It’s summertime and you might find yourself in the car headed somewhere fun with your family. Road trips can be fun- the opportunity for conversations, time together, shared adventure, seeing new places and taking the dog too! Downsides of road trips can include sitting for long hours and really bad food options along the way.
It can be tricky when you want to focus on being true to your healthy, happy self, but you also want your family to enjoy the trip without feeling as though they are being “held back” by your healthy lifestyle choices. After years of trial and error, however, I have finally found some solutions that everyone can enjoy. The following are a few suggestions for taking healthy, happy road trips.
Prepare before the trip:
Get everyone on board! We all have a healthy fave or 2. Make it, pack it, take it. I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t excited by having a stash of something good to munch. If you’ve included the other car riders in the yummy snack decision-making process, they will not feel as though the healthy choices they have available to them are “boring”.
Another way to prepare before the trip is to map it out ahead of time. What big cities or towns will you be driving through? Where would you ideally like to stop for bathroom breaks, meals, or simply stretching your legs? If you know ahead of time the kinds of places you will be stopping, you can then plan great stops around these resources.
Living in the modern world, of course there’s an app for that! One quick download and you have thousands of options right at your fingertips. In particular, the app Roadtrippers is one of my favorites as you can write in where you’re departing from, where you’re driving to, and what you would be looking for (Attractions, Natural Wonders, and even “Weird Stuff”!). It will then give you more options to choose from such as Food and Drink, and you can choose “Vegetarian & Health Food up to ___ miles away from route” to make sure you aren’t taken too far off track and are still able to eat at delightful, local, healthy new places.
Find “healthy” fast food restaurants:
In this day and age, “healthy fast food” almost sounds like an oxymoron. However, the concept is not as uncommon as you might think. There are multiple places that are believed to sell only calorie-dense fast food, but with a little bit of digging you may be surprised by how much more these places have to offer.
Subway, for example, may be known for its “five-dollar foot longs” but did you know that they are also a create-your-own-salad eatery? If I stop at Subway, I will usually ask for a spinach-based chopped salad that incorporates all of the vegetables they have available, turkey breast, with olive oil and vinegar as dressing to create a surprisingly delectable salad.
Chipotle is the same way. There are not only burritos and tacos offered at the popular Mexican Grill, you can also put together a meal that is great both for the taste buds and for the body. Ask for a romaine-based salad with no rice, only a small amount of beans, fajita veggies, meat, salsa, and guacamole and you have a nutritionally-dense meal that will help to keep your energies high and body smiling. Bonus? The kids love it. The only caveat with Chipotle is that it is not as easy to find while on the road, but while preparing for the trip you can see if there are any locations not too far away from your route.
Get out of the car:
One of the best things you can do while on a long day of driving is to get out of the car for a little bit. Stretch out your arms and legs, do a little jig, maybe even do a quick yoga workout to get your body moving, and most importantly smile and enjoy the world around you. Unless your trip is really time-sensitive, don’t ever hesitate to take a quick detour so that you and your family can stop and enjoy scenic overlooks, visit cool small towns, or anything else that would make everyone feel grateful for the beautiful lives we’ve been given.