When you set out on a road trip, you may have the best of intentions in terms of meals.
You probably packed a few healthy snacks even.
But, like most people, you end up grabbing quick lunches and dinners at fast food joints.
So, how can you plan ahead to have a healthy diet when you’re on a road trip?
We asked the experts.
Fresh Fruit Is The Perfect Car Snack
Bring along fruit that doesn’t need to be packaged in anything and can be left out of the fridge.
Easy choices are bananas, oranges (the small, seedless, easy-peel kind are great for kids), and apples.
These and other fruits are healthy options without the hassle. — Caroline Breen, Unstoppable Moms Fitness
Pack Fruits & Veggies
My #1 tip for staying healthy on road trips is to pack some fruits and veg to snack on in the car.
Pick things that don’t need refrigerated, like cherry tomatoes, so that you don’t have to worry about them going bad on the ride.
This will keep you healthy and full while you’re traveling. — Tauras Sinkus, 21 Day Hero
Pack Some Fermented Probiotic Foods and Drinks
Fermented foods like Kimchi has great for gut health since they are packed with probiotics and usually have a long shelf life.
They can keep for up to 1 week unrefrigerated in your trunk provided it’s not too hot.
Other fermented foods include alcohol, cheeses, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Don’t pack foods that expire easily.
Take care of your gut and your gut will take care of you 🙂 — Alex Harper, Probiotic Review Girl
Avoid or Limit Sugar
Do your best to avoid consuming excess sugar on a road trip.
It’s easy to load up on sugary snacks at the gas station or at the hotel’s morning breakfast buffet, but it’s best to avoid that.
Instead, pack your own healthy snacks or choose food that doesn’t have excess sugar in it. — Spiro Koulouris, Gout and You
Practice Portion Control
When you’re on a road trip, that often means dining out.
And restaurant portions tend to be larger than what you would eat at home.
So, consider splitting a meal with your traveling companions. This helps prevent you from overeating while on your trip. — Kristin Young, Snorkel and Hike
Focus On Non-Refrigerated Snacks
Our go-to snack on road trips is a mixture of dried cranberries, cashews, walnuts and almonds.
It’s delicious, satisfying and healthy.
We also love to pack fruits, typically apples, clementines and bananas.
These snacks are easy to bring along because they don’t need to be refrigerated and can easily be eaten on the go – in the car and even during walks, hikes and other adventures. — Alix Stickland, A Hedgehog In The Kitchen
Drink That Water
Drinking plenty of water is my #1 tip for staying healthy on the road.
Often when we set out on a road trip, we’re focused on making good time to our destination and that means we neglect hydration.
Even if it means more bathroom breaks, you should focus on staying well hydrated. — Gene Daniels, Learning CBD Oils
Bring A Reusable Water Bottle
It’s always important to bring a reusable water bottle no matter if you’re traveling via car or plane.
Bring your empty water bottle through security and fill up at the water fountains on the other side.
If you are in a car, ask fast food or sit down restaurants to refill it before hitting the road again. — Ashley Nader, Be Well By Ashley
Nuts Make A Great Snack
Pack some mixed nuts in the car for your road trip for a healthy snack.
Nuts are a great source of protein, and a much healthier snack than most gas station food. — Alex Williams, Get Vegan
Skip The Restaurants
Use grocery stores to get healthy food for your meals instead of popping into restaurants on the way.
Many grocery stores sell things like pre-made salads and rotisserie chickens, which make great on the go meals when you’re on a road trip. — Pete Danylewycz, USAngler
Pack Kitchen Utensils
Some knives and forks would be very useful when you pack your car.
Just think about it: you can buy some whole-grain bread, avocado, some veggies and you have a nice, healthy lunch by using only a knife, a fork, and potentially a plate if you want to be fancy. — Diana Bazic of Bubble Green
Fill Up A Cooler
Pack a cooler with food that you can eat on the road for a healthy road trip.
Also be sure to pack reusable items like plates and utensils so that you don’t have any waste to deal with.
Just wash the items in a rest area bathroom and you’re all set for the next meal.
Another benefit of the cooler is that you don’t waste time stopping for food when it’s meal time or snack time. — David Douek, Beeco Green
Hummus Makes A Great Road Trip Snack
Pack a cooler bag with a thick hummus and easy to handle pre-cleaned veggies like baby carrots, green beans, and cut bell peppers.
Wraps are hands down the best hand held sandwich for minimizing crumbs.
