How to avoid “garbage gut” on your spring break or summer road trip

Spring marks the beginning of road trip season and whether you are taking a day trip or crossing state lines, staying healthy makes a world of difference in how much you will enjoy your trip.

Eating out and hitting drive-thrus can get really old really fast, leaving you with a feeling of "garbage gut" after being in a car all day.

Nutritionist Trish Brimhall joined us with four things that will help.

1. Eat out no more than once per day. Generally, dinner is a good chance to stop somewhere for a meal in a restaurant but eating breakfast and lunch 'from scratch' saves money, time and can provide better nutrition. Consider grabbing toast and some fruit at your hotel before you hit the road, then plan to picnic for lunch (much more scenic and memorable).

2. Plan for your 'car meals'. The key things to include will be produce, whole grains (3 grams of fiber per serving or more) and protein. The first two are a bit easier to store, but good protein sources that don`t require refrigeration gets a bit trickier. You may not always have the ability to maintain a chilled cooler, so consider bringing along some shelf stable protein. Premier protein makes a great convenient protein source when you`re either picnicking from your car, or out hiking in the great outdoors. It is shelf stable and in 160 calories, you get 30 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar, so it makes a great protein addition to your on-the-road meal. Nice to have something that tastes good and is good for you especially as this time of year starts us thinking about healthful, sustainable changes.

3. Snack smart. Instead of packing the car with bags of chips, consider nuts, jerky, or even popped wheat berries. Dry cereal and dried fruit make great road trip snacks that don`t leave you feeling 'blah' after hours sitting in the car. Involve the whole family in planning their favorite snacks and let them customize their own cereal, fruit or seed snack bags increases the likelihood they`ll be more content, car snackers.

4. Stay well hydrated. Pack plenty of water and remind yourself to drink even if you`re not staying thirsty. We tend to mistake thirst for hunger - and even more so when we are bored and cooped up in the car. So, drink before you snack and keep the snacks proportioned in small, reasonable amounts to avoid mindless munching and garbage-gut.

You can find more from Trish at nutritiousintent.com.

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