6 tips for avoiding weight gain on road trips

It’s that time of year when you load up the car and drive off toward adventure. It’s easy when sitting in a car for long periods to justify continually snacking on foods you normally try not to make a habit of munching on, but those seemingly innocent snacks can stack up to a lot of weight gain, bloating and discomfort.

To avoid the traveling weight gain, follow these 6 dietitian approved tips:

Make “fresh” easy – High in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables make excellent traveling snacks. The trick is making them easy to eat. Before you depart, cut your vegetables into match sticks (Julianne style) and cut your fruit into slices or sections. Place a cup size portion in lunch baggies. Don’t forget individual portions of high protein or healthy fat dips like cheese sticks or squares, peanut butter, powdered peanut butter (like PB2), hummus, guacamole, jalapeño Greek yogurt dip. Enjoy your snacks alone or with a delicious dip.
o Favorite traveling fruit: grapes, apple slices, cuties/nectarines, bananas, pears, grapes, berries.
o Favorite traveling vegetables: celery, carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, baby bell peppers, cucumber. Consider trying something outside your normal routine and experiment with jicama sprinkled with vibrant chili powder and fresh lime juice or daikon, a very, very mild Japanese radish.

• Plan your meals – When you eat impulsively, you tend to make less healthy choices. Consider bringing sandwich fixings instead of stopping for fast food. Find a scenic rest stop, make sandwiches with a side of fruits or veggies. A sandwich with a small piece of fruit has just 45 grams of carbohydrates, making it a healthy, filling option that is great for keeping blood sugar and weight under control. If bringing your own meals isn’t an option, look up nutrition information for restaurants along your route. Find 1-2 options that have less than 500 calories, 60 grams of total carbohydrates or less, and no more than 5 grams of saturated fat.

• Allow for appetite – Snacking non-stop while traveling can add up to a lot of calories and decrease the enjoyment when you do sit down for a meal. Try to stop all snacking about 2 hours before you are planning to stop for a meal. This will give you enough time to increase your appetite, but not so much that by the time you sit down to eat you are voracious.

• Curb the caffeine – The caffeine in your soda is a diuretic, which means the more soda you drink, the more you will need to stop to use the bathroom and the higher the chances of dehydration. Dehydration is associated with higher weight and weight gain. Skip the soda and reach for carbonated flavored waters like La Croix. Water flavors like Mio and Crystal Light are also good options. Water flavors like Stur are also popular and get its sweetness from stevia and fruit extract.

• Trade caffeine for cardio – If you are feeling drowsy, instead of pulling over to buy a big gulp of soda, instead do jumping jacks, pushups or walk briskly around a rest station. Increasing your heart rate can improve alertness and help you stay healthy on your adventure.

• Save a treat for the end – It’s hard to completely forbid favorite salty or sweet snacks you may have munched on during past road trips. Instead of saying no, say “later”. When you put something off, it is easier mentally to accept. For example, if you love eating chips on road trips, tell yourself you can have an individually portioned bag of chips once you arrive at your destination. When the urge to raid the chip aisle hits, it is easier assure yourself you will have your favorite treat “just a little later”, then to simply try to avoid it completely. And you may find by the time you arrive at your destination, the craving for that treat is gone.

Learn more healthful tips by scheduling an appointment at NOAH. We are accepting new patients 480-882-4545. #healthysnacks #summerroadtrip #nutritionrocks