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Keeping Your Road Trips Fun and Healthy

5 Ideas for Keeping Your Road Trips Fun and Healthy

It’s summer!

Perhaps for you that means lots of cookouts in the backyard with the family, a trip to the shore, or a road trip filled with back roads and interesting sights (World’s Largest Frying Pan? Cadillac Ranch? The Corn Palace?).

If you’re loading your family in the car for the Road Trip of a Lifetime, but are wondering how on earth you’re going to maintain some semblance of a healthy lifestyle, here are five ways to have fun while staying on track.

  1. Plan ahead. This is great advice for healthy living all year ‘round, not just when you’re on the road. If you’re leaving for a road trip next week, make sure you stock up on healthy snacks at the grocery store when you go shopping this weekend. If you wait until you’re hungry on the road, well, your snack selection is going to be pretty slim at Jim Bob’s Food ‘n’ Fuel. You can also plan ahead in order to stay active. Choose a route that can easily include side trips that will get you and the family out of the car (like a walk or hike to a pretty waterfall or picnic spot). Don’t leave healthy eating and being active up to chance!
  2. Indulge, just not all the time. Instead of eating out at every single establishment that promises you a free meal and a tee shirt if you finish your entire 72 oz steak (plus your baked potato!); be selective. This is your trip and you should have fun, but save the treats for places that are really worth it (like that ice cream stand you’ve been going to since you vacationed here as a kid) and choose healthier fare the rest of the time.
  3. Stop at a grocery store for meals. Many grocery stores have prepared foods sections that are full of healthy, quality foods (not just that weird pink fluffy stuff). Perhaps you can get a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, hit the salad bar, or choose a veggie-filled wrap. Bonus: it may cost less than a restaurant meal.
  4. Pack your own meals and snacks. Just about every time we go on a trip, my husband and I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To keep them as healthy as possible, we choose whole grain bread, all natural, sugar free peanut butter, and fruit sweetened jelly. We also keep the sides healthy, choosing items like baby carrots, individual unsweetened applesauce cups, or bananas. You can take this as far as you want: bring a cooler and make a meal of your choice, pack snacks for every stop along the way, etc. This is cheaper than eating out, not to mention healthier and time-saving, to boot.
  5. Work in activities when you can. Depending on the length of your road trip, you may be seriously crammed and sedentary. To counteract this, plan fun stops along the way that involve a little movement. If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got that built right in: stop at one of those rest stops with the big grassy areas and walk around with your pup for 10 or 15 minutes. If you’re traveling dog-free, why not make stops at local parks, state forests, or even national parks and take a short (or long) nature walk?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.