Food on the Road
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Food on the Road
We just came back from a 3 day trip to Tahoe, and had a great
time. We had some difficulty feeding our 5 and 3 year olds
heathy food. Every where we went, it was the usuall burger,
fries, chicken nuggets, fried, processed, un-healthy food. We
did pack some snacks and healthy morning cereals. We are
planning a trip to Yosemite coming up in a few weeks, and I
know we will encounter the same issue. Does any body have tips,
tricks, suggestions for how to eat healthy on family trips ?
My best suggestion is to use a few less drive-through fast-food
restaurants, and a
few more sit-down places. Most sit-down restaurants (even someplace
Square) will substitute plain steamed vegetables for fries, or provide a
You can also usually order a grilled chicken breast, grilled fish,
sauteed shrimp, beef
or chicken fajitas, pasta, anything that's been sauteed or grilled
instead of deep-
When we do this, we just bite the bullet and order an adult meal for our
son (an only
child). You might consider ordering an adult meal and an extra plate,
and split one
meal between your two kids.
Another trick we have is to do ''veggie-for-fries'' substitution on two
of our three
meals, and split the remaining order of fries between the three of us.
we all get a few, but nobody feasts on nothing but fries.
If you do need to go to a fast food place, most chains now offer fruit
cups and milk
in kids' meals in place of fries and soda -- or, if your kid eats salad,
possibility too. If you get such a meal with a plain hamburger or hot
dog, it's not
great food, but better than all fried stuff.
I always try to do as much research as possible ahead of time
about where we will eat so I can avoid too much junk. A little
junk is ok, and sometimes the fun part of the trip, but after 2
meals of that it loses it's value and you start to feel gross.
Get an idea of where you might want to stop and what there is to
eat in the area. I also rarely order kids meals - they are so
unhealthy. And your portion is almost always enough to share!
So, order healthy and share with the kids.
we pack a small cooler (?10 qt) and a cardboard box. the 2 fit
one in front of the other in the unused backseat behind the
driver (toddler/6yo in the other two seats). the box holds a
serrated paring knife (a bit safer, and kept at the bottom of the
box) bread, crackers, trailmix, apples, oranges, bananas,
envelopes of instant oatmeal/grits (we use the coffee maker in
the motel to make hot water, or use an immersion heater, and pack
a coffee mug and bowl/spoons), ramen cups, etc. whatever's handy
when i'm packing, or i remember to buy. the cooler might have
cream cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, hummus, leftovers that
don't need heating (like pasta salad), cold cuts, avocado, baby
carrots, fruit that needs cooling (nectarines, grapes, berries,
plums, pears, cut up melon, persimmons... whatever's in season).
we sometimes find a deli and get sandwiches if we didn't bring
cold cuts, and get some potato salad or tabouli or whatever looks
good. we also hit the prepared food ''buffet'' of upscale grocery
stores, and get soup, salad, roasted chicken, mac-n-cheese, etc.
once for a late (9:30pm) meal we happened to be in a motel with a
microwave, so i got several frozen dinners: curried chicken,
chinese rice plate, mexican beans/rice, and we ate smorgasboard
on longer trips just hit the grocery store when necessary to restock.
~skip the restaurants.
One thing I do for car trips is bring a bunch of healthy food.
When possible, we stop at parks for a break to eat and also run
around. However, my kids (4, 7) and husband love fast food so
there's always a pull to do that. I counter by feeding the kids
and myself healthy food (in the car or at a park stop) first
whenever I can, so that if we do go for fast food they usually
don't eat much of it and it's more like a ''treat'' than anything.
Other than that, the routes we take frequently I've tried to
scope out decent, healthy, fast, kid friendly places to eat and
we make a point to stop at those. But going somewhere new that's
- Happy traveler
I've been successfully (!) on the Weight Watchers program for
about 6 months now, and really don't want to compromise the diet
during an upcoming car trip this summer. We'll be traveling for
about 7 hours/day for four days in a car packed to the gills with
gear, baby, and dogs (leaving not much room for a cooler full of
celery and fat free refries). I doubt we'll have any access to a
microwave for breakfasts, lunches or dinners. So what to do??
Does anyone have any Weight Watcher's strategies for the
truckstop restaurant and/or finger food that we can take/buy
along the road?
First of all, congratulations on your success. And
congratulations on your dedication to staying on plan while on
the road. I think there are many things you can do. First of
all, if you stop at truck stops, eat salad, including fruit
salad. For breakfast, have oatmeal or yogurt. Even bacon can
work on the plan (3 pieces for 4 points, yum). Plain toast is
also workable, although it wouldn't be low points bread unless
you brought your own. Maybe you can also get some lightly
prepared chicken too, or ask for hard boiled or soft boiled
eggs, maybe they would make them for you. If you can take a
cooler, take yogurt, cottage cheese, even low-fat deli meat.
Apples and oranges are very portable fruit and don't need to be
refrigerated if consumed within days. Bagged baby carrots travel
well, although other vegetables might be hard to manage, hence
those truck stop salads. If you like beans, Eden makes some nice
low-points beans with a pop top lid. You can find them at the El
Cerrito and Berkeley Natural Food Stores. Whole Foods might also
have them. You can buy tuna in compact, vacuum bags. I don't
think it tastes as good as canned tuna (it's not flakey like in
the cans), but it's certainly portable. I have found the bags at
Albertsons. I also like Louis Rich packaged chicken I find at
Andronicos. Different flavors, like grilled, southwest, italian,
and honey roasted. Would need to be kept in a cooler, but it's
nicely packaged, although high in sodium. Also take along a box
of low points cereal (Nature's Path, Optimum, also at Natural
Foods Store) for a snack.
Good luck. I look forward to seeing what others recommend as I
too have travel plans coming up.
Definitely if you are driving take a cooler so you can keep
fruit, salad, and other good picnic food with you. Fill it up
at supermarkets rather than roadside junk food stops. This will
keep you away from the french fries and other greasy stuff.
There's a whole new world of beautiful stopping places out there
when you've got your own supplies, plus you don't have to listen
to kids whining for food or drink, plus the cooler makes a good
barrier between two older kids in the back seat. I learned this
from thirteen years of annual three day driving pilgrimages.
You may want to look for more responses at WeightWatchers.com
fellow weight watcher
this page was last updated: Nov 23, 2008
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