The crunch of gravel underneath your hiking sandals is loud in the cool, pre-dawn quiet as you walk to open the door to the back of your SUV to start loading backpacks, hammocks, swim gear, and your cooler. You place your coffee mug carefully in its place of prominence between the seats and ensure your crew is buckled and ready as you start the engine and hit shuffle on that carefully curated road trip mix.
Its mid July and the summertime weekend adventure season is fully in swing!
Whether you’re driving to a national park for some epic hiking, or heading out of state for the family reunion, one thing is for certain - this time of year is the traveling time of year and that means LOTS of time in transit between locations.
And while many companies capitalize on the fast pace of hungry interstate vagabonds by helping you “Have it your way” or get “In N Out” quickly, many of these options are rife with less than awesome ingredients and overall nutrition that simply isn’t good for your fitness goals, and I’m not “lovin’ it” if fast food slows my progress.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to go crazy for some Chic Fil’ A and even a burger on the go once in a while. But when you’re traveling, the propensity to settle for these sources of food as your main meals is strong, and keeping the fast and junk food intake to a minimum, healthy level can be tricky. Especially considering oftentimes these companies come up with tricky “healthy options” that really aren’t great. For example: often times salads or wraps are marketed in fast food restaurants as the healthy choice, but really end up being covered in fatty, sugary dressings or sauces which can negate the proposed benefit of having lettuce involved in the situation.
So, the best way to prevent burying yourself in a super-sized McSmash burger, or a gigantic sneaky salad that looks lean but has more calories than a bowl of ice cream is to prepare. Set yourself up for success and make healthy choices on the road or in the air. After all, wouldn’t it be better to “splurge” on some of your grandmothers famous cake, rather than that frosty cup of frozen chocolate whatever-it’s-made-of? (Dairy? I don’t know!)
Here are some tips and a peek in my snack bag for healthy trip eats to keep you on your goals when you’re on the go!
No idea why this is the first heading…Ok I’ll admit I can get a sweet tooth big time when I’m traveling. Especially DONUTS! (Why do they put that Krispy Kreme sign so close to the road?!) Any way, heres a list of healthy and DELICIOUS options to satiate that sweet tooth:
a tasty bar of >80% dark chocolate
Kodiak Cups (convenience store microwave needed)
Fresh whole fruit: oranges, berries, kiwis, apples, cherries
Snack bars: Oatmega bars, RxBars, ONE bars (my fav is the caramel glazed doughnut flavor)
Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
Homemade trail mix: nuts, dried fruit like cherries or Thrive Life fruit, dark chocolate bits, Thrive Life yogurt bites and granola or Chex Mix. We sprinkle ours with dark cocoa powder too yummm.
Chia seeds... just add a little water and sweetener packet, let sit for a minute and boom! Sweet pudding.
This is another big one. When you’re in a car for several hours, especially in the heat, your body can end up craving salty foods like mad, and that bucket of fries starts to sound like a golden arch above an oasis of deliciousness. Here’s a couple of options you can pack in your bag that will keep you satisfied as well as help you hit those macronutrient goals you’re shooting for:
Baked sweet potato chips
A PB&J on a slightly toasted English Muffin or on rice cakes
Nuts: almonds and walnuts, usually
Snack bars: Epic Bars
Pancakes (again)!!!! No kidding... you can mix water in with your favorite Kodiak Cakes Cup and hijack a convenience store microwave for a couple minutes OR pre-cook some flapjacks and keep them in a little snack bag.
Most of the time when I travel I simply have a designated bag that I toss snacks into (unless I’m traveling with my husband, in which case I need a huge duffel bag!). But if your trip allows, taking a cooler with some ice in it can GREATLY expand the variety of snacks that you can bring along with you! Here are some ideas of what I like to pack when I’m able to keep my snacks cold:
Hummus with veggies sticks (hello sugar snap peas), whole grain pita bread Thrive Life Red Bell Peppers for dipping
Fresh fruitKombuchaLow-fat yogurt
Laughing Cow light cheese mini's
Other fresh veggies: cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, jicama (add some lime juice, chili powder & sea salt), etc.
Hard boiled eggs
Drinks: Zevia, La Croix, or other similar low-calorie brands
Preparing and packing snacks is not only a healthier way to eat while traveling, it also makes for a fun way to eat together. Have your travel companions contribute their favorite snacks to share, and enjoy trying new options!
It’s also oftentimes much smarter in terms of money spent - as fast food bills can rack up pretty quickly if you’re stopping every couple hours to eat, and healthy options will keep you feeling more full for longer, because mostly you’re intaking a higher quality of food.
So dust off that cooler, and get those sandwich bags ready to roll. The summer is waiting, so grab your healthy munchies and go!