The Fourth of July is fast approaching, and you know what that means; Road Trip! Whether you are simply traveling home to see family, taking a day trip with friends to a concert, or leaving for a long weekend at the beach, it is important to stay healthy on the road. It can be tempting, not to mention easier, to stop at rest stop vending machines and fast food restaurants for your meals. With just a little planning and preparation, however, you can pack food to stay on track and save money!
When choosing food to bring with you, stick to items that are smaller and least likely to create a mess. This does not mean to stock up on chips, candy, or other convenience foods. Take a little time before you leave to go to a grocery store to buy items that are not only good for you, but will also travel well. Some great options are unsalted mixed nuts that can curb your appetite with just a small handful, fruit like apples or oranges, and whole grain crackers. All of these can keep you from stopping at convenience stores where you will likely have limited options.
Speaking of hydration, you should always bring adequate water with you. An easy way to accomplish this is to use reusable water bottles and purchase gallon jugs of water to keep in the car. This is especially important during longer trips. If you don’t like drinking warm water, bring a cooler! When the ice begins melting, simply replace it. Bags of ice are usually only a few dollars, ultimately saving you money.
If you do bring a cooler, this allows you to pack a wider variety of foods. Stop at a grocery store to buy produce including berries, carrots or bell peppers. Washing and cutting the produce before you leave can make it easier to grab and eat. Having a cooler also makes it possible to bring hummus, yogurt, and perishable drinks like smoothies and milk. Be careful of temperature sensitive foods, particularly dairy and meats, as the cooler may not stay below 40 degrees at all times. Keep these foods for shorter periods of time and check to make sure the ice has not melted.
Taking a little time to prepare snacks for road trips can make a big difference in your health and wallet. While these tips are meant for road trips, you can also incorporate these into your regular travels to and from school or work. Just remember that a little preparation can go a long way!
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Dunn, FBM