Stuff wraps with combos such as grilled veggies with fresh mozzarella, egg salad with smoked salmon, or turkey topped with bagged pre-shredded slaw mix, with a dollop of ready made black bean dip. — Tina Marinaccio MS RD CPT
Avoid Fast Food
Skip the fast food when you’re looking for quick meals on the road.
Ideally, you’re packing food to eat on the way, and if you don’t then fast food is a bad idea cause it’s not healthy.
Instead, look for restaurants that serve healthy options.
Even Starbucks locations usually have salads for sale. — Henley Griffin, Oxford Gold Group
Bring A Slow Cooker For The Car
A friend and I spent four and a half months on the road, zigzagging our way from coast to coast, stopping to explore national parks, and volunteering on organic farms.
Eating healthy was important to both of us.
My #1 tip for long trips is to get a slow cooker that plugs into your cigarette lighter.
My friend and I would stop at a grocery store, load up on chicken and veggies, and throw them in the slow cooker with some salt.
A few hours later we’d pull into a visitor’s center, choose a picnic table under the trees, and enjoy a healthy, piping hot meal. — Yvonne McArthur, Guate Adventure
Keep It Moving
Though it is not food, fitness should not be neglected when you’re on a road trip.
Plenty of research shows how important a fitness routine is for your health, and a road trip is no reason to neglect that routine.
So, when you stop to eat, do a few stretches and something to get your heart pumping like jumping jacks. — Jacob Kovacs, Wholistic Research
Roasted Chickpeas Make A Great Snack On Trips
Packed with Vitamin B6, protein and fiber, roasted chickpeas are excellent replacement for meat, and are one of the best snacks to take during your road trip.
Since they are rich in fiber, they’ll help you keep your appetite under control during your trip, while also delivering the essential proteins you need during the trip.– Rohan Arora, Gaining Tactics
Don’t Drink Too Much
Often people view vacations as a time to do whatever they want, including drinking more alcohol than usual.
No matter how tempting this is to you on your road trip, it’s best if you avoid it if you want to be healthy.
There’s no reason to consume more alcohol than usual on your road trip.
And it should go without saying, but be sure to never drink and drive. — Angela Wills, Savvy Homemade
Eat At Grocery Stores
My best tip for healthy eating on the road is to find a grocery store.
Every grocery store has a deli with ready to eat green salads and cooked protein.
This is a quick and easy way to get in a big salad without the mess of making it!
There’s always a lot of different protein options available. All you really need is a cooler for leftovers! — Pam Sherman, The Perfect Balance
Pack This Surprising Super Snack
My #1 tip for road trips, and any travel really, is that hard boiled eggs make a great snack.
They are full of protein and keep you full for a while.
You can often find these in the cold case at grocery stores, as well as most Starbucks locations.
Add a bit of a salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a great road trip snack. — Garth Adams, I Know The Pilot
Graze, Don’t Gorge!
Everyone wants to limit stops on road trips to get to your destination faster so that often means just one meal break over a very long period of time which then leads to gorging.
You’ll be tired and hungry before the meal stop, you’ll get tired from over eating afterwards, and you won’t have consistent energy for the duration of the day.
Instead, prioritize grazing throughout the day.
A great way to do this is prepping a bunch of snacks and having one every hour.
Even if they aren’t the most nutritious snacks it will provide sustained energy over the day, keep you consistently full, and limit the negative effects of one large meal. — Jason Kraemer, Flaskpacker Co
Cook Your Own Food On The Road In An Instant Pot
I think the best way to stay healthy on road trips is to bring your Instant Pot with you on the trip.
This is a great way to make healthy meals for your family, plus it is usually cheaper than dining out at restaurants.
You can cook in your hotel room as well as at rest areas that have electrical outlets. — Lillian Dodd, The Hobby Kraze
Bring A Good Veggie Knife
Pack a good paring knife for your road trip. This allows you to buy food at grocery stores along the way.
For instance, maybe you want to buy some avocados – you need a knife for those.
Just this one little kitchen utensil goes a long way in helping you eat healthy while traveling. — Andy Wang, Knives Sensei
Cook Food In Advance
Cook some non-perishable food in advance that you can take with you on your trip for snacks and meals.
For instance, you can pop some popcorn and put it in baggies.
Or, make some low sugar cookies or granola bars to snack on. — Austin Henderson, All About Pools
Don’t Neglect Your Sleep
Though it’s not really eating, it’s important to get enough sleep when you’re on a road trip.
Sleep plays a big part in our health, so it’s not something you want to neglect just because you’re on vacation. — Kristy Lynn, Luciding