Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Road Trip for the Healthy Foodie

Think it’s impossible to eat healthy on the road?

 Think again! To feel great and save money, it’s best to pack your own snacks for the road and be prepared when hunger strikes. Not only is fast good generally less healthy, it is also way more expensive, making it an all around bad option on a student budget. Here are some of my go-to items I pack when heading out in my car for a weekend getaway.

1.     Fresh fruit and veggies- you can’t go wrong with fresh produce. I always bring a couple pieces of fruit (apple/pear for eating in the car, bananas for breakfast) and LOTS of veggies. For a quick energy snack, veggies sticks and hummus, or fruit slices with nut butter offer satisfying and healthy treats. I also save takeout containers/ clamshell boxes of lettuce and use this to pack salads in for road trips. This way I know I’m getting my 5-10 a day even when away from home.  I always recommend fresh fruit or veggies over processed, which is why I am not a big fan of trail mix, especially the pre-mixed kind. The nuts and seeds are often roasted in oil and excess salt, and dried fruit are usually also coated with unhealthy hydrogenated oils and sugar. Any trail mix containing M&M’s sort of defeats the purpose of this being a "healthy snack" Trail mix is very nutrient dense and high in calories, so if you plan on doing strenuous activites are your destination, it can make a good option if you make your own using dry roasted nuts/seeds and unsweetened dried fruit.
** NOTE if you are traveling to the USA this is not really an easy option. I have taken fruit across the border before and make SURE you declare when they ask and bring fruit that is product of USA (the sticker on the fruit will tell you) but this will slow you up at airports as they will pull you into a special room and inspect the fruit, this is when is might be worth it to suck it up and pay the $1.50 for that apple past security. I usually tell them I’m a student and I was emptying out my fridge and took what was left, I’ve never had food taken away if I declare ahead of time, it just adds time at security.
2.     Healthy granola bars- My favorite our homemade or store bought larabars (made using dates, nuts/seeds and spices), taste of nature and be kind bars. I find most other brands contain way too much sugar, trans fat and preservative. Kashi granola bars also make a good non-gluten free option. Store bought muffins/ scones/ cookies are the worse thing you can get. That McDonald’s/Starbucks muffin is stuffed full of refined flours and sugar, which will only leave you feeling hungry shortly after consuming.
3.     Do some research and if your hotel room has a fridge, this can also make it easier to bring your own food on a road trip. Hardboiled eggs, small tubs of unsweetened Greek yogurt, leftovers from last night’s dinner, fresh veggies etc. can all be stored in the fridge, saving you money and empty calories. If the hotel doesn’t serve breakfast, bringing a container of “overnight oats in a jar” with some fruit is a quick and easy option for the morning.
4.     If you’re vegan or have food allergies, Vega all in one nutritional shake or Vega protein smoothies are a great to go option because they don’t require refrigeration and can be mixed with water. http://myvega.com/products/vega-one-shake/features-benefits
5.     If the hotel serves breakfast, don’t be embarrassed to bring some of your own healthy items in the morning! I hate regular peanut butter, so I always bring my own small container of natural nut butter to breakfast, and I know my dad never travels without a Ziploc baggie of his favorite Nature’s Path organic cereal. This way you can mix and match items at the breakfast buffet, and start your day off on the right foot. 
6.     If you get to your destination absolutely famished but don’t want to waste money on expensive restaurants, ask your concierge for directions to a location grocery store. Especially if you’re in a city, grocery stores might offer healthy to-go items such as salad bars, sushi and soup stations, which will often be cheaper than those sold in fast food chains.

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