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Healthy Road Trip Food for Your Move

September 17th, 2012 - 3:06 PM

Since U-Pack does all of the driving, many of our customers end up taking a little road trip while their goods are traveling across the country via ABF (how awesome that you can travel in your own vehicle instead of driving a rental truck).

As you know, it can be very difficult to eat healthy at fast food joints on the road. Thankfully, there are some new regulations in the works under the Affordable Health Care Act that will mandate that all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations post calorie counts on their menus. McDonald’s is jumping ahead of the game and this week will begin listing calorie information on all restaurant and drive-thru menus. This is good news for people on the go who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. (Little fun fact: Did you know there are almost 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States?)

If you’re looking to eat healthy on the road, and McDonald’s doesn’t sound like an appealing choice for every meal, here are some alternatives for healthy road trip food for your move:

Pack a cooler. The healthiest options are often those you pack yourself. If you have room your car, pack a cooler.  Fill it with sandwiches and fresh snacks, along with healthy drinks like water or flavored water. Try low-sodium lunch meats and light cheese on wheat, peanut butter and jelly on wheat, or veggie wraps.  Then stock up on healthy snacks like, light yogurt, string cheese, fruits, and veggies. Grapes are great little road-trip snacks that you can pop in like candy. Keep food cool by freezing water bottles and using them for ice packs. Then, you can drink the bottles as they thaw out.

Fast food. Even if the fast food restaurant you choose has yet to join the bandwagon of listing calorie count on the menu, you can typically find nutrition information on their website or by using smart phone apps like FastFoodCal, MyFitnessPal, and DailyBurn. A good rule of thumb is to try to stick to around 500 calories for a typical meal, and under 200 calories for a snack. Some ideas that fit into this calorie range are:  

  • Arby’s: classic roast beef sandwich and chopped side salad (430 cals), turkey classic sandwich and value curly fries (540).
  • Burger King: Whopper Jr. (no mayo) and apple fries (315 cals), Tendergrill chicken garden salad (220).
  • KFC: Original drumstick and mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw (450 cals)
  • McDonald’s: Chicken nuggets and fruit and walnut salad (430 cals), hamburger and side salad with low fat balsamic dressing (320 cals), egg McMuffin and coffee (300 cals).
  • Sonic: grilled cheese and small tots (530 cals), jr. burger and apple slices with caramel dipping sauce (450).
  • Subway: oven roasted chicken breast salad (around 200 cals depending on toppings), 6-inch turkey sub (around 300). TIP: go light on the cheese and sauve and load up on the veggies!
  • Taco Bell: fresco style crunchy taco (150 cals), chicken gordita nacho cheese (270).
  • Wendy’s: Jr. Hamburger and small chili (450 cals), five piece nugget and sour cream and chive potato (540), homestyle chicken go wrap and side salad (550).

Other healthy choices. If you have time to stop at a “sit-down” restaurant on your trip, here are some general tips for eating healthy when eating out.

  • Get water, diet drinks, unsweet tea, or drinks without added sugar. Order fat-free or low-fat milk to add to coffee, or with breakfast.
  • Start with a salad. Choose a light or vinaigrette dressing to keep the calorie count low.
  • Look for dishes that are grilled, baked, broiled, or sautéed (stay away from fried!) and ask for them to be lightly buttered.
  • Share a main dish with a friend.
  • At buffets, stick to one plate, and load it up with veggies.
  • Choose veggies for your side dish.
  • Ask for sauces on the side.
  • When the bread basket comes, eat only one item. One roll is ok, five rolls is a bit too much! I can’t blame you, the smell of those fresh rolls is intoxicating!
  • Don’t clean your plate. When you start to feel full, stop eating.
I hope these healthy tips for eating while on the road help you make good choices during your move!