Time to hit the road! I love a summer road trip, but with it comes lots of extra work. So much to plan and do: where to go, what to pack, what to do. Plus, I have to consider who will watch my dogs and water my garden. Can I meet all of my deadlines if I take time off? With all of this on my mind, it’s easy to forget – or rationalize away – healthy eating goals. Don’t. Instead, add wholesome eating to your road trip plan. You’ll be so glad to return home with memories and souvenirs and without the regret of an unhealthful diet or extra pounds.
Try this 3-prong approach.
Souvenir shops, gas stations and rest stops could taunt you with unhealthful fare if you don’t come prepared. Start with a cooler and ice or freezer packs. Be sure to pack something that makes each vacationer happy.
Being bored is not a good reason to snack. Be prepared with suitable activities such as road games, audio books and music.
Use your smartphone to pick restaurants and menu options. Many restaurants now include nutrition information on their websites. Use your browser to search for the name of the restaurant and the word nutrition such as Panera Bread nutrition or McDonald’s nutrition. If you know where you’ll likely stop, it’s smart to make your game plan before you even pull out of your driveway. Instead of being overwhelmed or tempted by a long menu, choose three to five wholesome options from each restaurant you might visit, and write down your choices When you get there, skip the full menu and select your meal from the personalized menu you created at home.
Consider combining packed and purchased food. Top a fast food salad with your packed tuna or hard-boiled eggs, for example. Or skip the chips that come with a sandwich, and round out your meal with fruit or veggies from your cooler.
Vacations mean fun, so don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. But don’t take the “anything and everything attitude” either. You can treat yourself without going overboard. Balance your treat – a glass of wine or a slice of pie – by cutting back on something else.
Don’t forget to be active, build in some down time and reap other health rewards of summer vacations. Take a look at what my colleague Amber Pankonin has to say about Tips to Stay Healthy During Summer Vacation. Enjoy!
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and two upcoming books, The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association. Jill is a paid contributor to Sucralose.org. Follow Jill on Twitter @NutritionJill and find more at www.JillWeisenberger.com