Eating Clean on our way to TN

My family and  I recently took a trip to visit my great grandmother as she turned 100! From my grandmother to my daughter we have 5 living generations of women! My amazing great grandmother Beach is still as smart as a whip and very healthy for 100. She uses a wheelchair from time to time but walks around frequently and still enjoys a great life! I can only hope to be so healthy and to be loving life like she is at her age… heck, I can only hope to make it that long.

It was late September when my family and I made the drive to Tennessee for the mother of all family reunions. I met family I didn’t even know I had. It was a blast! Road trips can be tricky though when trying to eat clean and healthy. What is a girl to do when stuck on the road with every fast food restaurant known to man calling her name from the signs covering each long highway. Chick-fil-a! Yes please! While I didn’t get a chance to enjoy a chicken sandwich from one of my favorite fast food chains, this wasn’t due to superior will power. I merely was not near one at an opportune time.

I do eat some fast food while on these trips. I had chicken salads from Subway 3 different times when stuck on the road with very few options. I do try to avoid processed sandwiches/burgers most of the time. Salads, while seemingly good options are often loaded with chicken coated and injected with ingredients I don’t dare attempt to pronounce. But when given the option of a burger on processed white bread and a chicken salad I will choose the later of the two fast food evils. Sometimes a girl’s just gotta eat.

I also get very snacky on road trips. I think this comes from a combination of sheer boredom and the association I have with road trips and snack. As a child my family and I would drive from Wisconsin (where we lived), to Georgia (where a majority of my extended family live) each year for Christmas. As a kid and candy-holic I would stock up on every sugar filled product known to man and eat the entirety of my collection of sweets on my trip to visit family. So I have to prepare myself as an adult for road trip snack attacks. Plus snacking is just fun… so if I have healthier options that are still treats to me I don’t feel deprived or tempted to buy the junk from each gas station we stop at along the way.

Some of my favorite “clean” snacks:

road trip snacks

I usually bring a cooler along to keep perishables fresh and cool. Here is my list of road trip friendly snacks:

  • Appelgate cold cuts: these nitrate/sugar free cold cuts are great for a high protein snack and I can add these to salads or eat them plain.
  • Apples and home made almond butter
  • Raw chocolate “cookies“: O-My-Word! These are awesome little crunchy chocolate snacks sweetened by dates. A great chocolate/crunchy snack fix! I but them in bulk amazon.com (affiliated link) for trips like this! My kiddos loves these too!
  • Raw “pizza” snacks:  These flax seed pizza flavored snacks are delish. I also buy them at amazon.com (affiliate link).
  •  Salted almonds: I buy my almonds from Trader Joes and they carry some with 50% less salt that I love… just enough salt but not overwhelming.
  • Dried mango: I buy “just mango” from Trader Joes. I could dehydrate my own but this is a convenient treat for trips when I don’t want to spend a ton of time preparing food.
  • Carrot sticks: Love this simple snack
  • Eden Organic Pumpkin Seeds: This is another treat that I buy at amazon.com (affiliated link).

I often bake some of these myselt with coconut oil and sea salt at home, but when on a road trip it’s nice to have these premade. yum!

pumpkin seeds recipe2

  • Fresh fruit: cherries, strawberries, blueberries etc…
  • Chocolate Banana Bread Protein Brownies: I love making a batch of these for a road trip. They are backed with health carbs and protein and yes, they are delicious. My whole family enjoys these as a special road trip snack.
  • Happy Tot Organic Baby Food: I pack these for the kids. Yes, they are technically baby food but they are like little portable smoothies. They do have citric acid in them, but they are a nice way to get veggies into my kiddos diet when we are on the road. They love them! I buy them using subscribe and save on amazon.com for the lowest price.
  • Macadamia Nuts: can we just say yum?! I buy mine from Trader Joes or Target… salted and dry roasted. Yes, I eat a lot more salt than usual on road trips.
  • Larabars: My favorite on the go sweet snack. These bars are sweetened with JUST dates (if you buy the right kind… be sure to read the ingredient list). My favorite date sweetened flavors are coconut cream, peanutbutter, and cashew.  And I can’t wait to try these chocolate coconut chew  My dad really enjoys these “jocolat” larabars.
  • Organic Cheese Sticks: I buy these at Target or Trader Joes
  • Kale chips! Sometimes I make my own but for road trips I buy them at Trader Joes for convenience sake.
  • Rice cakes (from Trader Joes) with homemade almond butter are a nice snack the kids and I both love as well!

I also often pack a lunch so I can avoid at least one fast food meal. I store these in my cooler. My 2 go to road trip:

  • Salads with chicken, eggs, or turkey meatballs
  • Lunch meat roll ups: Applegate lunch meats wrapped around a cheese stick then wrapped in lettuce.

When dining out, I often go for a chicken salad, or a nice steak, chicken breast, or a burger with no bun. I get veggies as a side and most restaurants will let you replace fries with more veggies! I often avoid the processed carbs served at restaurants and save my carbs for snacking times. Some restaurants serve sweet potatoes but I avoid them if in fry form since they are often cooked in oils that are less than satisfactory.

Overall, I lighten up a bit on my eating and don’t let it stress me out. If eating causes stress it’s doing more harm than good. I try to stick to healthy choices but indulge a bit as well. I think Chinese buffets are my favorite vacation splurge. But even at the buffet there are “healthier” choices. This post isn’t to make you think you have to eat perfect on a road trip or when traveling but to show that eating well isn’t impossible… especially if you prepare ahead of time.

I enjoyed everything from salad to “chicken skewers” (at the Chinese buffet), to 90% dark chocolate and salted almonds. We had an amazing trip and I came back feeling as if I didn’t completely fall off the clean food eating wagon.

My brother and I chatting with great grandma Beach. She looks absolutely amazing!

great grandma beach

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