Traveling to a new place is an excellent way to get you out of your routine and to add some excitement to your life. It has many health benefits
, exposes you to different cultures, and gives you a new adventure! However, traveling can become stressful and frequent roadside food choices can lead to feeling guilty and shameful upon your return instead of feeling rested and fulfilled.
We recently set out on the road to North Carolina from New Jersey. Our trip down was filled with 10 hours of driving, traffic, and an ongoing battle to stay awake. Our ride home was a much more reasonable 7 hours and 15 minutes and included boosted energy levels. Below are six tips to help you on your next trip!
Eat a big meal before you leave.
Going into the trip with a nice, healthy and filling meal curbs a lot of the initial cravings. When you are full you are less likely to give into temptations such as gas station hot dogs or a bag of Skittles. You feel accomplished from eating a healthy meal and are encouraged to continue making healthy decisions. Be sure to make this meal a clean one and don’t go completely overboard so that your energy isn’t all shifted to your belly for food processing, leading to a sleepy ride.
Stock your car with healthy snacks.
Having something healthy to snack on right in your center console or your back seat is not only a great way to keep your health on track, but is much easier on the wallet as well. Rest stops become strictly for bathroom breaks and hot coffee, which also gets you back on the road quicker. We went with almonds, walnuts, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, and an Rx Bar
or two to keep us nourished.
Sitting around in a cramped car can lead to dehydration
pretty quickly. Grab a big pack of water and toss it within arms’ reach. You might be thinking, “isn’t drinking water going to make me have to pee more?” To which I would agree. However, you will be plenty hydrated and a couple of extra stops for a quick pee break will help you move more. This helps you physically and mentally as it gets the blood flowing to your muscles and that big, beautiful brain!
Leave at a time that is best for you.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Can you drive hours in the dark and feel great or does your focus start to shift to the little white lines dashing by as you drift off into a slumber? These are important questions that you need to ask yourself as you decide what time is best for you to hit the open road. We tried both and the decision to leave later in the day left us exhausted and struggling to stay awake, not to mention it took an extra three hours because of traffic! We are morning people and leaving for home at 5 a.m. made the trip much quicker and more enjoyable!
No one on this earth is as good a driver as you are. They are going to cut you off, jam on their breaks, go ten miles an hour under the speed limit. It is going to drive you insane! Unless, of course, you anticipate it and do your best to let it be. Go into your trip knowing full well that people are going to do some bone-headed things on the road. Expect it and do your best to not let it shake you. Create a better environment in your vehicle by putting on an interesting podcast
, have meaningful conversation, or simply take in the new territory that you are venturing into.
There are numerous benefits to meal prepping
for a trip. The first is that you eliminate unhealthy decisions on the road. By having something such as chicken salad or any of your favorite foods that do not have to be heated you guarantee that you are well fed throughout your trip. We simply did our normal meal prep
for the week and made sure to include a few cold dishes for the road.Our Airbnb
had a refrigerator and a microwave so mealtime was a breeze for the 5 days we were gone. In addition to being healthy and super convenient, meal prepping can save you some cash on your trip. You can either pocket this extra cash and count it as a win, or reinvest it into other areas of your trip such as splurging for a fancy meal or two, buying tickets to an event or show, or any other part of your trip that interests you.
Going on vacation or traveling large distances on the road does not always have to be an unhealthy experience. By applying the six tips from above, you will put yourself in a much better situation and increase your likelihood of making healthy decisions. As with all health-related situations, don’t expect exact perfection and forgive yourself if you have a lapse. The most important aspect of travel is getting your much needed health recovery and enjoying a break!
How do you make your road trips healthier? What tricks do you use? Leave a comment below!