How to Survive a Cross Country Road Trip, Part I: Nutrition

How to Survive a Cross Country Road Trip, Part I: Nutrition

posted in: Adventure, Tips | 0

My husband and I were stationed in Quantico, Virginia for 4 years and then we got orders to Pendleton out in California.  We were so excited for the move, but also the long trip we planned to get there. We needed to stop first in Tennessee to visit his family, but from there we jetted up north to Chicago and took a northern route from there.  From Chicago, we stopped in Sioux Falls SD, Custer WY, Cody WY, Jackson WY, West Yellowstone WY, Kalispell MT, Glacier National Park MT, Sandpoint ID, Bend OR, San Francisco CA, and finally to our destination of San Clemente CA!!

We spent 16 days away from home, which means 16 days away from our home cooking and easy access to the gym.  Nutrition and fitness (not to mention saving money) are important for both of us, so we went at this with a plan of attack. 

Here are some tips on how to combat NUTRITION on a road trip:


  • Hotels: Take advantage of the complimentary breakfasts offered with your hotel stay.
    • Most offer eggs which covers you on fat and protein
    • Most offer fruit, whole wheat toast, and/or oatmeal which covers you on carbohydrates
    • If you workout prior to eating, you are a bit more flexible on the carbs and can enjoy a little cereal or other sugary carb.  If you didn’t just workout, I would steer clear of this.
  • Grocery stores:
    • Just because you’re on the go, doesn’t mean you can’t stock up at the grocery store.
      • Pack a medium/large cooler from home or purchase one
      • A list of things you can buy from the store and stay on track:
        • Protein:
          • Sliced deli meat or other prepared meats
          • Hard boiled eggs
          • Greek Yogurt
          • Protein bars
          • Protein powder (bring from home)
        • Fat:
          • Raw, unsalted nuts
          • Nut butter
          • Guacamole
        • Carbs:
          • Fruit (we pretty much stuck with apples and grapefruit)
          • Tortillas and/or bread (if your diet allows it)
          • Plain rice cakes
        • Veggies:
          • This one is a hard one.  I’m not a huge fan of raw broccoli and other veggies take a lot of prep (slicing) which isn’t easy on the road.  The way we got our greens in was SPINACH.  We would make salads with the deli meat, guacamole, and already sliced veggies such as cucumbers and grape tomatoes.
          • Spinach
          • Pre-sliced cucumbers and/or peppers
          • Grape Tomatoes
    • Restaurants
      • Most of our restaurant ventures were for dinner although we did go out to breakfast twice and lunch once.  Here are some tips when ordering at restaurants
        • Assume that everything you eat is going to be cooked in a liberal amount of oil or butter.  Therefore, if you are ordering eggs, know that it will be double the fat.  I typically order mostly egg whites.  For other meals, I try not to use the salad dressing or add extra fat to the meal.
        • Substitute when you can!
          • if you have the option to sub out your fries for a salad or steamed vegetables, DO IT!  Your digestive system will thank you and you are able to get some veggies in (when this is a tough time to eat them).
        • Avoid the following terms:
          • Fried/golden, battered, glazed, crusted/breaded, , loaded, stuffed, cheesy, creamy, smothered.
        • Approved restaurant terms:
          • roasted, baked, grilled, braised, boiled, broiled, poached, rubbed, seared, steamed, sautéed, spiced, seasoned.
      • If you know the portion you received is too large, don’t be afraid to ask for some of it to go!  You do have a cooler and BAM leftovers for lunch tomorrow instead of the stuff you have been eating!

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