As a dietitian, I have several tips for eating healthy on a road trip. From which snacks to pack, where to store your cooler, and how to prevent bloating on long road trips, read on to hear my tips!
I love a good road trip – especially in the summer! This summer in particular has been big for road trips as many of us aren’t travelling by air right now (#covidtimes) so I’m sure I’m not the only one getting used to lots of time in the car.
There’s nothing worse than driving in the car and feeling those hunger pangs come on but having nothing to reach for. Then, you have to wait until your next stop to grab something at the gas station. And let’s be honest, sometimes the options are limited.
To prevent this from happening, I’ve compiled my top tips for eating healthy on a road trip. I share how I plan and pack snacks to feel full and nourished on the road. I’m also sharing some tips on how to prevent uncomfortable bloating that can accompany long road trips in the car. If you know, you know. Keep reading for my tips!
Tips for Eating Healthy on a Road Trip:
Eating healthy and fuelling your body with nourishing food often requires a little planning and preparation. The same goes when you’re taking a road trip.
If you know you’re taking a road trip, spend some time prior to departure gathering and packing snacks or meals. How much you pack should vary depending on how far you’re going/how long your trip is.
When choosing snacks, I always recommend trying to include a source of fat or protein (or both!). Both protein and fat take longer to digest and absorb in the body. Because they sit for longer in our digestive track, they help us feel full for longer!
Some snack/meal ideas that you can prepare the day before you leave:
Cut up veggies and guacamole or hummus
Fresh fruit and yogurt
String cheese and pretzels
Trail mix with dried fruit and mixed nuts
Should you portion out your road trip snacks?
You don’t have to portion them out in individual servings, but for some people eating straight out of the snack bag can result in mindless eating or using the food as a distraction on a long drive. In this case, portioning the snacks out can help steer away from that. Do what’s best for you!
Bring a cooler and store it strategically
For longer road trips, you may want to pack a cooler to keep your fresh foods fresh. The size will depend on how many people you’re traveling with and how much food you want to pack.
When it comes to bringing a cooler, here’s my biggest tip: store your cooler somewhere accessible. This could be in the backseat behind you, on top of all your other bags in the trunk, etc. Store the cooler somewhere that you can grab it and open it as needed and don’t have to wait until stopping to dig around and find the cooler for snacks. This will help satisfy hunger when it strikes and keep you from getting overly over-hungry, tired and irritable.
Stay hydrated with healthy foods AND drinks
Long periods of time spent sitting while driving in the car can affect our digestion because we’re not moving around and our gut isn’t stimulated. This can result in uncomfortable feelings like abdominal bloating and cramping. This is no fun in any case, but on a road trip it’s especially crummy.
One way to keep your digestive system happy is to stay hydrated. Make sure you have water on hand. Pack at least 1 large re-usable bottle filled with water per person (sometimes more, depending on the drive and when you can refill) and sip throughout.
Some people purposely avoid drinking fluids on road trips in order to minimize rest stops. If this is you and you don’t plan on drinking much water during, I’d recommend packing some hydrating foods to give somehydration in the car. Hydrating foods are ones that have a high water content (most fruits and vegetables). Try packing some watermelon, apples, oranges, cucumber, celery or bell peppers to snack on. Then make sure to drink lots of water when you arrive at your destination.
Move around when you can
Now this one isn’t food-related, but another way to keep your digestion happy is by squeezing in some movement when you can. Another way to stimulate the gut to prevent road trip bloat is to move around!
When you stop to pee or fill up the gas tank, take a quick walk or do some stretching while you wait for your friends and family to pile back into the car. Even a little bit of movement can help!
More Healthy Eating Tips:
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Are you taking any road trips soon? I’d love to hear about it – drop a comment below! Let me know if you found these tips for eating healthy on a road trip helpful and what you’d like to hear about next. #RoadTrip!