eating healthy while traveling – is it possible?

Has your summer flown by as fast as ours has? We recently returned from a family trip across the country from our suburban home in Houston, Texas to Mountain Lake, Minnesota where my parents live on a farm. It is a 20 hour drive across some beautiful country, and the drive was all the more entertaining because we have been studying the “fifty nifty united states” so my son was constantly asking what state we were in and looking at his little atlas!

With all that driving, we spent a lot of time eating in the car and at fast food. When menu planning for travels, I take the following into account:

Food safety – I bring ice packs or freeze juice boxes and water bottles to keep cold food cold.
Fluid – It’s expensive to buy water and other drinks at gas stations, so I pack as much as I think we will need
Space – we drove our minivan, so we could bring a cold cooler and a dry bag of snacks. When flying in an airplane, we really shrink it down to what we need for just those few hours, and don’t pack any fluids.
Portability – from experience, I can tell you that bananas and peaches get squished and icky if I pack them. Yogurt, soup, and other dishes that have to be spooned can make a big mess when eaten in a carseat by toddlers.

So what went in our bags? For the cold cooler, I froze iced tea, water, and a couple of juiceboxes as treats for the kids. Then we added string cheese, sliced cheese, celery, carrot sticks, apples, and jelly.
In our dry bag, we packed homemade chocolate mint biscotti, bread, Triscuit crackers, peanut butter, raisins, and whole-grain goldfish crackers…as well as licorice and gum and espresso shots for the driver.
We usually eat dinner at home, then cruise all night long; crunchy foods like carrots and celery and apples pack a lot of nutrition and help keep the driver awake without packing on the pounds. Cheese and crackers can make a nice midmorning snack. PB and J sandwiches at a rest stop along the way makes for a nice cheap break. And then we usually stop for breakfast and/or dinner to get the wiggles out and have some hot food.


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