Loving the BITE: Recipe for a Healthy Road Trip
Days: 10. Hours on the road: 45. Miles: 2879. Destinations: 7. Roadside pee stops for our 2 year old: 18 billion (don’t judge me). Nights camping in the sand: 2. States: 6. Speeding tickets: 0 (oh yeah!). Jalama burgers: 2 (Jalama Beach is a great cycling destination – wow!). These were the stats of my family’s latest road trip (they’d be even better stats for a bike trip!). Now that we have to buy 6 plane tickets to travel by air, we’ve made road-tripping our go-to MO. When the kids are older,we’ll go for some back packing, I’m sure. But for now, we strap into our Toyota 4Runner, and hit the road.
We’ve averaged about 1.5 big road trips like this over per year the past 5 years. We absolutely love getting out and exploring so many national parks, beaches, forests, canyons, mountains and more. We saw the Death Valley Super Bloom on this one! I’m finally getting good at the logistics. And by logistics, I mean keeping 2 adults & 4 kids, ages 2-8, mostly happy, and nourished.
Whether you’re driving for a race, or driving somewhere for another adventure or destination, traveling in a car can wreak havoc on your eating plan. This can be disastrous on the way to a race or a big ride, when you want to feel your best and not sabotage all your effort and time of preparation. Or, it may just mean feeling lousy while eating junk and sitting in a car on your vacation. Never sound good.
But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of my ideas for eating good foods, with just a bit of junk mixed in, on a long-distance road trip.
Recipe of the Week: Nourishing Options on a Road Trip
In a Cooler:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Naked Juice Green Smoothies (mix in 1 scoop protein powder and shake well for a high-protein breakfast smoothie)
- String Cheese and/or laughing cow spreadable cheese (the sourdough below + laughing cough + hardboiled egg = great on-the-road breakfast)
- Grapes, oranges, apples or other fruits
- Homemade Energy Bars (these melt)
- High quality deli meats
- Snack-sized hummus (make sure it’s made with olive oil & NOT soybean, safflower or sunflower)
- Commercial bars such as Kind + Protein (high price) or Kashi Protein (more affordable)
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Granola or cereal & cups for kids’ breakfasts
- PB&Company’s Chocolate Peanut Butter (my kids will eat this off the spoon for a protein source- and so will I)
- Homemade sourdough bread for breakfast & sandwiches
- Dried fruit
- Protein Brownies
Traveling can throw a challenging wrench into your best laid nutrition plans. Whether we’re talking about a road-trip to a race or ride, or a road-trip to another adventure, it takes some planning, some discipline, and some experience to stay healthy and feeling good while sitting in a car. Here are my Top 5 Road-Trip Nutrition Tips:
- Don’t let your sitting in a car turn into an all-you-can-eat grazing buffet. For some reason, road trips often turn into snack-a-thons, and normal eating patterns with normal meal and snacks times are throw out the window. Instead, I recommend that you eat as you normally do. Stick to your regular meals and snacks, with breaks of not eating in between them (hormone and blood sugar cycles do well with eating and not eating rather than constant grazing).
- Snacks: Generally, it’s hard to find good-quality snacks on the road unless you stop at a grocery store. If you’re like us, we find most grocers too time-consuming, and if we’re gonna stop, we’d rather stop at a park or beautiful destination than a store. So if possible, pack your own. In the car, a small cooler can allow you to snack on yogurt, cheese, and fruit. Nuts, whole-food bars, and carrot or celery sticks are easily packable as well.
- If you’ve got some room and can pack them, pack some “fresh” foods. Apples, oranges, carrots, and snap peas all pack well. There’s something about fresh foods, rather than 24-hour dried or processed foods, that can make you feel great and fill you up.
- Hydrate well. There’s something about traveling that tends to dehydrate us. It may be the often hectic schedule required to get out the door that makes us busy, and we simply do not drink and fuel properly. It may be changing climates. Whatever the culprit, make it a point to carry fluids with you as much as possible and hydrate well. The bathroom stops are worth feeling good while traveling.
- Consider keeping breakfast, lunches, and snacks healthy, and then enjoying a fun dinner out! I look forward to delicious, rich, fun foods for dinner when we travel, but would feel bloated and sluggish if I ate that way 3 meals per day. We’re Triple-D-restaurant-finders (many times for dinners), and you know they are skimping on the delicious ingredients and calories in those joints!
I know there’s other road-tripping healthy & athletic families out there. What are your tips? Do you pack foods and buy along the way? Getting out and exploring by bike is the best. But sometimes, you’ve got to strap into a vehicle in order to explore or get somewhere great. And, I love it. Long live the long road trip.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.
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