Archive for June 14th, 2009

Road Trip Picnic Tips

When we’re on the road our family only eats in restaurants (rarely fast foods) and consider it a “treat”. Typically we bring our own picnic food and snacks, also a cooler, and this limits us in our food budget so when we do go out to eat, we can splurge a little.

Here are some basic road trip picnic tips:

Don’t rely on fast food to satisfy your hunger – bring healthy meals along on your travels, in a picnic backpack or cooler! We all know that fast food is unhealthy – it’s loaded with fat and empty calories, and if we eat it too often, our health will almost certainly suffer. When you’re on the road, you may think that you have little choice; nibbling on crackers or peanut butter sandwiches just doesn’t seem like a satisfying meal. The drive-through offers convenience at a low price, and more often than not, we give in to immediate gratification for our rumbling stomachs rather than make a healthier choice.

Don’t give up on making wise meal choices while on a road trip. There’s an easy way to keep your hunger satisfied while you’re on the road, without breaking the bank or harming your health. Prepare healthy meals ahead of time, and bring them along with you in a cooler. Today’s picnic coolers and backpacks provide stronger, higher quality insulation than ever before, so your meals stay cold longer. Plus, it’s an item you will use again and again for many other purposes – you’ll end up bringing it along to the beach, the park, sporting events, and many other places. The ideal cooler will have enough room for the amount of food you need to have on hand, and will stay cool with an cold pack rather than requiring ice. Be sure there’s enough room in the cooler for several meals, depending on how long your road trips normally last. Getting yourself a portable beverage container is also a good idea – a vacuum flask thermos can carry hot or cold liquids such as coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, and soup.

Some good ideas for food that travels well include fresh fruit and vegetables, vinegar-based pasta salad, sliced deli meats and bread, cheese, and individual packets of condiments. You could even pack some of last night’s leftover casserole into a reusable plastic container, and plan on eating it cold. Choosing snacks that pack a lot of protein will keep you feeling satisfied longer than sugary, processed treats. Don’t wait to eat until you’re starving – you’ll have a tendency to crave fatty foods loaded with carbs, which will leave you feeling lethargic after you eat.

Taking a short break from driving is important – it will help clear your mind and relax your body so you’re able to focus better when you get back on the road. This is the perfect opportunity to stop at a rest area, park, or even on the side of the road to enjoy your meal. Don’t eat while driving – not only will you not enjoy your meal as much, it can put yourself and others in danger. Keep a picnic blanket in the car so you can get out and stretch, and enjoy a real picnic meal wherever you are. Portable blankets with shoulder straps or carrying bags are the perfect choice for this usage.

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