• By Jessica DeGore
  • In Uncategorized
  • July 8, 2020

3 Tips for Healthy Road Trips

By: Felicia Porrazza, MDA, RDN, LDN

Owner & Registered Dietitian at PorrazzaNutrition

Summer is in full swing and that means road trips and vacations! Even just a long drive to the beach, mountains, or to visit family can mean some snack or meal planning for the car ride. Check out the tips below for ways to keep your health in mind while out and about for a road trip!

1- Eat Before You Go
Before you head out for the day, make sure to fuel up with a well-balanced meal or snack. This will not only keep your health on track; but also, cut down on travel costs! Try to aim for at least a lean protein and high fiber carbohydrate. Some examples could be 1 cup of oatmeal topped with ¼ cup of chopped nuts, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 1 cup of mixed berries or 1 medium banana topped with 2 tablespoons of almond butter. This balance will keep your blood sugars stabilized, keep you fuller for longer, and help you to stave off the snacking. If you do plan to stop at a local diner for a meal, keep the same balance in mind and try to avoid loading up on just one food group (i.e. just waffles).

2- Pack Smart
If you are going on a shorter drive (2-3 hours), you may want to pack a few snacks over a full meal. Leave the chips, cookies and candy at home or you will be tempted to munch on those. Fill your food environment (i.e. car) with healthy options for snacks like: homemade trail-mix made with unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, fresh fruits plus some peanut butter for protein, unsweetened applesauce cups, lightly salted popcorn, and nutritional bars. When looking at a bar, try to aim for at least 3g of fiber, less than 10g of added sugar (the lower the better), and some protein (at least 3g). Think about a variety of flavors/textures since you might want to change it up based on preference.

If you are going on a longer drive (>3 hours), you might want to think about bringing a cooler with snacks and a more filling meal. Some meal options could be: overnight oats with nuts, fruit, seeds or a sandwich on whole grain bread with a vegetable/fruit on the side. Salads could be great; but, not as feasible to eat in the car if you are driving. Instead, you could try doing a whole grain (gluten-free if needed) wrap stuffed with hummus, beans, and chopped veggies.

3- Have a Destination Plan
After a long day of traveling, you might be tempted to just eat something out versus making a meal. If planning to eat out, try to have a small snack prior to curb your appetite and help you choose a smarter dish. Try to pick the restaurant ahead so you can plan your meal around the healthiest options. Drink water before your meal, since you might not have had enough on the road and have a side salad before your entree to load up on fiber and fluid.

If planning to dine in, bring leftovers from home so all you have to do is reheat and serve. This could be from dinner the night before or something you meal prepped in advance. Bring simple meal alternatives like bean pasta, low sodium sauce, and steamable veggies for a quick throw together option. If someone else is doing the cooking (i.e. visiting family), find out what is being served. Can you influence the menu or make any requests (even if just to add a vegetable)?

My name is Felicia Porrazza and I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Masters in Dietetics Administration. I started PorrazzaNutrition to share my knowledge and passion for healthy eating with others. I am a traveling dietitian conducting in-and-out-of-home counseling and cooking sessions and work-site wellness programming. Outside of my business, I teach nutrition at Bucks County Community College. My goal with PorrazzaNutrition is to help you bridge the gap between knowing what to do about healthy eating (and exercise) and taking the steps towards doing something about it! I believe healthy eating is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.