The school year’s come to an end, and you’re ready to begin the next family journey into summer school, camp and vacations. Anyone who’s ever traveled with kids knows how challenging it can be to avoid the unhealthy trap of on-the-road fast food. “I’m starving! When can we eat?!” your kids yell relentlessly from the back seat. As a concerned parent, you’re tempted to stop at the closest restaurant, whatever it is — anything to get them fed! To help you avoid the lure of fast food and other not-so-nutritious solutions, below are some tips for healthier eating while traveling.
When eating out at a restaurant, steer your child toward healthy menu selections.
- Cooking techniques can make a big difference in the nutritional content of the meals. For instance, avoid fried foods by ordering baked, grilled or sautéed options instead. If you’re stopping for breakfast, order hard-boiled eggs and dry toast. (If your child refuses to eat his toast dry, you be in charge of adding the butter — the savings in the fat calories between adding only a pat of butter vs. dousing toast with generous servings are tremendous.)
- How about either cold or hot cereal, enjoyed with lowfat milk? Ask for a side of fruit and yogurt and you have yourself a healthy, well balanced breakfast.
When you can’t avoid it…
Let’s face it — as much as you may try to avoid fast food, sometimes eating it is inevitable when you’re on the road. So for those times when you have no other choices, here are some tips for healthier meals:
- Think small: order the regular-size hamburger rather than the double double.
- Try a grilled chicken breast sandwich instead of the crispy chicken patty or nuggets. Watch the toppings and add a dollop of mustard and ketchup, holding the mayonnaise and special sauces.
- Pass on the soda fountain and order a carton of lowfat milk to boost up calcium.
- Try any sub sandwich shop and order lean meat such as turkey breast, roast beef or lean ham on a whole-wheat roll or wrap. Add lettuce, tomato, green pepper and onions to pump up vitamin A, C and fiber.
Even though you take family vacations so you can relax and unwind, a good dose of activity will do everyone good. Walks, hikes or renting bikes are great ways to spend quality family time. They’ll also get your kids exercising without them even knowing it!
So get in your cars and enjoy your next family road trips knowing that you can make healthier lifestyle choices while away from home.