It’s August, and you may be trying to squeeze in a few more adventures before the bells toll for the start of school, and a more structured routine arises for you and your family. Or you may just be trying to escape to cleaner air and more cooling waters! Either way, this time of year is ripe for travel.
While on a road trip, it can be challenging to maintain your fitness, and make healthy food choices. Oftentimes, the highways offer fast food chains and gas stations as your standbys for food and drink. Unless you’ve got some time to meander off the well trodden path a bit, it’s important to have strategies to glean the healthiest choices.
Strategies for healthy road food
- Planning ahead and packing your own food is the most ideal way to go. Not only do you save money, but, most importantly, you know what’s in your food. Great snacks that are easy to pack include:
- jerky, meat bars (like Epic brand: check out their bacon one, it’s a crowd pleaser), chia pudding, no bake cookies, cheese & meat roll-ups with high quality deli cuts, seaweed chips (Costco carries these), and of course the old stand-bys of pre-cut fruits and veggies with dips like hummus or salsa.
- Check out the Minimalist Baker site for easy to make snacks, meals and treats with minimal ingredients and fuss.
- If you want to buy healthy-fancy-times goods at great prices, check out Thrive Market, an online buying club that has the things you’d get at Whole Foods for half the price. While usually not as discounted, Vitacost is another online resource for packaged snacks and drinks.
- Utilize “ready made” stuff at grocery stores on the road rather than fast food. Popular items include hard boiled eggs, meat/cheese/fruit trays, sushi, salads, or cut up fruits and veggies.
- At chain restaurants (not fast food), ordering several side items to make a meal can be a great option. For example, you could get a plain baked potato (with butter or olive oil), side of vegetables, add grilled chicken. I really like ordering sides at breakfast establishments, as they usually have a lot to choose from and I end up getting something delicious and unique.
- Gas stations and convenience markets are not ideal, but you can glean some viable food sources. The general rule of thumb for convenience stores is find the closest thing to real food, with either one or a minimal ingredient list. This usually ends up being apples, bananas, nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit, cheese, yogurt, flavored seltzer water, and the like.
- Use apps like Yelp or Find Me Gluten Free to locate food that might be just off the beaten path, but it more nutrient dense and exciting than your highway exit options.
What about the other aspects of your health? Fear not, I’ve got more tips and strategies for keeping your movement practice alive, your mind present, and your body guarded from environmental threats.
Fitness on the road
You are probably on the road already to some great adventure, whether it be a water park, lake, mountain, or to see loved ones (and play with them!). If you need some more inspiration, consider these:
- The 7 app for 7 minute workouts you can do practically anywhere. There are other such apps with similar concepts. Why not take 7 minutes at the rest area? Or anytime, because, really, who doesn’t have 7 minutes?
- Let kids be your inspiration. Playgrounds are for everyone! Check out this simple workout you can do while your kids go wild.
- There’s nothing like friendly competition to get everyone active. Consider family races (by foot, on pool noodles, with river tubes, the list is endless!)
- Playing! Games like Smashball, volleyball, and toss (footballs, baseballs, etc) are easy to travel with. Bonus: they’re extra fun when played in or around water. What is it about diving into water during a game that makes everyone more exciting?
Other helpful tips
- Air quality is more and more important to consider, especially with wild fires in the summer. Check in with this air quality map to see what’s happening in your prospective areas.
- What you put on your skin goes into your body! Sounds obvious, but seems to be forgotten when using sunscreens. Check out this guide to the best non-toxic sunscreens out there for your family.
- You knew I had to mention meditation. Use Insight Timer, the free meditation app to get in your 5, 10 or 50 minutes of peace while on the road. Headphones in, distractions away – you know you deserve this.
Amanda Johnson (AJ) practices at Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She loves to show patients how Chinese medicine is fantastic at relieving body pain, aiding recovery and enhancing vitality. When not in the clinic, she will be out hiking, cycling, or playing in the water.