As lockdown eases, we’re spreading our wings – and that means more commuting, travelling, and holiday driving. With UK holidays enjoying a boom this year, you and your family might be heading off down the M4 in search of adventure. Don’t let service stations scupper your healthy eating intentions.
One of the common pitfalls I see with long journeys by car (or train and plane for that matter) is food and drink. People who eat sensibly and moderately during their normal routine have very different habits on the road!
I’m not sure why this is – perhaps it’s linked to a sense of freedom or the lack of anchoring habits. Either way, it’s bad news for your diet if you are trying to lose weight or keep it off.
As a family man myself, I’m familiar with the logistical challenges of long drives with small children. I assure you it’s possible to keep to a healthy eating routine without adding any extra stress to the journey. Here’s my best advice on healthy eating on long journeys.
7 healthy eating tips for long journeys
1. Prioritise hydration
Summer travelling can be hot and humid, so make an extra effort to stay hydrated with plenty of water or sugar-free squash. Not only will this help you stay cool but will offset most of the urge to snack on your journey. Top tip: add ice to your water bottles to keep drinks extra refreshing.
2. Stick to meal times
You can lose a whole day travelling, but that’s no reason to spend it snacking. Stick to your normal meal times and aim to eat the same amount as usual.
3. Pack healthy snacks
It’s a good idea to pack food for the journey so you don’t need to waste cash (and calories) at service station food stops. Good options include fresh fruit, chopped vegetables, chicken satay sticks, healthy sandwiches/wraps/pittas, and quiche.
4. No mindless snacking
It’s really easy to munch your way through a long car drive or train journey, but all those calories add up. And travel days tend to be much more sedentary than usual. Avoid the temptation to pack “snacky bits”. Instead, amuse yourself or the family with music, radio quiz shows, or whatever stops you from snacking.
5. Avoid the drive-thru
So many motorway service stations now have drive thru eateries and coffee outlets. They make it extremely easy to just pick up a quick snack or a coffee and sweet treat. Don’t fall for the convenience! Drive past, not through…
6. Service station food isn’t a must!
Remember, just because you’ve stopped at a service station you do not need to buy food. Use the toilet, walk the dogs, let the kids burn off some energy…but don’t swing by the fast food or confectionary places. You wouldn’t buy that on a normal day, would you? If you really need to buy food, opt for healthy and filling choices like chopped fruit, crudites, sliced chicken, jerky. M&S always comes through with the healthier choices.
7. Stretch your legs
One of the biggest issues with travel days is that you tend to be so much more sedentary, sitting for hours at a stretch and barely registering any steps. To counteract this, go for a brisk walk every time you stop for a break. Even 10 minutes really makes a difference.
Get in touch to discuss simple nutrition changes that can lead to a huge transformation in your health and body.
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