It's hour two and hunger strikes. You don't want to stop because you are making great time, but the cooler is shoved in the back and no one can reach it. You see a drive-thru sign for the next exit. Should you stop?
Having driven across the country a few times, this is a challenge I know all too well. When the hunger pains set in you'll find yourself counting exit signs and minutes. The fun part of the road trip has ended and you have turned into the “are we there yet” kid. However, with a little planning you can avoid the drive-thru and stay healthy and happy on the road.
Proper nutrition is important in keeping the mind fresh and alert. Eating junk food on the road will leave you with fatigue and an unhappy, bloated belly. Not ideal when you are trying not to nap. There are a few ways I have found to beat impulsive urges and stay on track.
1. Before hitting the road, pack the cooler with nutrient rich foods and place it in a reachable spot. Veggies and hummus are perfect for snacks. Keep the hummus stored in a plastic bag so melted ice doesn't seep its way in. Lentil salad is another great option. Packed with protein and nutrients, it will keep you full and keep you going. Plus, it's easy to make. This is always a staple whenever I travel. And if you don't eat it for lunch, it makes for an easy dinner. Grapes are refreshing. They won't spoil fast out of the cooler and you can munch away. While they may not be salty, if you're a snacker, they help fight the urge to munch on chips that are readily available.
2. And what about breakfast? If you are the get-up-and-go type you generally don't have much time to cook. Hard-boil some eggs prior to leaving and store them in a mason jar full of water. You can crack a couple in the morning or eat as a protein filled snack. They will keep for a week if kept cold so go ahead and make the whole dozen. Either way, pack your favorite whole foods and stay away from empty calories.
3. Download some podcasts before taking off. When you get tired of hearing the same album or someone doesn't like your music, it's a great alternative. I usually have a few informative ones that educate and keep my mind alert.
4. Getting the proper amount of exercise in is always a challenge on a road trip. If you're like me, lack of exercise can make you cranky. Set aside a few minutes in the morning to do your favorite yoga routine. Or take some time to meditate. It's amazing what just 10 minutes of re-connecting with yourself will do.
5. Plan to make a destination stop along the route. Or take a look at the map and visit an interesting place you didn't know about. I have found that the unexpected stops are the most rewarding. Taking one to two hours to explore will get your legs stretched and eliminate mental strain. Plus, you'll enjoy the journey. After all, that's what it's all about.