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Friday, March 25, 2016

Road-Trip Nutrition

Last summer, my family and I took what we termed the “Big Kahuna” of road trips.  In 16 days we hit 23 states, drove over 7,000 miles and spent 138 hours in the car.  That made for some very long days and some hungry bellies in the minivan. 

Approximately 76% of vacationers travel by car and as spring break approaches, we start looking towards planning that next great road-trip.  How will you plan to make it through Nevada or Nebraska without binging on high calorie, high-processed snack foods? 
Here are a few tips to avoid the typical “garbage-gut” feeling that often accompanies a long day in the car. 

1.     Hydrate with water.  Keep water bottles filled and handy for all your passengers.  Between the car snack and the inevitable eating out that is part of the road-trip experience, you don’t need to drink your calories.  

2.     Involve all passengers in planning their own snack mixes. Combining their choice of dry cereal, dried fruit and nuts or seeds makes for a more nutritious and successful snack that won’t leave you feeling garbage-gut-ish.  High fiber cereals provide a great crunch, the dried fruits give a little sweet/tart flavor plus you get added fiber and vitamins with that change-in-texture addition.  Nuts are a great way to get a little salt-fix with some powerhouse nutrition.  The protein, fiber and beneficial fats will help keep your car mates satisfied for the miles to go that lay ahead. 

3.     Even without a cooler, think produce. Bananas, apples, oranges, nectarines, clementines, avocados and cherry tomatoes are just a few produce items that don’t need refrigeration.  And while dried pineapple and homemade fruit leather are a staple for our car-trips, it is refreshing to have a fresh fruit as a snack or some avocado slices on that sandwich at lunch.  Whole fruits will help keep everyone hydrated and help keep tummies happy and regular during a vacation when routines go out the window. 
4.     When possible, avoid eating out.  Grabbing some fruit, toast and yogurt at your hotel for breakfast, picnicking out of your cooler or food-stash for lunch and then eating at a restaurant at night is a good way to not only trim your calorie consumption, but your budget as well. 

Planning your foods as well as you plan your destination will ensure that everyone will feel happy and healthy enough to enjoy the view once you get there.

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