Whether you are packing up the family for an excursion, travelling for work or off on an adventure, I got you covered for ways to stay true to your health commitments while cross country truckin’!
This week I have been on the road with my husband. He often travels for work and I love joining him on the longer trips just for something different to do. This trip we have 8 days, 5 different beds and over 25 hours of driving as we loop around the Southern Interior of B.C.
Once, we travelled from Nelson B.C., where we lived at the time all the way to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, a 13 hour drive. I went along just so I could say I crossed the Saskatchewan border! With a good audio book, music and conversation along with the occasional visual description of grain elevators, tumbleweeds bigger than the bovine, windmill farms, wide open skies and long, long stretches of rolling Alberta highway, we reached our destination! The only notable things about Swift Current was that everything outside was bolted down to prevent it from blowing away in the non-stop howling wind and we couldn’t find a single place to eat that wasn’t a franchise. Boston Pizza for dinner and an unidentifiable something or other for breakfast that may have been part of the natural world at some time but was no longer! 16 hours later, we turned around and drove home. I have crossed visiting Saskatchewan off my bucket list!
As someone who doesn’t do well with a lot of gluten, sugar and processed foods, I have adopted a few ways to stay on track. Let’s face it, sitting in a car eating convenient fast food or stopping at the greasy spoon diner, creates a huge challenge to our determination to eat healthy. Not to mention the inevitable disruption to our sleep and activity routines!
1. Plan Ahead
I know this isn’t always the easiest tip to manage in our already too busy schedules, but, trust me, it is key!
If you are travelling by car and have the space for a cooler along with the dog the kids and all the other essentials you are likely lugging along, get a block of ice and get your meal and snack plan ready!
Consider buying or making foods that travel more easily the few days before you go. Then get them into containers that you can place in your cooler. Freeze items like muffins, bars and bites or foods that you may eat a little further down the road. This helps keep them fresher and adds to your cooler temperature.
For the cooler:
- Baked burritos, samosas and spanakopita (if you purchase prepackaged, go quality)
- Homemade naan or pita pizza’s with quality ingredients of your choosing
- Salads such as greek, pasta, potato or bean
- Pre-made canned tuna or salmon mash for celery boats
- Hard boiled eggs
- Muffins, granola bars and energy bites
- Hummus, tzatziki, cashew dip, ranch dip, salsa
- Pre-cut veggies such as celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes
- Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers are better left uncut but don’t forget them, too
- Your favourite quality cheese
- plain Yogurt
- Fresh fruit and berries if you have the luxury of stopping at a fresh fruit stand
- Carton of non-dairy milk
Dry Food Box:
- Dried fruits such as apple rings, banana chips, mango and apricot
- Trail mix with nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, raisins or cranberries and dark chocolate chips
- Dried or smoked meat like beef jerky or smoked salmon
- Quality sausage or pre-cooked chicken slices
- Organic corn chips, bean, rice or veggie crackers
- Roasted edamame or chickpeas
- Container of nut butter like sunflower or almond
- Apples and oranges
In addition to packing your cooler and a box of dry foods, you will also need to bring along a few essentials to eat them. Keep it simple, think of it has camping!
- A small cutting board and knife.
- Left over containers with lids that you can use as bowls, plates or serving containers.
- Forks and spoons.
- Paper towels or wet wipes.
- A little container of dish soap.
- A bag for your garbage and another for your recycling.
- A simple system for your dirty dishes until you can wash them
2. Stay Hydrated:
This is essential! If packing snacks and healthy foods isn’t an option, then at least make sure that you stay hydrated! Bring along a reusable water bottle and drink it! The great thing is, every time you need to stop for a pee break at a gas station, you can fill it back up again! No excuses!
Another idea is to bring along some of your fave herbal tea bags and a travel mug and fill up with hot water at the gas station as well.
Don’t like boring water? Consider a flavoured Vitamin C pack, some fresh lemon or cold herbal tea instead.
Confession? I have intentionally limited drinking water at times during travel, trying to avoid needing to find a bathroom. This is one of the challenges to being on the move as a blind person. Let’s just say, public bathrooms are my nightmare! They are difficult to navigate with half open stall doors that are easier to find with my face then my mobility cane and inevitably I can’t locate the flusher, the soap, the paper towel dispenser or the garbage. Then, after walking around in circles I have to remember where I even came in! Yes, public bathrooms are definitely one of my bigger anxieties. I am always grateful to find a family or disability bathroom where I can just catch my breath and set off all the automatic sensors in private!
Staying hydrated helps with energy, focus, reduces food cravings and limits the occurrence of headaches. Besides, stopping to pee allows you to get out and stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air!
3. Things to Avoid:
I know it is tempting to take the easy way out so even if you can’t completely manage tips 1 and 2, at least try to avoid thees things.
- Too much coffee or caffeinated beverages.
- Energy drinks, soda or other sugar laden drinks
- road snacks at the gas station such as candy, chocolate bars and potato chips
- Fast food
- not stopping to stretch your legs
- Pushing on when you should pull over for a 20 minute catnap
- Speeding and road rage (yes, I am adding this for your health and wellness because I care about you)
- Get to bed at a reasonable hour and try and get a full night sleep.
- Bring your own pillow.
- Make sure the room temperature is comfortable.
- Bring a calming aromatherapy spritzer.
- Bring ear plugs or a eye mask to cut out unfamiliar sounds or light.
- Load a sleep meditation or relaxing music on your phone to help you wind down.
- Take melatonin if indicated.
- Take regular stretch breaks on the road.
- Bring along your running gear and explore your location with a morning run.
- Find a nature trail and get some fresh air and a hike.
- Utilize the pool or fitness centre at your hotel.
- Take the stairs.
- Choose to walk to places in the location you are visiting.
- If all else fails, try 5 yoga sun salutations where ever you are and give yourself credit for doing something!
6. Don’t feel guilty for breaking your plan:
Life is for enjoying! If you are on vacation, part of the reason is you want to enjoy the foods of a new area or relax and not cook and manage daily domestics so for heaven’s sake don’t feel guilty for having foods you usually don’t!That said, remember to keep everything in moderation! Enjoy something indulgent and new but add into your daily meal plan the things that are still a healthier choice such as fruits and veggies, water and less processed foods. Maybe choose the fish and chips one night and the salad with your dinner the next!
Recommit to your healthy habits and goals as soon as you return home and don’t give up even if you gave in, a little, while you were away!
7. Random other things to consider:
If you are needing payed accommodation, consider an air b and b or a motel suite with a mini kitchenette so you can warm up left overs, store your food in a fridge and get your dishes washed
If you are restaurant dining, choose salads over fries and selections that aren’t super calorie dense or split your portions and take left overs for lunch the next day. Consider that your activity level is likely much reduced if you are sitting in a car all day driving!
Remember you can always stop at a grocery store and get some healthier snacks instead of caving into the drive thru.
Be mindful of your garbage and recycling. If there are no bins for recycling where you are, pack it back home with you to sort responsibly.
Happy road trippin’!