I’ve been on two long haul, cross-country road trips.
On the first one, I ate exactly 1 trillion Krispy Kremes, (maybe an exaggeration, but also maybe not) and a whole lot of fast food cheeseburgers. And a part of me felt like, “Hell yes. This is exactly what I should be doing while I make this pilgrimage!” But then of course… there were side effects to eating like I was Scooby and Shaggy’s third wheel. When I got to where I was going, I was bloated, uncomfortable and pretty out of whack.
The second time though, I vowed to be better. I packed a cooler full of pre-made meals and healthy snacks and kept it in the backseat. I would pull over wherever I found a nice, grassy park and eat a proper meal before getting back on the road. And man, did it feel good to get where I was going without persistent heartburn and 10 extra pounds.
So here are some tips for healthy road trip eating so your end of summer vacation doesn’t throw you off your game.
A Hearty Pre-Made Meal in Bulk
Having one thing that doesn’t feel like your ‘picking’ rather than really eating will help to keep you from pulling over and getting a supersized meal. I made a big ole’ tupperware full of chicken salad with grapes and walnuts. It was delicious, so it always kept me wanting more, could be eaten plain, in a wrap, or on a salad (eh-hem, can you say diverse!?) it was filling and nutritious. If chicken ain’t your thing, try a veggie-heavy pasta primavera. It’s better cold!
Hard Boiled Eggs
Boil up a dozen, peel them, and put them in a ziplock bag. They are the perfect pick me up when it hits hour four and your tummy starts growling.
Avocado and Srirarcha
Whether I’m driving cross country or just late for work… this is my favorite snack on the go. Drizzle an avocado with some sriracha and eat it with a spoon. No dishes, and it’s kind of like eating a taco without the mess!
Have you ever seen those portable blenders? Good god, they are a game changer when you’re on the move. Keep some fresh produce and alternative milk (it lasts far longer than cow’s milk!) in the cooler and you’ll be able to make smoothies whenever, wherever. Yes, even in your car! Your only clean up is rinsing the blender at the next rest stop.
Of course, Krispy Kremes are sweet, sweet heaven. And sure, if you happen across a shop, you might treat yourself to one or two. But don’t make the same mistake I did! When you get a little sugar craving, try some dehydrated pineapple or dark chocolate covered acai berries. Your gut will thank you later.
Skip the tummy aches that come with too much coffee. When the open road feels like it’s lulling you to sleep, get your caffeine helper in the form of sparkling water with real fruit juice! Try a variety pack. It’ll feel like a safe and happy game of roulette whenever you pull from the cooler!
Safe travels and happy, healthy eating, friends.