Staying Healthy on a Road Trip

It is really going to happen—planets have aligned, projects have come together, and everything seems to be in place so that we really are going to be able to go stay at our family’s summer house on a lake in cool(er), glorious New Hampshire for the month of July.

I’m driving, and we’re taking the dogs. My husband had some work come up at the last minute that will take him to the east coast on the very day we’d planned to set out driving from Texas. I was resigned to pushing our start date back 4 or 5 days, but a dear friend volunteered to drive with me and the dogs. So, she and I will drive, and my husband will meet us at the lake.

I had a one-on-one with my nutritionist to talk about road food. We reviewed worst-case scenario selections that aren’t too awful from the regular fast food joints, but I’m going to aim a little higher. Here’s the plan:

  • Breakfasts: we figure that just about anywhere, you can get eggs for breakfast. Most diners will toss some tomato slices on the griddle for you, too, to get a veggie serving in early in the day. Plus, V8 seems to be a diner and convenience store staple.
  • Lunch: tuna fish in foil packets will be our friend. I have ID’d places for lunch with decent salads for two of the four days. I figure we can call ahead and order to-go, then find a place we can stop with the dogs, or take turns eating in the car.
  • Snacks: while we may not find Greek yogurt everywhere, most convenience stores carry at least one or two flavors of fairly inoffensive yogurt. I’ve also stocked up on the energy bars that I like which are almost 1:1 carb:protein balanced. We’ll also be close to grocery stores at the start of two of the three mornings, so should be able to buy some pre-cut veggies.
  • Dinner: We’re stopping in/near some fairly decently sized towns along the way, so we’ll have some options for dinner. I imagine we’ll be doing take-out, since most hotels don’t like for you to leave pets alone in hotel rooms (and since I’m unlikely to be anything but a nervous wreck leaving them alone in hotel rooms). I’ve checked take-out menus from the places closest to our first two hotels, and basic salads with chicken are entirely doable.

I’d like to avoid lugging around a cooler. I don’t know how much room we’ll have, but more than that, I hate dealing with draining and re-icing stuff. I do have a small, insulated lunch bag with freezable inserts, so might get one more of those that we could use for a few things like cheese and yogurt. I’m still confirming whether we’ll have fridges in the various hotels I’ve planned on using (but not yet booked).

Exercise on the road will be catch-as-catch-can, but we do have the dogs, and they’ll need to be walked morning, mid-day, and evening at a minimum. We’re staying near a dog park the first night that has good walking trails. The second night, we’ll be around the corner from my mom’s college, so either that night or the next morning, we plan to walk around the campus. I’m going to have my trusty iPad, so I can do my Gorilla Fitness program in hotel rooms. I think we’re going to hit the Gettysburg battlefield on day 3, which will be another walking opportunity. Day 4, our arrival, we’ll get plenty of exercise lugging stuff out of the car, into the boat, and up the hill to the house.

I’m definitely a road trip fan, so I’m curious to see how it goes with the dogs. My friend loves dogs AND, more importantly, knows how to deal with them if they get sassy. She’s the one who taught me to growl and nip at them, which makes other people think you’ve been sniffing bath salts, but which broke them both of most of their bad habits.

I’ll look forward to reporting how well my plan works. In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on those last few pounds. Please share any suggestions you have for finding good food along the highway. Onward!

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5 Responses to Staying Healthy on a Road Trip

  1. Good luck on the road trip, it definitely sounds like you’ve done your research! Another option for breakfasts/snacks is Silk soy milk and cereal. Grocery stores sell those in individual containers, enough for a bowl of cereal. The good thing- they don’t need to be refrigerated! So you could always buy a few and a box of cereal or granola in case you can’t find a good place for a healthy breakfast. I think buying the pre-cut veggies at stores is an awesome idea! Also, if you stop along the way at bigger truck stops they usually have healthier options to choose from-bananas, apples, etc. There’s also always buying peanuts as a snack. I’m not sure what your diet is, but there’s also Subway! Have fun!! 🙂

    • Andie says:

      Yes – Subway is something I’d forgotten about, but talked about with my nutritionist. She asks the sandwich prep people to gut the inside of the bread, so it is really more of a shell, and then ask for double of all of the veggies and none of the dressing/mayo.

      Thanks for the cereal idea. I can even pack pre-measured bags of the Kashi Go Lean high-protein twigs & sticks that I like – mixed with yogurt, that’s really filling.

      It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure.

  2. I spent many summers on the lakes of NH as a child:)
    Having just done THREE road trips, what I learned works for me is to pack my snacks and meals as much as I can. We did bring small coolers; we used small bottles of frozen water for the ice and eventually could drink them when they melted. I had yogurt packed for my breakfasts, which is not what I’d eat at home. I packed meals for several of the days, things like chicken salad and healthy sandwiches. One year I did stop for lots of fast food with my family and manage to order salads but that can be tough, not knowing where you’ll be and what you’ll find. I packed protein rich snacks like cheese (in the cooler) and beef/chicken jerky and nuts in portioned-bags. I packed a lot of veggies. Some don’t even need to be kept cool.

    It can be a challenge but it CAN be done:)

    • Andie says:

      Ooooh – I love the tip about freezing water in bottles. I do love nuts & jerky, but they make me crave diet coke, and I’m really hoping that I can resist going back to cokes, since it has been just about a year since I quit. Road trips make me want big, bubbly fountain drinks …

  3. Tammy says:

    A road trip sounds like so much fun. My husband and I are will taking one later this summer, my first in decades. You’ve got a great plan already. Enjoy.

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