How to Eat Healthfully and Exercise on a Road Trip
For many, vacations bring a welcome departure from everyday routines. While it’s fun to get away, it can also mean new challenges in the form of limited access to healthy foods, as well as limited facilities and time to work out. But, with proper planning, creativity, and a little dedication of time, we can find ways to stay on top of our health goals while traveling.
Traveling for me often involves a road trip. And when I’m road tripping, there are a couple of priorities I initially have in mind:
- Get from point A to point B as quickly as possible while minimizing the number of times I have to stop.
- Have healthy and satisfying food on hand to ensure I don’t need to rely on convenience stores and restaurants for nourishment. This also helps with priority #1.
In the days leading up to a road trip, or really any trip for that matter, I make sure I have the following items to prepare and take with me when I travel:
From these things, I’ll make items such as:
- Salads with roasted chicken, a variety of veggies, and a sprinkling of nuts
- Salad dressing made from mustard, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar
- Chicken salad and/or egg salad
- Roasted, seasoned nuts
- Energy bites and bars (my version of Larabars)
- Cut veggies with guacamole
- Nut butter for dipping fruits and veggies
- Various grain-free, dairy-free baked goods as time permits
So, you’re probably saying this sounds like a lot of stuff and a lot of work. To that, I would say these things:
- You don’t need to do all of this. Just pick up the travel-friendly foods you like, and call it good.
- Sure, stopping to get food while traveling would be easier than preparing things ahead of time, but I wouldn’t feel good about my food decisions if I did that, and I just wouldn’t feel great in general since my food quality would suffer. I suggest bringing your own food on your next trip and see how much better you feel at the end. That alone should be enough to validate this whole process for you.
- This does take some planning and doing, but some shortcuts can be made by doing things like buying pre-cut veggies, pre-made nut butters and guacamole, etc. In the end, even with these shortcuts, you’ll still be better off than if you relied on restaurants and convenience stores for your meals, both from a nutritional standpoint and a budgetary one.
- I would be lying if I said that eating well was easier than not eating well. Unfortunately, it does take some effort and commitment. But, once you have a process and a routine down, it does get a whole lot easier.
Having the aforementioned foods on hand also comes in handy once I’ve arrived at my destination. For example, the nuts, collagen, and sardines still make great, nutrient-dense snacks, and the condiments and salad dressing can be used as-is to jazz things up or to make other dressings and marinades.
With the food situation well under control, my next concern from a health standpoint is finding ways to stay active while traveling. Here are the types of workouts I do when I don’t have access to a full-scale gym. Print one out for yourself here.
These are just some examples, but the point is to illustrate that squeezing in a workout is possible, even with time and equipment constraints.
With my nutritional and physical activity needs addressed, I can be content knowing that I’ll feel great at the end of my vacation because I’ve fed myself well and gotten in some physical activity, and I’ve done it in spite of being out of my routine and usual environment.
What are your best tips for staying on top of your health goals while traveling?