Eating right isn’t just a strategy; it’s a lifestyle, requiring effort to be calorie-conscious and portion-focused. But when you’re a commuter who spends lots of time in the car – or are in the midst of a long-distance road trip – healthy eating habits often go right out the window. It’s easy to understand why, as the cramped quarters of an automobile aren’t exactly amenable to a sit-down, home-cooked meal.
“Roughly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are obese.”
Nutrition is a weighty issue in America. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of adults are obese. Dietitians and doctors agree that the best way to maintain one’s well-being is through a combination of eating smart and exercising regularly. However, with less than 30% of older adults not engaging in regular bouts of physical activity, based on a separate survey by the CDC, healthy eating has never been more important.
With March being National Nutrition Month and the busy summer driving season just around the corner, here are a few pointers that can help you stay health conscious when you’re on the road.
Eat a balanced breakfast
They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing. In many ways, breakfast is the table setter, as what you eat when you get up may determine what you’ll feel like later on. By skipping breakfast, the hunger you experience may lead to binging on empty-calorie foods that raise your blood sugar but won’t leave you feeling satisfied. In short, have a nutritious breakfast before you hit the road so you don’t feel hunger pangs down the road.
Pack healthy snacks
Snacks are the perfect way to tide you over between meals. In fact, health experts say eating several small meals – instead of three big ones – is the best way to keep your metabolism revved up and increase energy. Snack foods are typically associated with packaged goods that are high in sodium and rich in saturated fat, such as potato chips and sugary desserts. Instead of binging on these, snack smart by packing for the ride. Ideal choices include chopped up veggies like carrots, celery, and radishes. Nut varieties – like almonds, pistachios, and peanuts – are great options as well, combining fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy levels of fat to keep you feeling fuller longer.
Swap soda for water
Who doesn’t love the flavorful, effervescent taste of an ice cold soda? While these may be OK to indulge in on occasion, stick to water for the drive. In addition to being better for you, water hydrates more effectively than soft drinks. Plus, caffeinated soda is a diuretic, increasing the risk of dehydration and prompting more bathroom breaks that may prevent you from reaching your destination on time.
Get to know where you’re going
You probably have some idea of the place you’re traveling to, but how well do you know the area you’ll be driving through? To find out, you may want to consider downloading a mobile app that can help. Appropriately titled, it’s called AroundMe, and as its name suggests, the app will help you locate what kinds of businesses are in your vicinity, including restaurants, coffee shops, and gas stations. It’s a free download that you can access via the iTunes store or by going to its website.
You wouldn’t let your gas tank run out or your auto insurance policy expire. By packing these nutrition tips on your next road trip, you’ll steer clear of those dreaded dieting crashes.