It’s almost Christmas! Eeeeek! Christmas time means travel time for a lot of people, including us. In a few short days we will head to New York to be with family. It’s a twelve hour road trip (and that’s without stops), so we’re pretty much in the car for an entire day. Fast food does not agree with me, especially when I am sedentary in a car for 12 hours. Lack of movement means a slow metabolism, which means food sticks around in your belly for a bit longer than usual. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not feel sick to my stomach and bloated when I’m stuck in a car with a 3 year old. The fact that I am stuck in the car with a 3 year old is about all the torture I can take. Ha!
It’s going to take a little bit of planning and extra effort on my part, but I am committed to staying out of the drive-thru during this trip. I’d rather not spend precious calories on fast food when I am going to be indulging on delicious meals and Christmas cookies for an entire week. Let me share some of my ideas and tips with you so that you can have an easy, non-bloated, healthy road trip.
*Take plenty of snacks with you. * I’ll be bringing along Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins, Quest Bars, Kind Bars, pistachios, almonds, candied pecans, grapes, bananas, organic lollipops, and cheese sticks. Yes, I bring a cooler! Last time we took this trip, we packed it with ice in the morning and it was good to go until we arrived and could move things to a fridge. Keep your cooler in the back seat (not in the trunk) so that it is accessible. On the same note, keep your snacks in a bag that is easy to reach. Don’t give yourself an excuse to stop for food when you have healthy options in the car!
Some other healthy snack ideas:
- carrot sticks
- celery sticks
- single serve dips (hummus, ranch, etc)
- dried fruit
- trail mix
- Lara Bars
*Stop every few hours and get moving. *This one is easy for us because we have a little one, and he needs to take breaks! Even if you don’t have to use the bathroom, it is important to get out and stretch your legs. Stop at a rest stop that has some space and take a few minutes to walk around. Being sedentary for so long can give you cramps and slow your metabolism to a crawl. Getting out of the car for fresh air will also help if you are feeling sleepy.
*Always choose water. * This pretty much goes for every day, but is especially important on long road trips. You’ll want to stay hydrated (it can get pretty dry in that small car). Sugary drinks might give you short term energy bursts, but chances are you will feel a crash or a slump shortly after drinking them. Caffeinated beverages can actually work against you and lead to dehydration. Water is always your best choice. Bring along a reusable water bottle and fill it up at rest stops.
*Pack a lunch. *You might think this is the same as the first tip, to bring along snacks, but it’s not! A lot of people tend to bring snacks and then stop for lunch and/or dinner, but you don’t have to do this. For our last road trip, I packed everybody a sandwich, some fruit, and some crackers. We stopped at a rest stop, rather than a restaurant, and enjoyed our lunch. After we were done, there was a big field to stretch our legs in. We tend to always avoid the fast food bathrooms and look for rest stops instead because we can kill THREE birds with one stone: bathroom, eating, and walking/stretching/kicking a ball around.
*Lollipops. *Sometimes boredom can get the best of us during long trips, and we end up mindlessly eating and racking up the calories. Take along some small lollipops to keep you busy and to keep your hands away from the snacks. I like the small 20 calorie organic lollipops. I have found them at Trader Joe’s, Target, and Wegmans, so with a little bit of searching, I’m sure you could find them too!
*Keep your brain active and your eyes open. *I tend to get really sleepy after driving for awhile. When you are on the same road for 500 miles, you tend to zone out. I like to switch things up between music and audiobooks or podcasts. Audiobooks and podcasts will give you something to focus on and think about. Why not learn a thing or two if you have to be trapped in a car for 12 hours? A lot of podcasts are completely free and can be downloaded really easily if you have an iPhone. Audible.com is a pretty great way to listen to audiobooks.
Take some time this holiday season to plan ahead. Make a plan of action and then follow through. I promise you, you’ll feel SO much better doing it this way. Are you traveling for Christmas or are you staying home? Comment below! I’d love to hear about it!