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One of the things many full time traveling families struggle with? Eating healthy on the road. When you’re always on the go, cooking healthy meals can be difficult and having a teeny tiny kitchen to work with definitely doesn’t help.
Fortunately, there are ways to make healthy eating on the road a little bit more manageable. Ready to learn how to eat healthy on the road? Let’s get started!
The first and most important tip we can give to those looking to maintain a healthier diet as they travel is simply to slow down.
When you’re traveling too quickly or trying to cram too many attractions into one stay in a location, it is so, so easy to turn to convenience foods in order to keep everyone fed without taking time out to cook. This is okay once in a while, but when you spend your entire life traveling, it simply isn’t sustainable.
Therefore, it is incredibly important for full time travelers to slow their pace, stopping in each spot for a little longer and giving themselves time to 1) breathe deeply, 2) fully enjoy each location, and 3) cook healthy and delicious meals for themselves wherever they roam.
Sticking to a Meal Plan
The next step to eating healthy on the road? Having a plan for each and every meal. As soon as you don’t have a plan, all those fast food restaurants become really tempting, so knowing what your family will be eating for each meal is a lifesaver.
Here are some tips for sticking to your meal plan:
While it certainly is fun to try new and exciting foods from time to time, it’s also important to recognize the fact that you probably won’t have the time or energy to make new or complicated foods every single night.
Have some fun choosing one or two more complex meals each week, but then fill in the gaps with familiar, easy-to-make meals that you know your kids will eat and that you will be able to make no matter how tired you are.
Shop for the Plan
Have your meal plan made before you head out to the grocery store, and make sure you grab all of the ingredients for each of the meals you plan to have. Having ingredients close at hand helps remove any excuses for not cooking and eating your healthy meals, making healthy eating on the road easier for everyone.
Some people find it is much easier to stick to a meal plan when they meal prep once a week (or once every few days if you plan to shop more than once a week). Use this day to do as much of the prep work as you can in order to make the actual cooking part of your day as simple as possible. For instance, you might chop vegetables, pre-cook meats, and make and freeze any soups or casseroles you plan to eat.
For some adventurers, the most tempting time to grab a less-than-healthy food is at lunch time during a big adventure. To avoid this temptation, always have the items needed to pack lunch close at hand. It’s not difficult to throw some sandwiches and veggies into a bag, and you’ll save money and time in addition to sticking to a healthier diet.
Make Use of the Slow Cooker
Lastly, we highly recommend using a slow cooker to help you stick to your meal plan. This tip works great because it allows you to throw everything into a pot in the morning, set the cooker to low, and return home after a day of fun to a fully cooked meal. We love using this hack on those days when we go on long hikes or to explore museums.
Stocking the RV
Keeping the RV stocked with healthy foods and ingredients for home cooked meals is crucial to ensuring you keep eating healthy on the road. Unfortunately, because RV kitchens are so small, this can be a bit tricky. You might have to get creative, but there are ways to go about it!
Here are our top tips for keeping your RV stocked with healthy food choices:
Fresh fruits and veggies go bad more quickly than processed foods. On top of that, there just isn’t a lot of space in an RV fridge for keeping cold things. Planning to shop a couple of times a week will ensure you can keep the healthy foods in stock in your RV kitchen, making healthy eating on the road a bit easier.
Avoid Excessive Packaging
Items that come with tons of packaging are extra space consuming. This is a big problem when you live in a teeny tiny space. Try buying things from the bulk bins whenever possible. When this isn’t possible, move your foods over to stackable containers that are easier to store and will help ensure you don’t waste any space.
Know What Needs Refrigeration
Sometimes, we refrigerate fresh fruits and veggies simply because that’s what we’ve always seen done. That doesn’t mean all produce actually needs to be refrigerated though. Learn whether the produce you buy actually needs a place in your refrigerator before you give up that precious space. The more fruits and vegetables you can store outside of the fridge, the easier it will be to stock up.
Invest in a Produce Hammock
Keeping produce outside of the fridge is great for saving fridge space, but it does present another problem: finding a place to store it outside of the fridge. For this, we recommend a hanging fruit basket or fruit hammock. These are great because they get the fruits and veggies up off the counter and even keep them safe while driving down the road.
Making Eating Healthy on the Road Fun
Of course, it also helps if you can make eating healthy on the road a fun experience. The good news? This is totally possible when you tie healthy foods into your travel adventures. From visiting farms to cooking with friends, there are tons of ways to make healthy eating exciting.
Here are our top tips for doing just that:
Instead of going out to dinner with friends, take advantage of the beautiful places that you park and grill outside together. You can make some really delicious and healthy meals outside on the grill and you’ll get to enjoy amazing scenery, wonderful friends, and the great outdoors while enjoying your home cooked meal.
Related: The Best Grills for RV Living
Explore Local Farmers Markets
Immersing yourself in local culture is one of the best things about traveling. Why not learn about the places you’re visiting by shopping the local farmers markets? Not only will you get to meet new people and enjoy foods and other aspects of the local culture, but you’ll also get to pick up some healthy food (and maybe even some new kinds of produce) while you’re at it.
Stop at Roadside Stands
In a similar vein, we also highly recommend stopping a the small stands on the side of the road as you travel. The produce at these stands is almost always top notch and the ability to get to know some locals and hear their story is absolutely priceless. This is an excellent way to enhance your travels and your diet simultaneously.
Go Produce Picking
If you visit an area that is known for one type of produce, make a point of visiting a local farm to pick your own produce. This is a super fun expereince and a great way to teach kids about where our food comes from. Of course, it’s also another chance to connect with local culture and the people who call the place you are visiting home.
Choose Local Restaurants
Eating healthy on the road doesn’t have to mean skipping restaurants entirely. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy eating out once in a while as a treat and as a way to really get to know each place you visit. In order to get the most out of your meals out, choose restaurants that use local ingredients whenever possible. Use the recommendations of locals in order to ensure you’re getting authentic cuisine and try to aim for a food type that the area you’re visiting is known for.
As you can see, the answer to how to eat healthy on the road is actually fairly simple and straightforward. Slow your pace so you have time to cook healthy meals, create and stick to a meal plan, keep the RV stocked with yummy healthy foods, and make healthy eating an adventure.
By using these simple tips, you should be able to get your family back on the healthy eating bandwagon before you know it!
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