This past weekend we traveled over 900 miles to visit family. 17 hours in the car with four kids! It was a very long day. We stopped at a lot of rest areas along the way. And, although the “restaurants” might not be the same at each one, the food choices are surprisingly similar. You can usually get a burger or maybe some greasy pizza. And of course there is the little convenience store which sells chips and candy and all of the usual snack foods. Being on the road can make eating healthy food very difficult.
So, how do you handle a trip of that length without succumbing to the junk food options? Plan ahead and pack all of your food. There really is no easy way to travel in a healthy way. You need to be prepared before you leave home. Even the salad options at most of the restaurants are questionable. I spent the couple of weeks before the trip getting snacks ready. Every time we made a batch of crackers or granola bars, we doubled them and stuck half in the freezer. so that when we left for our trip we had a great assortment of snacks for the car. And some extras so that we had healthy snacks for a few days at our destination.
We had a big cooler packed with sandwiches, carrots and fruit for lunch with cookies for dessert. And we had pasta salad and applesauce for dinner. We were able to buy milk for the kids to drink at the rest stops. And coffee so the adults could stay awake during the drive!
We saved money by not purchasing our meals at the rest areas and I felt good about the food I was giving to the kids. It makes for a bit more work when you’re preparing for a trip, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Eating well when you are away from home can often be a challenge. You can’t always bring your own food when you travel (such as when you’re flying), but when you have the option, take advantage of it. Zoos, museums, parks. You can bring your own meals to all of those. Don’t feel that you have to eat the food offered at the concession stands. We may get strange looks sometimes because we seem to travel always with a small cooler, but I don’t mind. As long as I’m feeding my family well, that’s all that matters.