Aspirus dietitian shares advice on how to make Memorial Day road trips healthier

Packing healthier food options will save you from stopping at a convenience store, or for fast food
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:24 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - If your Memorial Day plans include a weekend road trip, there are several ways to may the trip healthier when it comes to on-the-go snacking.

Ashley Chrisinger is a Registered Dietitian at Aspirus. She said the best advice for families is to plan ahead.

“If we wait until mealtime to decide what we should eat, whether we’re on the road or out and about, we’re surrounded by things that are a lot less healthy and a lot less affordable. If we pack our own, which takes a little bit of pre-planning, we can bring all of the food groups and have them right on hand,” said Chrisinger.

She said packing a cooler with snacks ahead of time will ensure healthy options are available. Ideas include pre-cut fruits and veggies, sandwiches or crackers, salads trail mix, and cheese.

“If this is overwhelming, you can try a hybrid approach. It’s pretty easy to find starches and proteins on the road, but fruits and veggies are rare. And if they are available, they’re pricey. If you pack a small cooler with just these, you can still save money and maintain your healthy diet,” she said.

Long car trips can sometimes be draining and that can make people reach for sugary options.

“Refined carbohydrates like cookies, donuts, and things available at gas stations feed our brains fast, but the energy won’t last. And these sources of sugar aren’t good for the rest of our bodies,” explained Chrisinger.

She said when you’re starting to feel tired on the road, go through a checklist to help you make the best decisions: 1) Am I hungry? When is the last time I ate? 2) Can I get energy without food? Consider conversation, music or rest to stop to stretch. 3) Do I need caffeine?

She said some choices are better then others when picking caffeinated drinks.

“Matcha tea is an alternative caffeine source people use in the afternoon for more focused energy without the jittery feelings,” she said.

Chrisinger simply explained that by packing a small cooler you can still save money and maintain your healthy diet.