Keeping healthy eating on track while driving all day is a not an easy task. Gas stations and truck stops are stocked with pre-packaged, empty calorie foods. Staying away from salty, sugary, and convenient snacks can be difficult, but it can be done! Prep is key and starting the habit of thinking ahead needs to be practiced. One way to minimize hunger and cravings is to fuel your body properly. Protein and fat are good sources of food that should be consumed daily. Let’s look at a few healthy protein options to keep with you on the road.
- Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. They contain the right ratios of protein, fat, and omegas. Boil these ahead of time and keep in your cooler (see blog post) to peel and eat as a snack or add to salads/sandwiches.
Tip: Buy brown local, cage-free, and/or organic eggs as much as possible. The ratio of omega 3 and 6 fats become unbalanced when you eat conventionally raised eggs. Try to stock up in areas of the country that these are inexpensive while traveling through (midwest is best and easy to find).
- Pre-cooked meats
Have your chicken, beef, and pork cooked ahead of time so you don’t have to mess with it on the road. Chicken bacon ranch wrap? No prob, just make it ahead of time and have it ready to eat. Grill a bunch of chicken a day before you head out and cut into strips for salads, wraps, and sandwiches. Make some taco meat ahead as well and store in the cooler to pull out for a taco salad. Ham and turkey are also great to have handy in your cooler so you can make wraps and sandwiches with. Remember to buy either local and/or grass-fed meats as much as possible, the nutrient quality is so much better. Also buy uncured deli meats, bacon, and sausages. Uncured means they were not cured with nitrites or nitrates, which are known to cause cancer.
Tip: Prepare the pre-cooked meats YOURSELF as much as possible so you can ensure quality meat.
- Nuts/nut butter
Nuts are packed with minerals, fiber, protein, fat and omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fats. Different nuts provide different benefits so be sure to eat a variety. For example, almonds help reduce bad cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Pistachios are high in fiber and help control blood sugar after meals and increase good cholesterol. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3s, help cholesterol, and keep the heart healthy. Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium, which helps your thyroid function properly. These are just a few, but as you can see, eating a variety will strengthen your body as a whole. Pair nuts with an apple, some seeds such as pumpkin, and you’ve got a nutritious snack!
Tip: Again, buy quality nuts. Sprouted or roasted with minimal salt is preferred. Raw is also great. Be sure to watch your portions, moderation is key as with anything.
- Protein powder
A secret to the traveling person just might be protein powder. This doesn’t have to be stored in a cooler and it lasts a while. Powders typically contain the right mix of amino acids that help you build and keep the important muscle you need. They can also be a meal or post-workout snack. All you need is water to combine with protein powder, but let’s face it, adding it to smoothies or food recipes tastes way better.
Now, I’m going to keep hammering away at the quality of the food you buy and tell you that there’s a lot of poor quality protein powders out there. One of the easiest ways to get protein powder is to just buy online. A couple brands I suggest would be Orgain and Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth protein, which not only gives you the right amino acid profile but it helps you have a healthy gut (don’t let the name fool you, it doesn’t taste like bone broth). You can find both of these brands on Amazon or other websites such as Lucky Vitamin.
Tip: Bring a Nutribullet with you on the road, protein powder, and a couple other ingredients to make a tasty and filling breakfast to start your day right with a smoothie.
All of these protein options will not only make eating on the road easier, but it will improve your health overall. Set aside the chips and grab something from your bag or cooler that will satisfy your hunger, keep your blood sugar stable, improve heart health, and work to build muscle in your body. Great health starts in the kitchen, or possibly your truck!