Traveling to a vacation destination by car can add an extra element of fun to any family trip. However, traveling by car is not without its challenges, and eating healthy while on the road is one of the biggest you might face, from avoiding the possible health risks of eating fast food to ensuring the nutritional needs of the family are met. However, there are several healthy food options you can pack up and bring along that may help keep the entire family happy and healthy until you arrive at your final destination.
1. Breakfast Foods
Since you will be likely hitting the road early in the morning, packing healthy breakfast foods is important for allowing everyone to fill up and feel satisfied for the first leg of the trip. This can also help you log some miles as early as possible by skipping those long drive-thru lines at the local fast food place while you avoid greasy or fattening breakfast burritos at the same time.
While a thermos of coffee, tea, or juice is a must for you as the driver, packing nutritious breakfast selections for the rest of the family can be just as simple. Pack up some homemade muffins, whole-grain bread slices, hard-boiled eggs, granola and yogurt packed in neat jars and bags full of apple slices. Whole fruits, such as bananas, oranges, and grapes are also highly portable. Remember to pack some wet wipes and napkins in with these foods so sticky mouths and hands are not a problem.
Packing healthy snacks has several benefits as you head into the second leg of your road trip. Firstly, it can help you save money at rest stops, petrol stations and over priced vending machines. Secondly, you will be able to stop, eat, and pack up quickly when you have grab-and-go snacks packed in with your road trip kit.
As most parents know unhealthy snacks such as salty chips or sugary chocolate bars may cause your kids to feel bloated, over excited and exceed the amount of recommended sugar intake, you may want to skip bagged chips and cookies and opt for snacks such as baked pita chips, low-sodium mixed nuts, hulled sunflower seeds, and bags of cherry tomatoes or snap peas. All of these snack options are as convenient as they are nutritious, as none of them require refrigeration.
If you are planning to pack up a cooler to bring along food for lunch, then you have a number of options that are quick and simple to put together. You can prepare some foods the day before you leave, such as cooking pasta for a simple cold salad mix or buying and de-boning a baked rotisserie chicken to make a quick chicken salad when you stop for a picnic lunch.
It can also be fun for your kids to create their own picnic lunch creations by setting out several ingredients and letting them use their imaginations. For example, make a mini-taco bar by setting out bagged shredded cheese, mini shells, homemade salsa, avocado dip, and pre-cooked chicken. Each child can choose what he or she wants and even the fussy eaters in the family can be satisfied.
If you need to push through the last leg of your trip and will not have time to stop at a restaurant for a leisurely sit-down meal, there are a few options you can make ahead of time and then pack in your cooler. Lean sloppy joe meat and whole-wheat rolls make for savory sandwiches, and a baked and cooled meatloaf can be eaten either on bread or with a small crudité and hummus. For dessert, home-baked cookies made with Hampton Creek Just Cookie Dough, which is egg-free and low in sugar, can be a tasty yet healthy treat.
It can be easy to give into the convenience of bottled or canned sodas or juice pouches while on a road trip, but since these can contain a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients, you may want to consider other options instead. Bottles of water infused with fruit can be a satisfying alternative to sugary juices and it can steep right in your cooler as you drive.
Hitting the highway for a road trip with the family can be quite an adventure, but it does not mean you have to stop eating healthy. Packing up these tasty yet healthy options can help to ensure everyone stays fit and full so you can arrive at your vacation destination happy and healthy.