Many people love a good road trip. The open highway stretches out in front of you. There is excellent music on the stereo, and if you’re lucky you have a few friends along to help with the driving responsibilities. Whether you’re out to see the National Parks our country has to offer or off to a Spring Break destination, long drives across hundreds or thousands of miles can make it tough to maintain good eating habits especially for children who require higher amounts of nutrients to help their growing bodies. Here are several ideas to help you and your family make health-conscious choices while making good time on the highway.

Non-Perishable snack options such as granola bars or jerky are an excellent way to get much-needed vitamins and minerals while on the road.

When choosing granola bars, look for crunchy options versus the soft and chewy bars. The chewier the bar, the more added and unnecessary fat it contains. Better yet, consider making your own ahead of time before you leave on your journey.

Here is one recipe that allows you to customize the bars with your own add-ins so you can flavor the granola bars to your liking. Granola Bars.

When shopping for beef or turkey jerky, check the grocery store rather than stopping at gas stations. Many grocery stores sell jerky much cheaper than convenience stores, which will save you money.

Other non-perishable options that will keep in the car without needing to be refrigerated include apples, oranges (though they are sticky!), bananas, peaches, and many other fruits. Several veggies including carrots and cauliflower also don’t require refrigeration.

Coolers are a great way to keep food and beverages cold and smaller models need only a couple of frozen ice packs to keep their temperatures down. Fill zip top bags with sliced fruits or veggies. Cauliflower, carrots, and radishes are just a few that won’t wilt in the cooler.

Small salads in plastic dishes with snap on lids are a great way to grab a quick snack at a rest area. Avoid lettuce and baby spinach, both of which wilt. Opt for green and red cabbage instead, shredding carrot and other veggies on top.

When traveling with young ones, small sandwiches made on hamburger buns and wrapped tightly in plastic are just right for a kid’s hands, and can make a satisfying snack on the go, without requiring a stop.

Bottled water, 100% juice with Vitamin C, and 100% vegetable juice are three good options to keep yourself and the family hydrated. Plus you get much needed vitamins and minerals from juices.

Every now and then you’re going to get sick of being stuck in the car. You’ll need to stretch your legs. Fortunately the highways of the United States are dotted generously with rest areas. A great many of these beautiful and scenic areas offer walking paths. Take a break from driving and take advantage of the trails. Enjoy a short run, or let the kids run around and work off some of the energy they have been building up while in the car. Rest stops also have pet areas where Fido can get some exercise as well!

When you are traveling across the country, or even just a few hundred miles, the space in your vehicle becomes a precious commodity. You more or less “live” in your car while on a trip, even with hotels and motels along the way. By planning ahead and making space for a cooler and a reusable grocery bag or two you not only have nutritional control over your food, but you will save valuable time and money by not having to make all the additional stops along the way.

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