Healthy Road Trips

With the holiday season coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about travel and road trips. Maybe you or a loved one will be driving halfway across the country to get home from holiday visits. Maybe travel is on your list of goals for the new year. Either way it’s a good time to plan that road trip. Road trips are great fun, but they’re not always great for your health. Your body doesn’t appreciate sitting in a cramped car for hours on end, eating greasy food, and chugging caffeine to stay alert.

However, road trips don’t have to be bad for you. There are ways that you can make traveling better for your health!

Plan ahead

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before you start your trip. Being well-rested can help you avoid caffeinated, syrupy soft drinks and sugar-packed coffee drinks. Carry along a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever you have to stop.

Resisting those sweet, caffeine-filled beverages is only half the battle. The convenience of greasy fast-food or gas station snacks can be hard to resist. The only way to beat those unhealthy options is to make healthy options the most convenient option. Pack healthy snacks like fruit, unsalted nuts, preservative-free jerky, and vegetables so they can be accessed easily when passengers get hungry. Just be sure to keep track of portions to avoid non-stop grazing.

You probably won’t be able to tolerate eating just apple slices and peanuts for the entire duration of your trip. When it’s time for a hot meal, try and find grilled options to limit the grease that road trip food is known for. Do some internet research before you leave home to identify a healthy restaurant along your route at the place where you expect to be at mealtime.

Websites like Roadtrippers or Yelp can help you track down a restaurant, or just search “restaurants in Enid, Oklahoma” (or wherever you’ll be) at Find a couple of options, since your first choice might be closed or packed.

No luck? Pack some great sandwiches in case you don’t find a better option along the way.

Good decisions along the way

Be sure to stop regularly. Our bodies aren’t designed to be cooped up in a car for hours upon hours. Take a rest every once in a while to get out and stretch, run around, and get some exercise. This can also help the driver stay more alert and focused while driving.

You might not think about applying sunscreen while you’re in a car, but it’s not a bad idea. Clear glass windows don’t really provide the best protection against UV rays, so keep your skin safe with some sunscreen!

Maybe you’re going to be on the road for a few days. Try finding hotels that offer exercise facilities. It doesn’t have to be a state of the art gym; any exercise is better than no exercise at all. If finding a hotel with a gym isn’t an option, keep your eyes open for hiking trails or parks.

With a little planning, you can have a healthier road trip!