By: Julie Ross; The Healthy Home Cook
As any military family can understand, sometimes the journey is the best part. It’s not always about where you are going and what you are doing, but making sure to enjoy the time you have with your military family member while they are not deployed. The free time we get with our spouses are few and far between. So, being able to enjoy that time is very important. Growing up in a military family and now married into one, I know how traveling can be a major part of our lives. Whether you are on a road trip or PCSing across the country, being cooped up in a car for multiple days is never fun. But if you don’t have a choice in the matter, you should always remember that staying healthy and hydrated is critical for an enjoyable trip.
Trying to keep your family happy and satisfied during the journey can be a hard. Believe me, I know your pain. My family recently moved across the country and experienced the typical road trip in all its’ glory. Long stretches of nothing but highway and deserts, accompanied by a crying baby and the barks of a very energetic border collie. While I wouldn’t change any of it…we all know how long trips can take a toll on the mind and body. One thing that surprisingly kept everyone in good spirits was having plenty of snack and drink options. You would be shocked to know how much food can alter the mood of my family’s trips. As long as everyone has at least a few options to eat, then I know the trip will go much smoother. Below are a few tips I always try to remember when packing the car for a PCS move or vacation. Take note, I’m sure they will help you on your next journey.
Pack Snacks That Require No Ice: From fresh fruit to wholegrain cereal, there are many snack options to have on hand that require no ice. Trust me, dealing with hungry kids (or husbands) on the road is never a good idea. They will, without a doubt, run to sugary sweets or salty chips without hesitation. But if you have easy “no ice” snacks available, everyone will be much happier. I personally love to pack bananas, apples and gluten free cereal to munch on.
Pack REAL Food: Pack real food instead of buying expensive junk. It is one of my biggest pet peeves to buy snacks at a gas station that is full of sodium and calories, when we could have packed the car with healthier options. Homemade granola bars, trail mixes, and raw nuts are a few of my favorite options to pack. Not only are they cleaner than the preservative filled candy bars at a rest stop, but cheaper and keeps everyone satisfied longer. My homemade Safari Energy Bars are always a big hit on our family road trips.
Pack Different Options: Keep your family full with a balance of sweet and savory snacks. We all have a craving for something sweet now and then. As much as I like to stay away from sweets (especially while not being able to exercise in a car) we are only human! Make sure to pack some healthier options for the long haul. Chocolate covered raisins, homemade fruit roll-ups and low-sugar oatmeal cookies are a few great alternatives to have. My go-to sweet treat is always a piece or two of dark chocolate.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: I cannot express enough how important it is to stay hydrated while on a trip. Pack plenty of water in your cooler. The warmer the weather is, the more likely you will become dehydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to headaches, tiredness and fussiness. No one wants a car full of fussy, thirsty passengers. If you get sick and tired of drinking plain water, try flavoring your water with any type of fresh fruit (lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers). Iced tea is another great choice to have, as well.
Military life is definitely a roller coaster, but your trips don’t have to be. Eliminate the stress of getting ready for your road trip by utilizing these tips. They have helped my family survive many cross country trips by saving money, staying healthy and stress free.
Hi, I’m Julie, creator of The Healthy Home Cook! The Healthy Home Cook is a blog where I get to share my love for nutritious foods and advice for living a strong fulfilling life. I am a certified personal trainer, new mom, and military wife. Not all of my recipes are meat-free, but most are gluten and allergy friendly. My goal is to provide people with delicious, satisfying recipes that will help them embrace a healthier lifestyle.