My family recently went on a 2,000 mile road trip. On paper, this eight state tour looked like a serious culinary challenge. After all, I’m naturally particular about fast food fare and convenience products, and two members of my family of four have celiac disease, which means that very little is “fast” and just about nothing is “convenient.” Unless, of course, you make it that way. Whether you are tackling a big road trip, spending too many hours at an airport, or checking into a hotel for a week, you can eat well while you’re traveling and at your destination too.
When we’re driving somewhere, whether it’s a few hours or a day of travel, you can always find me in the kitchen just before departure. From a large collection of nourishing snacks to a complete meal, I plan for what we’ll need (before leaving for that 2,000 mile road trip I made two gluten-free pizzas!). “Nourishing snacks” encompasses everything from hearty granola bars and peanut butter “squeeze packs” to crackers, pretzels, popcorn and even a few fruit snacks or graham crackers. A good cooler is a must as well. In it, I pack a collection of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, individual hummus cups and more. Before long, I have a small kitchen packed along with us.
Options on the Road or at the Airport
Today, there are many options for good snacks/small meals along the road and in airports. Travel centers, gas stations, and airport convenience stores offer an abundance of trail mixes, yogurts, cheese sticks, and even small salads and hummus cups. On our road trip, my family visited many of these spots, as well as grocery stores for additional fresh cut fruit and more when we needed it. Today there are also many fast casual restaurants, and even some “not so bad” options on fast food menus. I recommend being picky at these establishments and using them to compliment the other healthful options you pack.
At Your Destination
Congratulations, you are on vacation! This is the time for a mix of foods from the very healthy to the decadent. This is the time to enjoy those foods you’ve been looking forward as you dreamt of getting back to those places you love or experiencing cuisine in a city that’s new to you. Take advantage of websites that help you achieve that balance or apps that connect you with healthy food options. Or, pass on restaurants altogether and visit a local market for healthful picnic foods.
A healthy vacation isn’t just about food, but about other aspects of wellness too, like physical activity. Depending on where you travel to, there are likely walking/hiking trails, bikes you can rent, a hotel gym you can use, a long walk or run you can do at the beach, or at least an amusement park that can be used as an opportunity to spend the day walking. If you are looking for more ideas try using one of these apps that makes getting exercise easier when you travel.
And By All Means, Sloooooow Down
Vacationing should be about slowing down and restoring yourself. Depending on the type of trip you are on or the amount of sightseeing you’re doing, this is sometimes tough. But, do your best to find a place to read, write, breath or just sit and be still. We have so few moments to do this and if we can’t make time for it on vacation, then we may need to consider how we are defining vacation. If you need help reaching a calm space, use one of these resources to get you there.