In last week’s video recipe blog, I mentioned that it was our final breakfast in Belleville, Ontario where we lived for almost 12 years. Today we’re travelling across Saskatchewan and Alberta on route to our new home in Courtenay, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. That’s almost 5,000 kilometers over 10 days in a mid-sized vehicle with two adults, two children, and nothing but our essentials.
Driving across Canada is proving to be the ultimate test of just how committed a health enthusiast I am. Maintaining good eating, moving, and sleeping habits while on the road is one of the biggest obstacles I hear about from my clients. And I totally get it. Being out of your regular routine, eating in restaurants, and socializing with others — all without the comforts of home — can be a perfect storm for eating junk food, skipping workouts, and staying up way too late. I vowed to not let that happen to me and my family.
Here are some of the creative ways we’ve discovered to stay healthy on the road.
This may sound cliché, but failing to plan really is planning to fail. Roadtrip 101: Never leave home without a full cooler and utensils for everyone.
I like to prepare some essentials ahead of time, such as salad dressings, mayonnaise, guacamole, snacks (muffins, haystacks), a protein source, and a veggie tray. Then I throw in some yogurt, a block of cheese, a jar of salsa, and some dry essentials like fruit cups, apple chips, seaweed snacks, and honey. That way we can pull into a rest stop or have a picnic whenever the mood strikes and produce a healthy meal/snack, or visit a grocery store for a few fresh items to complete it.
Just the other day we hit up a grocery store and purchased kale salad in a bag, a few cans of tuna (the kind you open without a can-opener), and some berries. Because we’d planned ahead, we could easily swap out the polyunsaturated oil-laden dressing with our own, cleaner option, and mix the tuna with our delicious homemade mayo for a more nutritious meal.
Eventually you will have to eat at a restaurant, though. But do not panic! There are always healthy options, you may just have to ask for them.
Here are some of our favourite special requests.
- Can the kids please order off adult menus? (let’s face it, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers and fries, and spaghetti that comprise nearly every kids’ menu don’t exact scream nutrient density!)
- Can you please hold the bread basket? Ditto for croutons?
- Is it possible to have a grilled chicken breast instead of the breaded one?
- Do you have oil and vinegar dressing? And could I please have that on the side?
Once you know a few simple tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice meal out and wake up the next morning without regrets.
If you have young children, getting a hotel with a pool is well worth the investment. It’s literally hours that you’re guaranteed to be active. Often there is an exercise room adjacent to the pool, so (depending on the age of your children), you can get in a quick workout while keeping an eye on them.
The other way we build activity into our road trips is by stopping every few hours at a park or a playground. Use your creativity and the natural surroundings to your advantage. Hike up a mountain. Sprint on the beach. Toss the Frisbee or football. Do some chin ups on the monkey bars. Or enjoy the scenery while engaging in some body weight exercises. The sky’s the limit here, so use your imagination and make it as fun as possible.
There’s no better way to get a good night’s sleep than sharing a hotel room with your two young children! Take advantage of the room darkening blinds, keep the lights low after the kids hit the sack, and the next thing you know you’re sleepy yourself. And it’s only nine o’clock!
The same phenomenon happens when you go camping. The amber light of the campfire in stead of the blue light from the screens we normally stare at well after dark is the key to engineering a restful night’s sleep.
Now I want to hear from you. What tips and tricks have you discovered for staying healthy on the road? Let’s help each other overcome one of the most common stumbling blocks to healthy living by leaving a comment below.
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