By: Ivan Ho
Everybody knows that a long road trip can be stressful. And with the holiday season approaching, you may be taking extra car rides to make all the family and in-laws get-togethers in a short period of time.
Sitting in a car for hours on end with little to no movement can leave your body stiff and sore. Some people are also unfortunate enough to suffer from car sickness, meaning they have to stop regularly just to keep their lunch down. With the proper diet and maintaining healthy eating habits (even on the road), you can keep yourself feeling energized, awake and brisk.
The stress of driving and long car rides can leave most of us opting to satisfy our hunger with fast food. Its quick, fast and to some, tastes pretty damn good. But because most people tend to be more lenient when it comes to eating on the road, you actually pack on a hefty amount of calories… thousands of calories even! The reason why the Golden Arches, donut cafes and convenience stores are adjacent to gas stations? They know you need to get gas at some point and are bound to get the munchies – its good business for them, but not for your body.
So what can you do to stay healthy on the road?
- A Filling Breakfast: This is a must. A healthy, nutritious and balanced breakfast will give you sustained energy throughout the day and help you control your hunger. Many people are eager to get on the road after a quick sleep and end up skipping breakfast. This is definitely a no-no as you are only asking for trouble later on in the day. Eat a diet high in protein and less simple sugars. Solution: 2 eggs with whole grain toast; a bowl of oatmeal (preferably not from the box); yogurt with fresh berries; protein shake… There are lots of options.
- Avoid Excessive Sugar: Consuming excess sugar leads to fatigue, sleepiness (and a soft middle). The two former, are not optimal for long drives. Please avoid pancakes with syrup, donuts, pastries, scones, bagels, pies, sugar cereals, breakfast bars, and muffins.
- Look For Restaurants: Fast food joints you can see a mile away. Try driving a couple of minutes away from the highway, it usually leads to a couple of small restaurants / diners. If you have not done the suggestion immediately below (and you have the time), check out a restaurant and order “to-go”. They may have slightly more nutritious and healthy meals than a fast food joint.
- Pack Your Meals: Resort to old-school methods of eating on the road. It is very easy to pack sandwiches, salads and fruits to snack on. Keep your food chilled by storing in a small cooler with ice packs. Providing food your body is used to eating means you avoid any additional pit stops, if you get what I mean. Check out expert personal trainer Maggie D’s top “on the road” picks.
- Drink Plenty Of Water: Water will keep you hydrated, awake and flush toxins out from your body. It will also help with headaches and fatigue from long distance travelling. You can also bring some honey, lemon water to give a little flavor and your body a little immune boost.
Remember that although driving for hours is tiring, your body still manages to push on and grind it through. In that sense, your body is not giving up on you, and you should return the favor.