Eating healthy on the road can seem like an impossible task; the very idea of a road trip elicits thoughts of family size bags of chips and candy. However, if you have focused on healthy eating all year, you don’t want to stop because you are going camping with your RV. In fact, if weight loss is your goal, one of the number one factors of successful long-term weight loss is maintaining healthy routines, even on vacation.
So how do you make healthy eating happen in the world of hot dogs and s’mores?
- Prepare Ahead
What you eat doesn’t have to change that much from when you are at home, whatever kind of RV you have. Sure, it is easier to cook a healthy meal when you have a luxury unit with a full kitchen, but with the proper planning, you can cook healthy meals with just a cooler and a firepit – it just takes planning. If you are going on a short trip, do all of the prep work beforehand and have your meals chopped, seasoned, and ready for the frying pan before you leave. Stuff a full fish with lemon and rosemary, chop up some vegetables, add olive oil and salt and pepper, wrap each separately in tin foil, and you have a meal ready for the fridge and the fire. The more you have prepared in advance, the less likely you are to cave to the siren song of junk food.
- Buy Local Produce
If you are going on a longer road trip in your RV, you will need to purchase food as you go. A great way to know you are getting the freshest (and therefore most nutritious) fruits and vegetables is to buy what’s in season in the area you are visiting. If you happen to be traveling through the US, you can download an app that can do that for you . If you are in Canada, you can download a pdf of what produce is in season in what month.
Make an effort to venture out, wherever you are, to explore farmer’s markets and small fruit and vegetables stands. Go out into farming areas and look for u-pick farms. If you make good eating part of the adventure, you are more likely to enjoy it.
- Have Healthy Snacks and Grab-n-Go Options at the Ready
Whether it is for the road trip to the destination, or for a day pack for a hike, having nutritious snacks at the ready makes it much more likely that you will eat healthy. Canned tuna and wraps are excellent for a picnic lunch; fruit like apples and oranges don’t require refrigeration and can stand up to some degree of abuse. Dehydrated fruit and nuts also make for a wonderful snack that is portable and light.
The key with snacks is that they should be for bouts of hunger in-between meals, or for exertion. If you find yourself using snacks to pass the time, it might be time to break out the Alphabet Game for the drive – anything to keep you focused and busy. If you are overusing snacks because you are often hungry between meals, it is time to look at the nutrition of the previous meal – was there enough protein, like animal products or beans and legumes? Were there enough healthy fats, like avocado or cheese? Was there enough fiber from vegetables, whole grains, and legumes? Protein, fat and fiber keep us full longer and help keep our hands out of the chip bag. So, if you find yourself eating continuously, pay attention to the previous meal and what could be done to improve future meals.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be antithetical to camping. Camping is a great way to remind yourself that nature has a lot of the answers. If you embrace more nature – in the form of whole foods – you will have much more energy to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.