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Road Trip Cheat Sheet: Healthy Ways to Eat on the Go

By Jenn Maples, NTP

Going on road trips used to be one of my favorite things as a kid. We’d pack up the car with a few Mad Libs (remember those?), some colored pencils and paper and a cooler filled with snacks that my now-nutritionist-self probably wouldn’t approve of.

But road-tripping doesn’t have to mean eating junk food 24/7. In fact, most gas stations, mini marts and rest stops have HEALTHY(ier) options that will give you energy for the long haul and won’t derail your diet.

I get it though. Eating healthy on the road can be a challenge! A lot of my clients lose steam when it comes eating right on vacation, thinking it’s too hard to stay on track or don’t want to be a nuisance for the other travelers on their trip.

But here’s a news flash for you:

WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY COUNTS. Even on vacation.

It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge now and then. However, it does mean you’re in control of what you eat, regardless of where you are or how annoying it might be to the people around you.

With that said, I wanted to share with you my nutritionist-approved cheat-sheet for eating on the road.

#1. Beef jerky.
Look for brands that have minimal ingredients. And if you’re sensitive to gluten, look out for ones made with soy sauce.

#2. Nuts.
Usually you can find packets of almonds, cashews or mixed nuts. Sometimes these snacks have added oil that’s not great for you (like peanut or canola oil), so look for ones that are just pure nuts.

#3. Hard boiled eggs.
This is a solid choice for on the road. Check the expiration date to make sure they’re still fresh and grab some salt and pepper on your way out.

#4. Trail mix.
Another good nut-centric idea, look for a trail mix without candy. That means no M&Ms, no chocolate pieces and no yogurt-covered anything.

#5. Protein bars.
This can be a mine field if you don’t know what to look for. Read the ingredients on the back and choose one with minimal ingredients (the fewer the better), less sugar and nothing you can’t pronounce.

#6. Cheese sticks.
If you’re good with dairy, and it is not mucus producing, string cheese is an excellent choice for on the road. Just like the eggs, double check the expiration date and grab a few to go.

#7 Packs of tuna.
This is a clean source of protein you can eat anywhere. If you’re lucky, they’ll have ones with the rip-top pouch. If not, you’ll have to settle for a can (and buying a can opener to go with it).

#8. Sunflower seeds.
I think a lot of road trippers can get behind sunflower seeds. Choose the ones still in the shell and you’ve got a snack and an activity all rolled into one.

#9. Water.
So important. And so easy to forget. Most people don’t drink enough water, especially when they’re away from home. Shoot to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.

Of course, you can always pack your favorite snacks from home, that way you’re sure to have what you need when you need it. But if you’re headed out on the road empty handed, be sure to take this cheat sheet along for the ride.

In a nut shell (no pun intended), choose these snacks for your next road trip!

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