But you know, sometimes it doesn’t.‘Tis the season for road trips. I enjoy traveling to new and interesting places or well-loved homes away from home. But I really hate flying these days; it’s unpleasant in a multitude of ways. And, I’m not great sitting in cars for long stretches, but I’m working on that.
Being there is much better than getting there.But, for me, being there makes my body anxious and cranky. Unfamiliar water makes my skin break out. It’s almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep. And, after a few days, my body starts to rebel if I’m not eating right.
A lot of times traveling means eating on the fly—sometimes literally. But one should keep some semblance of healthfulness. Being logy and having an upset tummy will take the fun right out of a vacation.My goal is to have a balance of carbs for energy, protein to keep me feeling full longer, and healthy fats, with fruits, veggies, and whole grains to keep my engine from seizing up. I want as flavorful and nutritious bang for my caloric buck as possible.
Of course, the best way to do this is to prepare your own food. I’m a huge fan of dried fruit/toasted nut mixes—just watch the portion sizes; it’s very easy to inhale a whole fruit bowl that when dried appears to be only a handful or two. 140 healthy calories can turn into a ruinous 2000 if you’re not mindful.Those pre-packed snack boxes have the right idea, but usually are full of sugars, sodium, unnecessary fats, and chemicals. When it’s packed at home, it can be tailored to your own tastes. Mix something like semi-hard cheese, whole grain crackers, a hard-cooked egg, some grape tomatoes, and dried blueberries.
Sadly, packing your own is not always an option. Sometimes the only way you’re going to eat is to get some version of fast food. Luckily, these days it’s not impossible to find healthier choices.At Mickey D’s, breakfast is now served all day. The oatmeal is around 300 calories if you get it made without dairy; which is often just a container of their coffee creamer dumped in. There are whole grains, fresh apples, and dried fruit. The yogurt parfait is also a not horrible bite. It’s only 210 calories and has fresh berries and low-fat granola.
If you order one of their salads, get one without fried meat. The Southwest grilled chicken salad is 350 calories and has fresh fruit and veg. The grilled chicken ranch is 320 calories.Sheetz, with their War and Peace-sized, fully customizable menu can also be an option. Their breads include whole-grain options, the meat can be grilled, and they have crispy greens to dress them. I made a tasty loaded rice and bean bowl with vegetables and guacamole for only 300 calories. You can build a salad for yourself—just ask for the dressing on the side.Panera’s showing up along many highways, and they have a commitment to providing clean healthy food. Their green passion smoothie is 200 calories and full of fresh fruit and greens. They’ve introduced a new spinach salad full of good stuff that is very similar to their old spinach salad which I loved and have sorely missed.
But hey, you’re on vacation, so don’t deprive yourself totally. Splurge occasionally. Stop at that ice cream stand and have a cone. And maybe at Sheetz, buy an order of their decadent, delicious tater tots, but share them with your companions.*The title is a song from that classic road trip film, The Muppet Movie.
Thanks for your time.