Eating well on the road is not always easy. Long hours behind the wheel, little rest and the inability to cook a healthy meal are everyday challenges to eating well on long journeys. Restaurants, snack bars and convenience stores are often quick options to fill up before going on the road again. However, it is well known that the food supply in these establishments is not optimal for achieving your goals, whether it be performance or weight loss. Being well equipped can therefore help you navigate this food traffic.
What to choose?
Knowing how to put together a healthy snack or meal is important when you are about to make a choice at a restaurant. For a main course, a balanced plate is divided into four:
- two sections are reserved for vegetables (cooked or raw),
- a section of proteins (meats, dairy products, nuts, etc.) which help to satisfy hunger and
- a section for starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, bread, cereals, etc.) which are the primary source of energy for our body and brain. To keep focus for long hours, opt for complex carbohydrates (containing starch) like whole grain bread and pasta, oats, high fiber cereals, etc. and limit refined sugars.
- A glass of milk or a piece of fruit can accompany this plate. Examples would be: a grilled chicken breast with a salad with dressing (on the side) (or cooked vegetables) and rice, or a burger with a salad. Pay special attention to the preparation methods when describing the food on the menu.
Some other practical tips:
- Opt for baked, steamed, or broiled foods to reduce fat.
- Don’t be shy about asking for substitutions! Ask for rice or a baked potato instead of fries.
- Add a salad or grilled vegetables to complete it all.
As for snacks, those that contain carbohydrates and a source of protein will go a long way! Think fruit with nuts or hummus or cheese with pita bread or crackers.
Put on the brakes!
Restaurants and convenience stores along highways offer a lot of products that are high in fat and sugar. Foods with more fat are digested more slowly and can lower your energy levels and … make you sleepy! Too much protein can have the same effect on digestion and drowsiness. On the other hand, if your plate is well balanced, as described above, you will avoid these undesirable effects.
To help you avoid slipping on your next trip, here are some examples of healthy (green), limit (yellow) and avoid (red) choices when eating on the go.
In summary, the choices you make during your journeys will greatly influence your ability to stay focused, awake and have better reflexes behind the wheel. In addition, a more balanced diet obviously brings a feeling of well-being and better general health!