?

Your action goal for this week is to plan a healthy snack or meal to take along with you on your next road trip! Post what you plan to bring in the comments below for some accountability!

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