WritersButt Wednesday: Road Trip!!
Happy WritersButt Wednesday. I hope everyone has had a great week. Today, I promise not to rant at you like I did last week. I totally got that out of my system. That is, until I see something else ridiculous and you know I can’t promise to keep my little soapbox tucked away. But today we’re going on a road trip! Or at least, we’re going to talk about how to take road trips and not completely sabotage your nutrition along the way.
Summer is the season for road trips. Kids are out of school and grandparents want to see their babies! Beaches and lakes call out to those sun-worshipping and action-craving families. It’s the time to get away, even if it’s only for a long weekend, from your normal routine and environment. Adventures await us and we have to find them!!
We are a big road trip family. My husband and I have been taking cross-country road trips since before we were married and our child was a dog.
(Sebastian with our daughter when she was a toddler. Sebastian was our baby before we had babies. 🙂 RIP Saby–we still miss you!)
We lived in San Diego (where I’m from) and his family is in Texas (where I’m now from), so we did that long 20+ hour trek numerous times. After marriage and kids, we started spending our summers in TN at the lake, which is about a 16+ hour trip. We’ve been making that summer trip for over a decade now.
All of this to say that I’m declaring myself — you can’t stop me! — an expert on cross-country road trips. Over the years, adding in 3 kids, we made a bunch of bad choices, for which we paid in a multitude of stomach issues and headaches. Now I’ve got it down to a science. I’m going to give you some of my best tips for eating healthy on the road – what to pack in your cooler, what to avoid and one item not to forget, ever!
It’s very easy to head down the ‘snack’ aisle of the grocery store and stock up on chips, cookies, and candy and fill the cooler with soda and juice. STOP! Back away from the crunch-n-munch and Oreos. Spending a couple of days in the car eating that crap will only make you arrive at your destination bloated, grouchy, sluggish and I guarantee you’ll either be stopped up or racing to the toilet in emergency-mode. Also, do yourself a favor and skip the fast food joints, or at the very least, choose the best options, like a salad with grilled chicken or perhaps a grilled chicken wrap. There are good choices out there, find them, so when you show up at your destination, you’re ready to get down to the fun instead of being parked on the john.
Here’s what the Calems pack for a two-day road trip:
Hard boiled eggs: I boil (actually I steam my eggs, makes peeling a breeze!) at least a dozen eggs, peel them, pop into a zip-bag. Perfect protein snack. Tip: put a couple paper towels in the bag to soak up any moisture.
Sliced apples: I slice up 6 huge apples. I do this at the last minute to minimize browning. They are great for at least 2 days in a zip-bag.
Sliced cheese: Even though I normally avoid dairy, we always have cheese with our apples on road trips. (I just don’t overdo it so that my stomach won’t hurt.)
Fruit/Veggies: Sometimes we’ve had grapes or strawberries. And, for a couple years I had a huge bag of veggies with a plastic container of homemade dip or you could have hummus.
Chicken Salad: For the last few years, the favorite ‘meal’ on the road is chicken salad. I usually get canned chicken, (premium chicken breast packed in water – or you could certainly make your own chicken or get a rotisserie one and cut it up yourself)
2-3 large cans of chicken (family of 5 here!)
lots of grapes, cut in half (green or red, your choice)
Slivered almonds that you toast up to yummy goodness!
mayo to your liking – need I say to use full-fat mayo! 🙂
pepper and a little salt
Combine it all. We use to have this as a sandwich but now I get those cheap plastic containers and make up a few of those so we eat this as a salad. Pack some plastic forks. Eat and discard.
Protein bars: I usually pack some good quality protein bars.
Trail mix: You can buy a premade one or make your own. My grocery store has a great bulk-food section, so I can choose the nuts I like (and avoid raisins which I do not like at all) and I make a big bag of awesome!
We rarely stop at fast food places. For one thing, we have the dog, so we can’t all go into eat anywhere, so I find a rest stop or gas station with a grassy area. We eat our salad while we take turns running Gia around.
Our ‘treat’ stop is usually Starbucks. Kids get whatever they want and the adults are usually clamoring for espresso, multiple shots!
Lifesaver snack: One thing we’ve had from day one and always have is a bag of sunflower seeds still in the shell. This is a lifesaver for the driver getting a bit sleepy. It takes work to get the seeds out of the shell so it kind of keeps you occupied with something as you drive. TIP: Transfer the seeds from the package to a zip-bag. I go through a LOT of zip-bags on our trips! Bigger Tip: Pack some plastic cups to put your shells into!
My extra special tip: Pack booze! Yes, you read that right. If you’re taking a trip that is more than one day, as in, you’re staying in a hotel, pack a bottle of wine and/or a few beers in the cooler so when you finally get to your hotel, after being trapped spending long hours enjoying the company of your family, there’s not much that tastes better and will be more welcome than a drink, a good one!
Now, before ya’ll tell me that booze is not part of a healthy road trip. I disagree. Here on WritersButt Wednesday, we focus on the mind/body connection and after 14 hours in the car, my mind/sanity needs a drink.
On that note, my one item to pack and not to forget is a bottle/wine opener. This is very important. Forgetting this item will force you to get creative. On a positive note, there are many things in a hotel room that will open an ice cold corona. Just sayin’!
Now, even though I’m a self-proclaimed expert, I don’t know everything. Stop pretending to be shocked!! I want to know what tips you all have? Please share any tips in the comments so we can all have fun and nutritious road trips and be ready to hit the ground running when we get to our destination!
Here’s to some fun road trips this summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to pack the car and get outta here.