6 Tips for a Healthier Family Road Trip

By Nicole Nichols, Managing Editor and Fitness Expert at SparkPeople

Planning a family road trip? Keep your family fit and healthy along the way. When you're traveling by car, you spend a lot of time planning your course. We all want to make good time, but it's also important to schedule several breaks into your itinerary, especially when you have kids:

  • Pack a cooler full of healthy snacks and even complete meals. Chopped veggies, fresh fruits, bottled water and juice, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn, and pretzels make easy travel fare.

  • Don't skip meals, and try not to go more than 4 or 5 hours without eating. Being famished at mealtime may hinder your ability to make healthy choices and can trigger overeating. Plus, constant energy levels will keep you alert at the wheel.

  • Avoid eating full meals in the car. Take time to stop, relax and enjoy your meals as a family. This way, you can pay closer attention to your hunger and satiety signals.

  • Plan exercise and stretching breaks as well. Just three 10-minute pit stops add up to 30 minutes of activity. Go for a quick jog or walk, stretch, and run around with the kids. Back in the car, you'll be more alert and energetic.

  • Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks. While they do give you a short energy burst, the drop when caffeine wears off can make you even more tired. For stable energy levels, drink plenty of water and eat healthy, whole foods that keep blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping.

  • Be wary of fast food and roadside restaurants. If you have no other options, choose the healthiest possible items and keep portion sizes small. One way to avoid excess calories and fat is to hold the mayo, special sauces, cheese, and dressings. Also opt for non-breaded items and kid-sized portions for everyone.

Parents: Do you have any healthy road trip tips to add?



Related links:

Know Your Menu Watch Words

4 Tips for a Healthier Road Trip

Kid-Friendly Car Snacks



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