Road Trip Tips from a Stronger U Coach

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Crank up the radio and roll the windows down, it’s summer, which means Stronger U members are hitting the open road on road trips, camping excursions, and so much more. Stronger U coach Katie Leahy, RD, is dishing her common member tips for making this year’s road trip the best one yet, with gas station and packing tips, how to handle the road, and much more!

Pack Your Car for Success

The perfect road trip has a couple of non-negotiable essentials: good music and food (of course!). And while there’s nothing quite like the open road and an open bag of something crunchy to munch the miles away, when we’re working with a Stronger U coach, sometimes those salty snacks can hurt our progress! When prepping for your upcoming road trip, consider what foods you can pre-pack to keep you awake, satisfied, and focused on your goals while you’re away. Just like your car cannot drive on an empty tank of gas, neither can you. By keeping food smart for a road trip means a little prep/planning ahead of time and a better idea of what to look for as you need to stop along the way.

I love to recommend a handful of non-food must-haves for any car trip, including:

  • Refillable coffee mugs and water bottles;
  • a garbage bag or designated trash;
  • portable cooler or lunchbox on ice or reusable icepacks;
  • disposable utensils;
  • napkins/wet ones, and;
  • hand sanitizer.

Rest Easy at the Rest Stop

Beware of gas station fat traps including store made chicken or tuna salad (>20g fat per 2 oz.), donuts, cookies, large bags/containers of nuts or seeds, chips, peanut butter filled pretzels, candy bars, flavored coffee drinks, as we know for all of these choices a little goes a long way calorically and it’s hard to keep track of portion when your eyes are on the road and hand is reaching for snacks.

For shopping at the gas station, survey your options first (plus a quick lap will help you get a little extra movement in too). Not all gas stops are created equal, so take a look at the inventory. Highlight where the protein sources are: deli meat, low fat string cheese, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, protein shakes (I found 2 familiar kinds at one of the stops), jerky, and tuna chunk light in a pouch. These are the things I prefer to grab on the go, as food safety is always in the back of my mind. Basic rules, keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Note the two hour rule- any hot or cold food purchased should be eaten within two hours to reduce risk of getting sick. If you’re unsure if your cooler can keep food to temp, many stops offer pre-packed versions of the above that you can grab around the time you’re ready to eat it.

When fresh fruit is not available at your stop, look for no sugar added applesauce pouches, fruit cups packed in their own juices, small portions of dried fruit for great options while racking up the miles. Craving more roadtrip snacks? Check out our recent blog post for 8 Healthy Roadtrip Snacks.

Reflect on Your Return

Having a game plan ahead always makes things feel doable, and leaves us feeling more confident, which is why this is the perfect time to utilize your coach to not only prep but recoup from a road trip.  Let your coach know a least a week in advance when you can to create a tentative plan with time to chat about type and length of trip, perceived challenges, strategies, form a shopping list and/or what to look for before you hit the road based on your current individual goals. Many times that added heads up can go a long way with creating a plan that is both realistic and relevant to you and the particular trip.

I always ask members to let me know when they return. We reflect on what went well, what they felt confident with, biggest challenges and also take a minute to compare themselves this trip vs previous trips, while exploring things/strategies they would repeat and adjust for next time. Sometimes work vs family road trip look differently, so a member may have a completely different strategy needed going in.

Here at Stronger U, we want you to have confidence in your next road trip and feel good about your food plan. Road trips are easier when a Stronger U Coach is in your passenger seat, so get your co-pilot today (don’t worry, you can still choose the music). Safe travels, happy intentional snacking and turn that music up!

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