Ahhhh summer… A time of beach days, picnics, backyard BBQs, and amazing vacations. And while that is all a ton of fun, it also means test after test and detour after detour. Traveling has a tendency of leading to breaking down and consuming awful foods because eating out is easy, faster, and sometimes “more fun.” I am here to tell you that vacation does not HAVE to mean straying from that amazing path of healthy living you’ve been carving for yourself! Saaaayyy whaaattt.
I would say start out with a shit ton of caffeine but I know a lot of people aren’t the caffeine type. I bleed coffee so my trip started with an extra large black hot coffee from Dunkin ❤ (aka heaven in a Styrofoam cup). We left New Jersey when I got out of work at around midnight, more like 12:30am but same difference. He was taking the first driving shift. However, starting a long journey with your co-pilot passed out asleep doesn't sound like a good time so I knew I had to do my best to stay up for a bit with him before I got my nap in and prepared for the switch. Over the next two days I will just say that we did our best to make sure there was a Dunkin or 7-11 at most of the gas and bathroom stops we made. We are both avid coffee drinkers (well mostly me but I corrupted him and lured him in with the draw of Dunkin iced coffee, oops). I know it is definitely mental but whether I am driving 1 hour or 14, having coffee by my side just brightens my mood and day and gets me through my typical road rage. Coffee may not be your thing but if say coconut water, or even POM with coconut water (which I also had with me), is then make sure you have some of that. Or maybe, like my boyfriend, you are one of those NUUN drinkers. Whatever it is, find that one drink that just instantly makes you feel better and you know will get you out of the HOLYSHITI'VEBEENINACARFORMORETHANHALFADAY mode.
2. Water Water Water
Now that you have your own personal “feel good” beverage to get you through mentally, let’s go to your body’s feel good need… Good ol’ H TWO OH. Iced coffee from Dunkin may make you smile but if you aren’t keeping yourself hydrated, especially on a trip to the beach or if you are driving across the middle of nowhere in Arkansas and the traffic is dead stopped and you are forbidden from turning to A/C on in the car and you’re sweating bullets, your body will begin to turn on you. Dehydration is not pretty and being stuck in a car for hours is not when you wanted to experience it. When you need your focus and concentration to be on point, you need to not get sick or develop killer headaches, that is when it is most important to stock the car with water. Trust me, when you make it to your destination and through your entire trip and did not feel an ounce of dehydration you will look beyond the 70 bathroom breaks (unless that is just people like me with the bladder of a 3 year old) and thank me.
3. Snack smart.
This means a variety of things. Snacking smart means making sure you pack yourself REAL foods, having the foods packed be things that will sustain you and not leading you down the dangerous path of munching for the entiiiireeee 14 hours, having things that are easy to eat and you don’t have to try to unwrap intricate packages while driving 70 down the highway, and knowing when to snack and when to stop to get a real full meal. I would recommend making a list of items and being realistic. Avoid overpacking but be sure not to under pack. Being hangry in a car on an overly long drive is THE WORST. Now, my boyfriend has a nut allergy snacking on handfuls of almonds is perfect for some but unfortunately we couldn’t go down that road. Here are some examples of things we packed for our drive:
– Hardboiled eggs
– Sunflower seeds
– Jerky (beef sticks from Steve’s PaleoGoods and all natural turkey and buffalo jerky from Trader Joe’s)
– Larabars (and/or Questbars, or other filling all-natural protein bars)
– Dried fruit
– Sweet potato chips … sometimes you need a little indulgence 😉
4. Don’t fear the meal breaks.
Whether it is being on a time crunch or just being hesitant of the greasy fried foods in the rest stops, sometimes people are weary of stopping for dinner and lunch on long drives. I am telling you not to be afraid to plan for a meal break on the road. However, again, be smart and PLAN PLAN PLAN. As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail right? While doing our logistic planning I came across a godsend of a website. Road Now can be used for all things from rest stops to traffic to food. The beauty of it is that if you find the Interstate you’ll be driving down, the state you will be in while on it, and the direction, it will give you every restaurant and stop along the way. Now this isn’t just the McDonalds at the rest stop near exit 30. It is the diner and the Italian restaurant and this and that and everything within 5 miles off each exit. This means that you can find real good food and meals on your drive while avoiding the fast food. Winner winner chicken dinner … For real. We managed to find good restaurants, and with the beauty of smart phones, were able to get Yelp reviews on each one that peaked our interest so we knew what was worth it and what to skip.
Long road trips across the country do not have to be death sentences for your body or major detours for your weight loss or fitness journey. Of course, if you are looking for an indulgence galore you can certainly make this an excuse to do so. However, I am here to tell you that with a little planning, a little time, and a good dose of being real with yourself, you can ABSOLUTELY do a road trip the healthy way… Tell your digestive system I said you’re welcome.