Thursday, January 12, 2012

All-American Road Trip

If you were playing Pictionary and you got the word “road trip”, what would you draw?  My drawing would involve a car filled with fast food wrappers, musical notes, an empty Dairy Queen Blizzard container, and a big gulp.  Oh yes, the quintessential American road trip.  Nothing quite says diet derail like sitting on your rump and eating unhealthy snacks for 8 hours.

Considering I live in Seattle, and my family lives in Montana, I do my fair share of traveling by car.  I used to look forward to the gas station snacks, Dairy Queen treats and the occasional hamburger. Then one trip I realized what bad habits I had developed and how absolutely terrible I would feel after a trip. I analyzed my routine and modified it, so that my bad habits were turned into good ones, without taking the fun away from the trip.

Here are some of my favorite road trip rules:

1.) My favorite part of a road trip is picking up snacks. Instead of picking out some overpriced junk food at a gas station along the way, I started to go to Trader Joe’s on the way out of town to buy stuff for my goody bag.  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s, just go to a store that you love and buy some of the treats listed in my Snacks post. Some of my favorite Trader Joe's road snacks include:

Eggplant hummus (this is the lowest calorie hummus
Baby carrots
sugar snap peas
Rosemary Wisecrackers
Flatbread crackers
Brown rice sushi
Luna Bars (peanut butter cookie is my favorite)
2.) Air-popped popcorn also makes a great road snack.  I pop some before I leave and put it in a large ziploc bag.  Make sure to let it cool before you put it in the bag, or the kernels may melt through.

3.) I avoid fast food at all cost, but if I have no other option, I make sure to evaluate my choices wisely.  All fast food chains list nutritional information on their websites.  I look up the information on my phone before I make a decision.  Subway is usually a safe bet, load up on veggies and skip the mayo and cheese.  Mustard is a good alternative to mayo because it provides moisture, but has 80-90 less calories/tablespoon than mayo.

4.) I always ate a DQ Blizzard around the halfway point of my trip.  Then I realized that a medium Blizzard can have over 1,000 calories. Yikes! I try to skip the treats, but if I need one I usually get a light Frappuccino from Starbucks.  They are only 100-150 calories and are very tasty.  If DQ is a must, a small vanilla cone is 230 calories...not as bad as that cookie dough Blizzard.

5.) Being tired makes us want to eat because our bodies are craving energy.  To avoid this, I try to get lots of sleep the night before a trip. If extra sleep is impossible, I have a little extra coffee.

6.) I highly recommend getting in some exercise before you get in the car for the day.  Even if it is just a short burst, it will make you feel better during your trip.  I usually hit up the morning boot camp class as my gym, but a simple run around the neighborhood would work perfectly.  

Safe travels!

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