Everyone wants to maintain a somewhat healthy diet while at the same time eating the foods they love. One of the best (and worst) aspects of traveling is that you have an excuse to eat whatever is available. While this is sometimes a welcome break from counting calories and watching carbs, it should not be seen as an opportunity to become a guiltless glutton. Maintaining an appropriate diet while on a long car trip can pose a problem, but with the right planning, and a bit of self control, you can avoid a diet disaster on even the longest of journeys.
The healthiest (and cheapest) way to manage your meals is to bring food from home. A small cooler fits perfectly in the backseat and should be large enough to store drinks, lunchmeat, and condiments to make sandwiches. You can also easily store snack foods, such as dips and veggies. The only problem with this is that you have to be sure that you eat the food before the ice melts too much, as no one wants food poisoning when on a car trip, or at all, for that matter.
Healthy snacks that do not have to be kept refrigerated, such as granola bars, are a great alternative to the cooler solution. Just make sure that you like whatever it is you bring-- if you do not enjoy the foods you bring with you, you will be even more tempted to go through a drive-thru.
Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, it is simply impossible to bring your own food with you. If this is the case, you have three options. The first option, which can be the healthiest and most cost effective, is to stop at a grocery store when you are ready to eat. This will allow you to eat fresh, healthy food while on the road. However, finding a conveniently located grocery store in an unfamiliar town may pose a problem.
If you cannot find a grocery store, the next best option is to stop at a restaurant. Casual dining is a great friend to travelers, as it offers relatively fast food that is somewhat healthy, depending on what meal you choose. One danger of stopping at a restaurant is becoming too full and wanting only to sleep, not drive, after the meal. Try and keep your meal fulfilling yet light, as no one wants to travel with a drowsy driver. Another con to the casual dining solution is the price. You can easily pay upwards of ten dollars per person when dining at a restaurant, so, if you have not budgeted this money correctly, you may spend more than you should.
The last option is the ever-popular drive-thru. Fast food is a great way to eat on the go, but as far as your health is concerned it is the worst option. However, some fast food chains offer meals that will appeal to the more health conscious of their customers. Many locations will also have nutrition information available, so you can determine which meal best fits your diet.
Although it may be inconvenient to stop and eat while traveling, make the time off of the road worthwhile. Choose to eat foods that are best for your body and you will be able to enjoy your trip, free of the guilt of a glutton.