10 Road Trip Tips To Eat Better While In The Car


School is coming to a close for most kids, and you and the rest of the family are itching to get away BIG time! What does that mean for you? If you’re a family who rides together, you drive together to get away and spend some time exploring other parts of the country. And maybe even a little outside of the country – hello, Canada and Mexico.

You’ve got your sun hat, swimsuit, and travel plans in hand. 

But there’s one more thing you need to plan for, and that’s what you plan on eating while on the road. 

I get it! 

It’s easy to get caught up in vacation mode and binge. But the goal here is to do what you can to curb temptation and fuel your body with whole foods.

Let’s put it this way… You would rather be full of energy and equipped with a sharp mind than tired, sluggish, and ready to go home before the fun starts. 


Then let’s get right into it and talk about 10 tips to help you eat better while you’re on the road.

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Top 10 Tips For Eating Right On The Road

I may no longer be a flight attendant taking to the skies, but the limitations are pretty similar. Snacks are usually junk, water is priced way too high, and kids are picky – I have a young daughter myself. But one deep breath, and we’ll get you pre-packed and ready to hit the road with delicious, wholesome snacks and foods to keep you going.


1. Preparation Is Still Key

You will be successful if you prepare. Whether you’re a write-it-downer or type-it-upper, make a plan for yourself and your family and commit to it. You can start by simply jotting down the days you’ll be gone and where you’ll be during them. For example, if Saturday and Sunday are driving days, you know you need to pack snacks, lunch, and a few other options for some variety. Think protein-packed foods like: 

  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Turkey roll-ups
  • Greek yogurt parfaits
  • Overnight oats
  • Tuna
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Jerky with no sugar added
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Chicken salad
  • Avocados
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Shake-n-go salads

You can even make bento boxes with a variety of options in each one! Eat better while in the car, and make mindful choices when you’re at a restaurant.


2. Work Those Water Bottles

Before you lock the door, double-check. Does everyone have their water bottles? The great thing about today is that even if you drink all of it, plenty of gas stations and rest stops have places to fill up your bottle with filtered water. Staying hydrated is another key to not overeating and curbing those cravings. It’s also a more sustainable solution than packs of plastic water bottles.


3. Try New Restaurants

Speaking of restaurants, name one restaurant that you’ve recently tried that was new. This may not be hard to do if you're an adventurous eater. But if all you can think of are your everyday staples, it’s time to mix it up.

Use your phone (or ask your kids) to look up places around you with good customer reviews and a fair star rating. Try to avoid chains and dine in a restaurant you may not otherwise go to at home.


4. Hit The Store, But Not To Shop

Whenever you make it to your destination or even just before, stop at the grocery store. Yes, you can maybe take a nap and a shower, but then make your way to the nearest grocery store! You may have run out of all those delicious car snacks and need to replenish your stash by this time. This is the time to do it. Don’t shop hungry! This way, your mind is clear enough to pick up more wholesome foods and snacks.

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5. Eat Local

We’ve already discussed eating at new restaurants. But what about exploring other sources of food? 

Let’s take a second to think about your options together and start by asking, where are you going? Talk to locals and have them help you find their favorite places to go, farmers' markets, and even locally-owned attractions that support their local economy. Take a look at the following super fun examples:

  • Go strawberry picking in north Texas
  • Visit dairy farms in Connecticut
  • Fish in the Great Lakes of Michigan
  • Find fresh seafood off the coast of Massachusetts
  • Choose from a variety of vegetable crops in California

The possibilities are endless! Also, sometimes, some of the best foods come right from the farms of the hard-working people that live and thrive in smaller towns.


6. Work With Your Family

Alright, here’s the conversation that may make a few people uncomfortable but needs to be said! Not everyone has the same taste palette, diet, or requirements. And if you’re visiting other family members, it’s important to discuss your food plans with one another.

You love your family. There’s no question about that. But everyone has their habits. You might get stuck with a morning cup of coffee when you’re typically a tea person. You might have to have your whole grain oats without choosing non-dairy options. You may even have to pick overly processed or sugary foods your body isn’t ready for. On the flip side, you might be visiting a strictly vegan household, but you like scrambled eggs for breakfast.

This is why it’s important to prepare, talk to your family about what they want, and shop for their requirements. Many family members are happy to grab whatever you need, but it’s better not to impose and make those purchases on your own.


7. Don’t Forget Your Supplements

Hitting the road can make the concept of time confusing. You’re driving forever, switch off with your partner, and occasionally end up snoozing or watching your favorite show. Other than the changing daylight, time seems to feel nonexistent. But if you have supplements with you, it’s important to take them regularly, just as you would at home. Set timers on your phone to keep up your supplement schedule and remain on track even if you’re stuck in the car for more than a few hours.


8. Space Out Snacks & Meals

It’s important not to eat too much. Being in the car can make you and your family feel bored, which can cause you to eat more than you should. Especially when you’re not even hungry. 

Again, you can use your phone to set timers or keep an eye on the clock before whipping out the snacks. Eat small meals throughout your trip with your pre-packed foods, and you’ll be far less likely to binge, shop hungry, or stock up on junk foods that won’t fuel your energy.


9. Be Open To Cooking While Away

Before you laugh, let’s take a second to think about how road trips can be. Driving all day might not make you feel like the most adventurous version of yourself. This is where it helps to pick one of your favorite meals to cook up in the kitchen. 


You can unwind for a moment by making your favorite meal and not worry about dressing up for a restaurant or compromising with the kids on fast food. You can eat your meal and relax with a board game, family movie night, or some sleep before exploring wherever you are.


10. Get Feedback From Your Family

Once the trip is over, talk to your family and ask what they liked, didn’t like, and what they would like to do again. It opens up a conversation about your trip and what you did together. It can be fun to reflect on what you enjoyed and even talk about what didn’t go as planned.

But when it comes to eating on the road, it’s nice to note what your family truly enjoyed versus what they could do without. Next time you’re planning a road trip, it will be much easier to shop and pack items everyone will enjoy. That way, you’re not wasting money on food or the time preparing it if it’s not something that your family will eat.


Take Mindful Choices Everywhere You Go

Plan, prepare, and save yourself a lot of time and energy before hitting the road. It’s possible to remain on track even when you’re out and about. There’s no reason you should feel overly stressed about eating on the go.

Looking for more helpful information? Download my Travel Guide and hit the road whenever you’re ready!

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