It’s challenging enough to keep your kiddos nutritionally up to par on even a regular day. Throw in travel and it’s a whole new ball game. While no family is expected to be perfect, we’ve got some suggestions on how to keep your family as healthy as possible while on the road!
- Appropriately Portion Snacks: Instead of tossing entire bags of chips, pretzels, and fish crackers into the car, consider pre-portioning these snacks into individual servings. This can be accomplished using zip-loc baggies or plastic containers. It might seem like an extra task right now, but you’ll be thanking yourself later when you’re little ones aren’t complaining about their tummy ache from too many Doritos. This idea also introduces the concept of balance and portion control in your child’s diet. Show them that snacking on less nutritious foods is absolutely okay from time to time, so long as these foods aren’t making up the majority of our nutrition.
- Keep Sweets Out of Reach: Speaking of moderation, it might be a good idea to keep the more palatable foods in the trunk of the car or up in the front seat with you. This gives you control over when these foods are served. When kiddos have free reign over sugar, there’s no telling what might happen, but we’re willing to bet the rest of your road trip won’t be too much fun after everyone’s pumped with gummy worms and cookies!
- Pull Over and Get Moving: We know you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, but sometimes the journey is half the fun! Don’t forget to stop every couple of hours to let your family stretch their legs, take a walk or a hike, or even play a quick game of tag! Studies show that regularly sitting still for long periods of time is closely tied to heart disease and other health issues, so pull over and get your blood pumping!
- Look for Local Markets: Rather than swinging through the fast food drive through, look up where you can find local markets on your route. Most of the time, these markets sell fresh sandwiches, salads, fruits, vegetables, and other super nutritious, locally sourced snacks. Not only is this the more nutritious option, but your family will get to try new foods, too.
- Don’t Skip Meals: Even though it’s tempting, try not to fall out of your normal eating schedule too much. When we skip meals, we’re more likely to “over-snack”… and usually it’s not on the healthy stuff. When we’re constantly grazing throughout the day, we never quite feel satisfied or hungry. This throws off our hunger and fullness cues for the day, meaning we’re probably not fueling our bodies appropriately. Although it might take a little extra time, it’s worth it to pull over and enjoy a full family meal together.
- Look at Menus Ahead of Time: If you’re heading to a restaurant on your road trip, try looking up their menu online before arriving. If you don’t see anything you or your family would benefit from nutritionally, keep looking! But remember, indulging in “less healthy” foods from time to time is totally okay (and fun, too!).
- Bring Re-usable Water Bottles: Rather than living off of soda, caffeine, and sugary juices the entire road trip, pack reusable water bottles for your kiddos to fill. Looking for something a little more exciting than plain water? Try out these 10 Fun Ways to Drink More Water!
We know traveling can be tough, but we’re hopeful that the above tips make your next family road trip a little more enjoyable. Happy travels!