I’m sure anyone would agree that we eat the worst while traveling. For some reason, gas station goodies suddenly look appealing (minus the gargantuan pickles swimming in a juice-filled pouch) and we throw all of our previous notions about health aside to indulge. The weird thing about it is that we eat those horrible things, then just SIT in a car for hours. It’s the worst possible scenario: being completely idle while eating junk food. It always makes me feel terrible.
To combat those urges, I always pack some healthy snacks for long car trips. Our vacations are all taken by road travel (thus far) and they are always long. I live ten hours away from my parents. On this recent trip to Canada I packed some buns/rolls that I made the day before and some ham to make sandwiches, grapefruit cups, apples, oranges, carrots, cheese, yogurt, water bottles, crackers, pretzels (for the kiddos) and some fruit leather. I also added in the fresh produce from our fridge that I knew wouldn’t last our ten days away from home. We took it to my mom’s house and juiced it over the next few days. The ride up was great, besides a teething almost two year old, and we had more than enough good food to eat. After spending some time with my parents, we drove another 9 1/2 hours to Vernon, B.C. to see my sister and her family. On the way there we stopped at a gas station around lunch time. There weren’t many options around, so I walked into the McDonald’s (I know, I know) to see what was available, if anything. I was actually surprised. I haven’t stepped foot in a McDonald’s in quite a while, and things have *sort of* changed. Nothing looked appealing, and I knew my husband wouldn’t want any of it, but I got the girls kids meals. They came with a yogurt and apple slices, and some milk. We ended up throwing the chicken nuggets away, because no one would eat them. My oldest (four years old) had one, then refused the rest. The two year old tried a bite of one, then spit it out. We ate the yogurt and apples, and were on our way. We never really buy fast food (unless it’s sandwiches or wraps/pitas). Whenever my girls are faced with anything resembling fast food, i.e. french fries, nuggets, hamburgers, etc. they don’t eat it. I couldn’t force them to eat a hamburger if I tried, let alone french fries. They do eat sweet potato fries, but that’s about it. It makes me happy that by keeping them away from it, I’ve given them the chance to make their own decision based on taste, not on habit. At least they aren’t addicted to fried foods. Now to work on the sugar issue!
We spent several glorious days soaking up the sun in Vernon and loving every second. My sister lives minutes from an awesome beach by a lake, and we had a blast trying to fit in everything we could. When it was time for us to leave, I didn’t have any snacks left. We were driving to Moses Lake, WA that day to split up our 16 hour drive home. When we were all famished and drove into some random town in Washington along the way, all I could see for a mile down the road were fast food joints. I contemplated DQ, wondering if they might have anything we could eat that wouldn’t drown us in greasy goodness. Then we spotted it. SAFEWAY. Hooray! I know it isn’t conventional, but I’m writing this post to make you aware if you aren’t already. A grocery store is one of the best options of places to eat while traveling, if you stick to the OUTSIDE aisles of the store.
We got a cart and headed inside. The first thing we saw were apricots, peaches, and cherries. My four year old grabbed an apricot and instantly took a bite! I couldn’t stop her, it was so fast. Oops. I guess she was starving, and the sight of real food was too much to handle. She sat in the cart eating it. We picked up some odwalla smoothies (the best option given the other choices, and VERY filling), some freshly cut up cantaloupe, some oranges, bananas, water bottles, and some cheese sticks. When I got to the till I meekly explained that my daughter grabbed and ate an apricot before I could stop her. I know they are purchased by weight, so wasn’t sure what to do. The lady just laughed and said, “You know what? Don’t worry about it. I’d rather her be grabbing that than a candy bar!” Well said. I still felt bad though, and insisted she charge a miscellaneous fee of thirty cents or so. We sat in the car and gorged ourselves on the fresh fruit. Everything tasted amazing. With our tummies full, we were able to make our way to Moses Lake and crash for the night in our hotel.
Eating well while on vacation is hard. Whether you are in the car, at a resort, or just staying away from home for a few days with friends, it’s easy to grab whatever is available, often resulting in burgers and fries. Even if my body could tolerate such things, I still couldn’t do it. When we travel, I try my best to find a grocery store close to where we are, and stock up the little hotel fridge in our room. It’s a great way to have healthy options around and with little children, it’s much easier to have simple things like apples and cheese on hand for them instead of running out to eat or hitting up the vending machine. It takes more effort, but so does every other aspect of trying to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s worth it. So this summer while you are traveling, look for a Safeway, an Albertsons, or whatever the store may be. Pick up some fruit, some cheese, or some yogurt, and feel better doing it. Besides, summer is the best time to eat fruit because it’s in season. It’s an inexpensive and healthy alternative.