Just about everyone loves a vacation, but there aren’t too many people that like to spend a lot of time in the cramped confines of a car. Especially when kids are involved, a long trip in a vehicle can test everyone’s nerves. For the family following healthy Paleo eating practices, time-intensive car rides can be challenging for another reason … you may have to eat in the car.
Even if you don’t dine in your vehicle, and you stop somewhere along the way to use the facilities provided by a rest center or park, you want to make a few considerations. You don’t want to spend a lot of time eating. You should focus on meals and snacks that are quick and easy to consume. Potentially messy meals should be avoided since you don’t want to devote valuable time to cleaning up, and you should add protein to every meal.
Why Focus on Protein
Protein is a slowly processed macronutrient, and this can keep the bellies of your travel companions full for a long time. Protein also provides another travel necessity … lots of all-day energy. Artificial sources of energy such as refined sugar, energy drinks, and caffeine deliver the all-too-familiar crash and burn experience. You have a massive jolt of energy that is followed by a significant drop in energy.
Packing protein in your travel lunches on long trips can keep you and your family from giving into the ever-present fast food and soda combinations you will encounter along the way. The further you have to travel, the more times you may have to stop to fuel up or to answer the call of nature. As soon as you pull off of the highway, your children will start pointing out their favorite fast food restaurants. If you have prepared in advance and added protein to your Paleo travel meals and snacks, they may be full enough to ignore the drive-through nutrition nightmares which may be present on your trip.
Fill Up a Cooler
A cooler is a necessity on a long road trip. You can eat a large meal or just a snack whenever hunger hits, and you don’t even have to stop driving to do so. Whole fruits and vegetables, like celery, carrots, apples, and bananas are nutrient-dense and filling. Pack along some protein-filled hummus or some other type of Paleo-approved spread and the combination of your spread and a simple stick of celery can be filling and very healthy.
Don’t forget to pack along lots of water or some other Paleo-accepted beverage. This may increase the number of times you have to stop for a bathroom break, but it is important to stay hydrated while on the road. A properly hydrated body means better focus and reaction time for the driver, and a lack of hydration can lead to hormonal imbalances and emotional issues that leave everyone short-tempered and grouchy.
Don’t Forget Fruit for the Kids
Children have higher carbohydrate needs than adults. This means Paleo-friendly fruits should accompany any long car ride. Snack-sized plastic bags with diced pieces of melon, oranges, apples, grapes, and bananas can satisfy the carbohydrate needs of your traveling children. Fruit also serves as a filling complement to a major meal while traveling. Focus on keeping your meals simple and easy to eat, remember to pack along lots of protein, and make it easy to clean up afterward. This will keep your healthy Paleo approach to eating rolling right along with your travel plans.