While fast food restaurants offer options that may seem healthy in comparison to their usual fare such as burgers and fries, the truth of the matter is that even the best items on a fast food menu are not truly healthy.
From grilled chicken sandwiches loaded with chemical additives to salad dressings with partially hydrogenated oils, you never know what you may find on the road even in so-called healthy fare.
Luckily, the savvy, health conscious travelers out there know that a little preparation and smart purchases can help lead to a great road trip for fans of nutritious, easy-to-eat cuisine.
Here are five tips for true healthy eating on the road this summer:
1. Make Your Own Trail Mix-
Most store-bought trail mixes are loaded with unnecessarily high amounts of sodium, and not the good kind like Celtic sea salt, either, we’re talking about processed table salt.
Making your own trail mix for road trips is easy and can be fun for kids as well. Start with a mix of raw nuts such as almonds or cashews, which you can get from ethnic or bulk food stores for cheaper than the supermarkets.
Add in dried fruits such as cranberries, raisins, and more, and don’t feel shy about being creative with all of the different fruit and nut combinations available. Dark chocolate also makes a great addition for added antioxidants in moderation.
2. Healthy Sandwich Revolution-
The old style of making sandwiches on white bread with bologna or some other form of cheap processed meat is anything but inspiring for kids and adults alike.
Check out Ezekial brand sprouted grain breads or similarly tasty breads from Rudy’s Organic bakery for the base of your next sandwich. If these breads are a bit out of your price range, visit the local bakery for some wheat or pumpernickel bread which is likely made fresher and from more natural ingredients than the store bought kinds.
The key for meat eaters, however, is to purchase organic meats that do not contain sodium nitrates, which have been linked to causing cancer by some studies.
Vegetarians can make sandwiches from raw almond or cashew butter along with whole jellies from the farmer’s market, or organic brands.
3. Natural Food Bars-
A new generation of healthy food bars has hit the market, including products from manufacturers such as Kind, Cascadian Farm granola bars, and Larabars. These products contain fewer ingredients that are much more wholesome than the typical granola and food bars that have been lining store shelves for so long, and they can even be found at larger stores such as Target and bigger grocery stores nowadays at prices that are more than reasonable.
4. Veggie Tray Done Right-
Most veggie trays bought in grocery stores are old news, as everyone’s had them at graduation parties, dinners, and more.
Making your own organic veggie mix combined with great-tasting natural dips such as hummus or homemade ranch from an organic mix (important because of all the junk you’ll find in mainstream ranch dressings) can change the way you and your kids look at veggie trays forever. They also make for a great healthy food to take on your summer road trip if put in the proper containers.
5. Select whole fruits-
Fruits also make excellent snacks for a road trip that will keep you and your passengers alert and full of energy. Apples, peaches, bananas, and grapes are among the best because of their convenience. Just make sure you have a small trash bag so they are properly disposed of, and always buy organic fruits for the softer-skinned fruits such as apples and peaches whenever necessary to reduce your pesticide exposure.
With so many different healthy foods available to customers nowadays, nutritious and energizing road trip snacks and lunches are readily available.
Don’t forget to pack some of these five healthy foods on your next summer road trip so you can avoid the fast food trap that so many Americans will fall into this summer.