Summer Road Trip Survival | July 19, 2012
Summer vacations are here and so are the long and sometimes dreaded road trips. Regardless if your children are toddlers or teens, keeping road trips healthy is always a challenge. Typical road trip food consists of convenience store calorie laden cuisine such as chips, sodas and candy. Simply, a 16 ounce soda, bag of chips and a candy bar can add up to over 1,100 calories. That is more than ½ of a person’s daily calorie needs provided just from a few snacks. Couple that with long hours of sitting in a car and this this can wreak havoc on your daily physical activity and nutritional needs.
The key to healthy road trips is planning. Here is a road trip survival list:
- One small cooler for drinks and food – load it with frozen sugar free ice teas, flavored waters, juices and bottled water.
- Foods to put in the cooler:
- Fruits and veggies that are easy to eat – snack bags of baby carrots, pea pods, celery, bit size tomatoes (yellow are the best), sliced apples, grapes, cherries, berries, bananas and dried fruit
- Low-fat beef jerky
- Low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks
- Foods that don’t need a cooler:
- Rice cakes
- Granola bars
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Wet naps/towelettes for spills
- Tennis shoes/Hiking boots – all children should have tennis shoes or hiking boots o the ready in the car for quick scenic hikes that break up the long days of driving
- Electronic Paraphernalia – everything from iPods, iPads, DVD’s to video games. They will thank you in years to come for sparing them from listening to their parents sing 70’s and 80’s tunes.
- Coloring and drawing books. Yes, even teenagers will resort to drawing. Remember to pick up the color crayons from the car floor if going to a hot environment.
- Pillows, lots of pillows
- Last but not least, parental patience.
If you must stop at a fast food establishment, here are some great under 200 calorie sweet treat options:
- McDonald’s: Fruit and yogurt parfaits or a reduced fat vanilla ice cream cone
- Dairy Queen: Soft serve ice cream, fudge bars, vanilla orange bars or StarKiss bars
- Wendy’s: Junior frosty
Some of my favorite family memories occurred while on road trips, so take advantage of being trapped with your children for long hours at a time. This is a great family sharing time and time for a lot of laughs.
Note: this article was written while on a road trip with five hungry teenagers and one health savvy mom!