Eating on the road


 

Healthy-LivingThank you to Danielle Gamiz for helping us stay healthy on the road!

 

Our family observes one important rule when it comes to eating on road trips: No French fries!

 

It’s not that we don’t love a little salt and grease wrapped in crispy, golden goodness every now and then. We do. But when forced to eat quite literally on the road for days on end — say during a cross-country PCS move — we try to make choices that will keep our bodies going as strong as the road is long.

 

Since my Navy pilot husband and I started having children, it seems all of our permanent changes of station have come with cross-country drives, which prompted us to adopt our limited-fried-foods policy and some other guidelines for eating healthier on the road. Here are some of them:

 

1. Eat a high protein breakfast. Hitting the road with full bellies helps us maximize our morning drive time, when everyone is freshest. This means skipping cereal or pastries at the hotel breakfast bar and opting for eggs, yogurt, toast with peanut butter or a bagel with a healthy coating of cream cheese. A carton of milk and a banana can also be grabbed for the road for late risers.

 

2. Choose fresh foods when available. We like to lunch at small local restaurants when we can, but sometimes the highway only affords fast food, truck stops and big chains. Wherever we eat, we look for ways to add fresh fruits and vegetables to our orders.

 

If it’s a sit-down establishment a la Cracker Barrel, we encourage the kids to choose at least one healthy side dish with their chicken fingers — apple sauce, carrot sticks, a fruit cup — and steer them away from sugary beverages that give them bursts and then dips in energy. We also substitute a house salad or steamed veggies for fries.

 

Restaurants that have salad bars are a gold mine for fresh options. Orange segments, cottage cheese, olives, fresh veggies and dressings are very kid friendly and adults can load up on fresh greens.

 

3. Snack smart while driving. We snack when we’re bored, and since there’s a lot of down time in the car, snacks are frequent. My rule: Only pack what you’re willing to feed yourself and your family between meals.

 

I bring along a small cooler in each car — one that we can easily refill with hotel ice or small ice packs that can be kept cold in mini-fridge freezers.

 

Again, think high-protein and fresh fruits and veggies. I keep baby carrots, single-serving hummus, string cheese and cold cuts in the cooler. I also pack one vegetable-fruit-blend juice box per passenger for a quick nutrition boost. I give each passenger his or her own water bottle and keep a grocery bag with small apples, grapes, bananas or other fresh fruit as well as some nuts and whole-grain snack crackers. 

 

4. Save treats for mid-afternoon gas-ups. Nothing brings up the spirits of weary travelers like a well-timed gas-up and treat indulgence. We often plan our mid-afternoon stops at a travel station that provides a bevy of cold drink and frozen treat options.

 

If we’ve made healthy choices during our morning and afternoon noshing, there’s nothing wrong with wolfing down an ice cream sandwich or cracking open a sweet, fizzy beverage to pick us up for the final leg of our journey. Don’t forget to recharge the water bottles!

 

5. Finally, eat dinner in. My husband and I have a plan of attack for hotel arrival at the end of our driving days: Check in. Unload. Divide and conquer.

 

One of us will take the kids to the hotel pool to maximize our out-of-the-vehicle time and the other heads to the closest grocery to round up supplies for a picnic dinner back at the hotel.

 

I tend to shop the deli for fresher items, such as olives, cut-up fruit and veggies from the salad bar, fresh rolls and cold cuts for sandwiches or rotisserie chicken. Bringing back a buffet of wholesome food means less time sitting down for restaurant fare, and more time to get the kiddos good and tired before bed.

 

When at last we’ve arrived at our new address, if we’ve made good eating choices, we’ll have the necessary energy to start the unpacking process, and we even feel OK with rewarding our hard-journeying efforts with a celebratory dinner out — perhaps with a side of fries.

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Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.

 

Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com

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For more great PCS tips, please see MilitaryOneClick’s Home and Relocation Page.

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Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.

Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com).

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– See more at: http://militaryoneclick.com/u-s-companies-ramp-up-hiring-efforts-for-veterans-spouses/#sthash.1oEgSJza.dpuf

Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.

 

Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com).

– See more at: http://militaryoneclick.com/bookoo-com-brings-online-yard-sales-to-a-base-near-you/#sthash.k701JsUp.dpuf

Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.

 

Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com).

– See more at: http://militaryoneclick.com/bookoo-com-brings-online-yard-sales-to-a-base-near-you/#sthash.k701JsUp.dpuf