For many, the open road symbolizes freedom and adventure. Despite the excitement of road tripping with friends and family to a new destination, or a favorite getaway, it’s challenging to maintain healthy habits when you’re on the road. Traveling by car allows you to control the pace, but not always your surroundings. In most cases, gas stations and rest stops offer few healthy options and most restaurant menus will tempt you into a poor meal choice. In addition, the cramped space, sun, and lack of movement can have you feeling sluggish and tired.
Nevertheless, with proper planning, it is possible to maintain your healthy lifestyle while traveling. Here are 14 tips to incorporate nutritious foods and healthy activities during your adventure.
Take before and after measurements
Stay on track by taking your body composition measurements before and after your trip with our EatSmart GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale. It measures muscle, body water and body fat percentages. If you’ve gained weight during the trip, compare your before-and-after body water percentages to better understand the source of the weight gain.
Maintain your normal eating schedule
It’s tempting to sleep in and skip breakfast. Unfortunately, skipping meals can also lead to overeating at your next meal. Try to stick to your normal eating routine as much as possible. If you do miss a regular meal, eat a healthy snack to help curb your hunger.
Pack your own snacks
Stock your car with healthy options. Once you reach your destination, replenish your stash at the local grocery and farmers markets. Check out our blog 39 Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas for suggestions.
PRO TIP: It’s easy to overeat by eating snacks directly out of the bag, especially while driving. Save money and steer clear of unwanted calories by measuring snacks into single serving bags at home. Nuts, trail mix, pretzels and granola are great snacks for the road. Of course, it’s always cheaper to buy the large bag versus individual pack sizes. On the day before you head out, use your EatSmart Precision Pro Kitchen Scale to measure snacks into individual baggies.
Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can mask itself as hunger pangs. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day. Avoiding sugary beverages will save you extra calories to use while dining out.
Wear compression gear
Compression socks and tights can keep swelling down and help legs and ankles feel fresh when you reach your destination. They can also help prevent more serious conditions, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which can result when you blood pools in the legs from sitting still for too long.
Make time to sleep
While you’re on vacation, it’s natural to want to explore and have as much fun as possible, which can include staying up later than usual. Be sure to get an adequate night’s sleep and make pit stops to prevent drowsy driving.
Mind your posture in the car
Practicing good posture during a long car ride can help you feel comfortable. Before you depart, adjust the seats, arrange ergonomic seat supports and cushions, and make sure you have enough leg room. While you’re on the road, roll your shoulders and stretch your back and neck to ease any stiffness.
Stop for stretching and walking breaks
Depending on the length of your trip, you may need some to stretch and walk around. For longer trips, daily exercise can make sitting in the car easier. If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, you can create your own. Go for a run or walk on a recommended trail or bring resistance bands along to use in the hotel room. Dedicate one of your TravelWise Packing Cubes to fitness gear, including your sneakers. Keep it easily accessible so you can take advantage and exercise when the opportunity presents itself.
Wear SPF and sunglasses
The sun beating in through the side windows and sun roof puts you at risk for too much sun exposure. Protect your skin and your eyes by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses while traveling during daylight hours.
Stimulate your brain
Music is a fun part of the road trip experience. When you need to switch things up, choose audio books and podcasts to stay entertained and engage your brain. The stimulation can help you focus while driving.
Choose healthy options at meals
Choose a restaurant that offers healthier choices. If your dining choices are limited, make the healthiest choice among the available entrees. Many restaurants will allow you to sub in a salad for fries or swap our toast for a piece of fruit.
Treat yourself once a day
Choose one meal or snack to splurge on. Are you craving a big breakfast or an ice cream treat? Go for it and then make healthy choices for the rest of your meals and snacks.
Mind your portion sizes
Some restaurant offer enormous portion sizes, so splitting your meal with your family member can be a great option. If you’re eating in the hotel, our EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale is another way to monitor snacks and portions while away from home. It’s slim and light enough to pack and take along on your travels.
Enjoy the journey
Unless you are on a deadline, take the scenic route or explore an interesting detour. Head to the beach or climb the trail to a waterfall. You’ll be more relaxed, and you just may see something fascinating that you’ll never forget.
Your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be comprised away from home. During your adventure, you can still eat healthy, get adequate rest, and exercise. Try to stick to the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating - choose the healthier options 80% of the day, and treat yourself to the remaining 20%.