Road Food…Decadently Healthful Style

As you’ve read, we took a family road trip last week. In addition to all of the carseats and clothes and beach toys and books and crayons and Leapsters and the stroller and pack and play, I also crammed a cooler and a bag of food into our overloaded SUV. Of course I did. Why? Because it’s the best way I know to ensure that we are able to eat healthfully while on the road (and because if our 3 year old isn’t “fed and watered” every 2 hours he turns into a little monster – a cute monster, but you get my point!).

Since I often get questions about how to eat healthfully while on the road, I thought I’d share what we took with us this time, plus a few things I wish we’d taken.

For many of us, road trips are viewed as a chance to indulge in a host of “forbidden food” favorites, in fact, there’s an entire website devoted to Roadfood! However, for many people, travel is a rather frequent occurrence, and it’s all too easy during those trips to un-do all the good you’ve done at home! I used to think of travel as a chance to indulge, but I’ve learned how much better I feel if I stick to my basic healthful eating approach even when I’m on the road. Even my husband now agrees (as long as he can squeeze in the periodic fried food fix during the trip!).

Packing for healthy eating on the go involves just a little advance planning but can really be a lifesaver when you’re faced with the airport food court or the aisles of a convenience store along the highway. You can make some good choices in those places, too, but having some tried-and-true options in your back pocket significantly eases the anxiety of mealtime or snacktime.

For our trip, I tried to choose foods that could be eaten in the car or the hotel room without making a total mess. I made choices that gave us a good mix of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy, carbohydrate and protein, fruit and vegetable. I made sure we had FIBER rich foods with us (because, you know, I’m a big proponent of fiber as discussed here). I tried to balance fresh foods with nonperishable foods and to focus on things we couldn’t easily find on the road.

Since we had access to a cooler (and to several refrigerators throughout the trip) I could have a bit more fresh food than some other trips might allow  – that was a nice luxury!

These foods were largely for breakfast and snacks – we had lunch and dinner in restaurants or with friends or family every day – so don’t think for a minute that this was ALL we ate! 

So here’s what we took with us:
A loaf of high-fiber whole wheat bread
High fiber cereals (Fiber One Original and Fiber One Shredded Wheat) 
A container of cut-up carrots, celery, cucumbers and radishes
Apples and Nectarines
A half gallon of organic skim milk
Roasted almonds 
Dried Tart Cherries
Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
Back to Nature Graham Sticks
Kashi TLC Granola Bars
Gnu Bars
Clif Z Bars

What I wish I’d added:
Almond Butter
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
Cottage cheese or Greek Yogurt in single serve containers 

Net, in general, my packing served us really well. But…I was light on protein-rich foods and really wished I’d had them with us at several points during the trip! The “I wish I’d added” list above would have provided the protein I felt like we were missing – live and learn! Next time, they’ll make the cut! 

As for the next time you travel, try packing a few of your favorite healthful foods and see how much better you feel by the end of your trip!

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