Embracing a Healthy Family: A Healthy Road Trip?

A Healthy Road Trip?

A couple of week's ago, I took the kids and headed out to El Paso, Texas and I can now say that I have completed the longest drive ever.  The girls did surprisingly well considering we had a six month, a three and a seven year old.  One of the hardest parts of the drive other than getting raped at the pump was trying to eat healthy.  I know there are options such as the fast food places new offerings but I often wonder if it's really healthy especially after reading the report about McDonald's oatmeal not being all that it's cracked up to be.  We'll be making that same journey again in about a month so finding an e-mail in my inbox this morning on how to have a healthy road trip was welcomed.

The article from SparkPeople.com's Family Health & wellness suggested:

  • Pack a cooler full of healthy snacks and even complete meals. Chopped veggies, fresh fruits,bottled water and juice, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn, and pretzels make easy travel fare.
  • Don't skip meals, and try not to go more than 4 or 5 hours without eating. Being famished at mealtime may hinder your ability to make healthy choices and can trigger overeating. Plus, constant energy levels will keep you alert at the wheel.
  • Avoid eating full meals in the car. Take time to stop, relax and enjoy your meals as a family. This way, you can pay closer attention to your hunger and satiety signals.
  • Plan exercise and stretching breaks as well. Just three 10-minute pit stops add up to 30 minutes of activity. Go for a quick jog or walk, stretch, and run around with the kids. Back in the car, you'll be more alert and energetic.
  • Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks. While they do give you a short energy burst, the drop when caffeine wears off can make you even more tired. For stable energy levels, drink plenty of water and eat healthy, whole foods that keep blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping.
  • Be wary of fast food and roadside restaurants. If you have no other options, choose the healthiest possible items and keep portion sizes small. One way to avoid excess calories and fat is to hold the mayo, special sauces, cheese, and dressings. Also opt for non-breaded items and kid-sized portions for everyone.
The biggest problem I have with a couple of those is I'm on a mission to get there and loath the idea of elongating my trip with tiny breaks or to go in for a meal.  I guess unless I change my mindset and slow down, I'll still continue to not as healthy as I could but I'll choose the snack wraps, apple slices, water and so forth.  The good news is, my just turned eight year old is now choosing the apple slices and milk with her Happy Meals so that's a start.  The cooler sounds like my best option and I'll continue finding ways to move my legs while on cruise control to get a little leg stimulation and burn an extra cal per trip.

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