To me, summertime always meant road trips. We’d pack up a van with all my fam, luggage, and a cooler and then trek hundreds of miles to Vacationland. Along the way, we’d stop at random diners, gas stations, and fast food joints. When we weren’t playing Slug Bug or license plate games, we were stuffing ourselves with chips and soda, which usually led to even more stops at rest areas. “Are we there yet?” came out of my mouth just as frequently as junk food went in it. Those were the days…
Now, I have learned to appreciate a road trip. A long car ride isn’t as glamorous as a hopping on a plane, but in these times, it’s usually more economical. To save time, money, and your health, choose wisely what you pack into your mouth during your trip and you’ll be thankful you hit the road instead of the clouds.
To prevent lunch stops and snacking at a gas station, a treasure chest of goodies will keep you well satisfied during your ride. Before you leave, stop at a grocery store or farmers market to fill your cooler up. Pack it with ice, water, and easy-to-eat foods and fruits. Pre-cut watermelon in plastic containers and other summer fruits like blueberries and strawberries could be a refreshing treat during the trip. Ready-made whole wheat sandwiches or wraps, baby carrots and celery, or even cheese cubes could fulfill your hunger as well. Keep the cooler nearby so that the passengers can access it without having to stop and get out of the car.
If you have the munchies for something crunchy, keep healthy snack foods in plastic containers or baggies. Trail mix would make a great snack and give a boost of energy for a long ride. All that crunch will get you thirsty, so make sure to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’re traveling through somewhere hot. Drink water and avoid sodas, not only because it’s healthier and it’s still a soda-free summer, but because a water spill won’t be as bad as a sticky soda mess.
For times when time isn’t an issue, take rest stops frequently and make sure to stretch your body and move. You can plan your trip around a more scenic route and stop for a picnic on the beach or in the forest. Traveling through the country roads will surely pave the way to fruit stands with fresh, delicious delights that you’ll be sure to enjoy for the rest of your trip. And, it doesn’t hurt to stop at an unknown joint to try something new. You’ll most likely see a McDonald’s every hundred miles or so, but expand your palette and ask the folks at the gas station for a good restaurant in town. Make sure to choose something for the menu that will agree with your stomach so that you won’t have to make another restroom break down the road. You just might encounter a new favorite spot that you’ll want to stop at on the way back.
Where ever the road takes you this summer, just remember that the best route to take is the healthy route. Happy trails to you!
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