A familiar summer sight on American highways is a family on a road trip headed for fun and adventure many miles away. These voyages require stops for eating, drinking, and energy release. Fast food joints have established themselves as the go-to solution, with huge signs visible from the distance. Unfortunately, they usually steer you to make unhealthy food choices. Here is some advice to help you make the best of the situation.
1. Prepare in advance by packing healthy snacks:
- Fresh fruits – apples, bananas, berries of all sorts (pre-washed!)
- Fresh vegetables – baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, etc.
- Canned items – corn, carrots & peas, etc.
- Homemade trail mix. see this recipe
- Hard boiled eggs
- Beef jerky
- Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread.
2. Food safety: make sure that chilled foods are stored in a cooler with ice-packs, or that they are consumed before they warm up.
3. Bring plenty of water. You can freeze a bottle or two in advance and then enjoy ice cold water later in the day. Have extra water available for washing hands and utensils.
4. If you’ve run out of food and need to stop to eat, look for supermarkets instead of restaurants. You can buy fresh ingredients to prepare your sandwiches, or simply enjoy fresh fruit. Many supermarkets have a do-it-yourself salad bar and other deli items available. Some even have a seating area. As an added bonus, you will pay less than at a restaurant.
5. If you are traveling on a weekend, try to stop by a farmers market. This website has a comprehensive list of locations across the country.
6. If you do end up at a restaurant, here are a few recommendations:
- Try to appraise the menu for the healthier options before ordering
- Give specific instructions to the chef – use less butter, gravy on the side, etc.
- Have the salad first. Ask for dressing on the side
- Ask the waiter NOT to bring bread to the table
- If the portions at the restaurant are very large, ask your waiter to pack half your dish in a doggy bag even before it is served.
- Drink at least one glass of water before you eat.
7. Find a really good place for ice cream. You can’t bring it from home 🙂