Nothing says “summer” like a road trip with good friends. And, unfortunately, often synonymous with a road trip is unhealthy eating, leg cramps, backaches, dehydration and bad sleep. But, that can be avoided. Before you hit the road, consider these six simple tips for the healthiest road trip of your life:
1. Pack a Ton of Healthy Snacks – Let’s face it, there are about 39,000 cities in the USA and only about 400 Whole Foods Markets. You are going to get hungry, and the odds are that it will be in a town where your only options are a gas station, McDonalds or the local greasy spoon (we speak from experience).
Do yourself a favor and load up an ice chest with healthy snacks, here are some ideas: apples, grapes, watermelon slices, hummus, multi-grain crackers or tortilla chips, nuts, healthy snack bars, carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter packets, dark chocolate and pre-assembled sandwiches.
We also don’t leave home without almond milk and a blender bottle. Simply toss some Organic Protein in your shaker bottle for an instant smoothie to tide you over until meal time. Or, if you’re eyes are getting heavy, don’t reach for the Red Bull, opt for Organic Energy instead and save yourself from those uncomfortable caffeinated sugar-high energy drink jitters.
2. Map your Meals – Since you have plenty of healthy snacks, you can handle waiting a little longer for the perfect meal. So, take some time, do some research and map your meals. There may be a hidden gem along your path that a quick Google search will uncover, and there’s nothing worse than settling for Subway when you could have enjoyed a gourmet sandwich at the local French bakery in the next town over. Often times in even the smallest towns you can find an authentic Mexican or Thai restaurant that uses fresh ingredients and will be willing to work with your dietary desires.
3. Drink Water – Road trips make you dehydrated, and being dehydrated can affect your body (hello leg cramps), mind (isn’t vacation about stress relief?), and even your sleep patterns. So, the easy solution is to drink more water and avoid high-sugar, high-caffeine beverages. Yes, this will mean a few more bathroom breaks, but you’ll need them for our next tip anyways.
4. Streeeetch – The best way to get around a stiff neck and backaches is to take the time to stretch at every stop. Some of the most beneficial stretches for your back are the quad stretch, hip flexors, and lower back extensions. Avoid bending forward, although it may feel good to bend forward, it does more harm than good. For your neck, try neck retractions and extensions. If you have a little extra time, stretch your arms and wrists and take a brisk walk or do some jumping jacks. Get the blood flowing.
You may also bring along your yoga mat for a few sun salutations and some stretching to get you going in the mornings before you hit the road – a travel-sized foam roller is also handy for giving yourself a little deep tissue massage.
5. Take Pride in Your Posture – Another way to mitigate back and neck pain on the road is to support your posture. Avoid slouching and consider investing in seat supports or pillows to support a correct posture.
6. Protect Yourself from the Sun – That windshield might block rocks and debris, but the sun flows right on through. So, bring a light long-sleeved cardigan to protect your arms from the sun, and consider using a natural sunscreen on your hands and face. You’ll also want to protect your eyes from UVA, UBV and HEV light, so you might invest in a good-quality pair of sunglasses.
Now that you’re ready, it’s time to hit the road! Where will your travels take you? Let us know in the comments below.