When you're on the road and hunger strikes, it's easy to succumb to the ease of fast food joints and gas station snacks. If you lead a lifestyle that requires you to be away from home much of the time — or if you're planning a cross-country road trip — it can be especially difficult to keep up with a clean-eating routine. However, healthier food options have a positive impact on your body, making you feel more energized and ready to take on the road ahead. Follow our tips for a healthy eating plan while on the road:
Cut out some time before your trip to prepare snacks and meals. Foods like almonds, homemade trail mix, hummus and vegetables, string cheese, sliced apples and almond butter, and a fruit medley are all healthy foods that satisfy hunger. Try to stay away from foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar. Be sure to pack foods that are easy to eat — chopping your fruits and veggies beforehand allows for quick and easy snacking. Snacking more frequently will prevent you from overeating later. Pack an insulated lunch bag or cooler with turkey rollups (lettuce, turkey, cheese, tomato, mayo and/or mustard) to eat when you have time to make a quick stop. This will prevent you from the temptation of fast food!
When packing food for your trip, or when choosing to stop at a restaurant, focus on foods that are high in healthy proteins. These protein-rich foods will keep you feeling full, preventing the need to stop for food. Be sure to choose foods like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, almonds, eggs, or lean meats like turkey and chicken.
Oftentimes, mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger, causing you to feel exhausted and eat more. Be sure to pack plenty of water for your trip. Staying hydrated is essential to your health and will help you feel fuller longer. When your body remains hydrated, it transfers nutrients to your body, aids digestion, helps with weight loss, and increases energy. Unfortunately, more liquid consumption means frequent bathroom stops, but look at the bright side: you'll get to stretch your legs!
If you know your route ahead of time, look up restaurants to stop at along the way. Check out menus beforehand to make sure they offer healthy options. If you're unable to plan your stops ahead of time, quick-service restaurants, like Starbuck's, are beginning to add healthier options to their menus. Memorize the healthy items on these menus and order them if you're forced to stop somewhere.
If you have no choice but to stop at a restaurant or gas station, be smart about what you purchase. Many chain restaurants now offer nutritional facts on their menus, allowing you to make informed decisions. Pay attention to those facts! You can always ask to for substitutes, like replacing the bun of a burger with lettuce or swapping your fries out for a side salad. If you get stuck, remember that salads and vegetables are always a good, healthy option!