Oh the dread. Twelve hours in a car for two days.
Then, after a day and a half hanging out on campus for move-in and related activities, hubby and I turn around and drive 24 more boring hours back home.
With travel, as with pretty much everything in my life, I am an over-planner and an over-thinker. So…
- Our route options are mapped out and programmed into our GPS.
- I’ve put together a long list of reasonably priced, bed-bug-free hotels plotted out various distances from home.
- We’ve compiled every conceivable item that my teen might (or might not) need in the coming year.
- Our 11-year-old van has been in for a tune-up and brake repair.
- The neighbors know we are leaving and our older son has been prepped to house-sit.
- The paper is cancelled and the video recorders are set so we don’t miss any favorite TV shows while we’re gone.
Now for the most
important challenging part, yet to plan. The food. Because if you’ve learned anything about me by now, it’s that I have a little bitty issue with food. Which is only exacerbated by travel!
Road trip challenge 1: The nibble and nosh. I don’t know about you, but when I’m sitting in the car for hours on end, I want to eat. Seemingly constantly. Much as I will try to not give in to this overwhelming compulsion, car snacking on such a long trip is inevitable. The plan: Pack and load. Figuring out my healthiest options that can survive the drive and bringing them with me. Yes, we’ll have a cooler. Two, probably. But this is a longgg drive during an unusually hot summer so the ice won’t last long. I’m thinking fruit and string cheese and sliced raw veggies and grape tomatoes and nuts. My husband is probably thinking candy and cookies and that I’M nuts! The teen is probably just thinking about finally getting out of the house and couldn’t care less about food!
Road trip challenge 2: Road food. Which, with our approach to “get there as fast as we can” also might be known as, drum roll please, fast food. During past road trips, I’ve either been “dieting” or “not dieting.” The latter was easier. So many options for food if you don’t care about what you’re ingesting. But the former was difficult. And tasteless. I ate lots of wilted salads with little dressing and when there was no salad, I ate burgers without the bun. This trip, rather than “dieting,” I’m now in the daily
struggle adventure to maintain and to make a healthy lifestyle a permanent lifestyle. Not so easy on the road. The plan: Pack and pick. For the first day, when the cooler will be at its iciest, I think I’ll pack my own meals. Something healthy and tasty. The rest of the time, I’ll just suck it up and do my best with the limited options presented and steer clear of foods that might trigger a binge for the rest of the trip.
Road trip challenge 3: Timing is everything. Once we travel far enough down the road, heading west, the time difference will come into play. Meal time becomes two hours later than when I’d usually eat. Then when I’ll WANT to eat. I don’t do well when I get overly hungry. My husband can attest to that! The plan: Pack in snackin’. My pockets and/or purse will be stocked with the healthiest alternatives I can find for a quick food fix to tide me over until meals. Like protein bars (which I don’t keep at home because sometimes I like them a little too much). I’ll go for the best combination of high fiber, high protein, low sugar, and low-calorie. Also, low on flavors that might tempt me to nibble when I’m not really hungry. Like, hmm, chocolate maybe.
Road trip challenge 4: Breakfast of champions. When I’m home, it’s the same healthy bowlful, day in and day out. Beans. My great combination of protein, fiber and carbs. But, that only works for travel if I can keep them cold and then get them hot! Probably not gonna happen over the 5 or 6 days spent between a car and low-budget hotels. The plan: Pack and pick, part two. Yes, I’ll throw some beans into the cooler, just in case the planets align to have my favorite breakfast. But I’ll also pack a backup of high fiber, low sugar cereal, which can be easily eaten out of a bag, no milk or bowl needed. What I won’t do is partake of any proffered continental breakfast foods like donuts or danish or… much as I’d love to…. bagels. Eggs, okay. Fruit, yep. Yogurt, great on my cereal. Still undecided, what I’ll do the morning we have a family pancake breakfast on campus. Pancakes, like most refined carbs, are not my friend.
Road trip challenge 5: Calories in vs. calories out. There’s just no getting around this one – spending every waking hour in a car does not burn a lot of calories. There will be pretty much no opportunity on this trip for exercise. Wake up, hit the road. Hit the hotel, hit the bed. Wake up, spend the day on campus with my son. And so on. The plan: Pack and walk. I will bring workout clothes just in case the opportunity to move my butt presents itself. And, if I can get my hubby, who is not as early a riser as I, out of bed the days we are staying near campus, I will drag him along as my
bodyguard workout partner for a morning stroll. Other than that, maybe I can burn a few calories fidgeting in my car seat. Or walking up several flights of dorm stairs carrying loads of teen “stuff” instead of taking the elevator.
I know that I will gain weight on this trip. I am not being a pessimist here; just a realist. I didn’t even add in the related challenges of eating less fiber and not drinking enough while on the road. I’m just going to do the best I can and focus on my son. This trip is all about him. Go west, young man. Go west, old van.
Do you like road trips? How do you handle eating when you travel? Any suggestions for me?