The time for summer vacations has arrived. And, if you’re like most families, food is a big topic of discussion. “When are we gonna eat?” “Where are we gonna eat?” and “Ooh, gross. I don’t like that.” are all-too-common comments from the back seat. The good news is, by planning ahead, you can eat healthy, limit screen time, and get some exercise while traveling to your destination.
Keep reading for some tips you can use the next time you go out of town.
Eating While Traveling
Eating healthy while traveling can be hard, especially if you have picky eaters in the family. But it is possible, especially if you plan ahead. Figure out where you are going to be at lunchtime and dinnertime. Will you be on the plane? Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, consider packing some healthy snacks or sandwiches. Options include:
• Whole-fat yogurt (in a small soft-sided cooler)
• Cheese sticks or Babybel cheese
• Sliced veggies or baby carrots
• Pouches (with no added sugar)
• Dried and fresh fruit
If you will have a layover at an airport around mealtime, check online before you get there to see what your options are. Choose one or two places and let the kids choose. There are usually healthy options at most restaurants offered. Try to include protein in your meal and not just fill up on carbs and sugar.
If you’ll be on the road, scout out which restaurants are on your route. Check out the menus online to help you decide what the healthiest options are, and which places have food your kids will actually eat.
Play Travel Games
Kids these days are connected to their screens. While screen time can be a good thing in moderation, try playing road games to keep your children engaged. Play “I Spy” while driving, or look out the plane window to see mountains, rivers, and a patchwork quilt of farmland. Chances are good the whole family will see something new. Talk about what you see. Traveling can be a great time for a relaxed conversation.
Strategically Plan Pit Stops
Small children, tweens, and teens alike will sleep in the car on a long road trip. But it’s important for everyone to get out and stretch their legs, and even run around. If you’re driving, think about stopping at Welcome Centers and Visitor’s Centers, which frequently have space to run around. This is especially important for younger children who can have pent-up energy in the car otherwise. Play an impromptu game of tag or have a race in an open area. Not only will it be good for everyone to stretch, but you can burn off some calories from that fast food lunch.
If you’re traveling by air, you can walk a child to the bathroom, but otherwise, stay seated. When you land, find an area where your little ones can run, if even in circles. Some larger airports have play areas. Be sure to check ahead. If you have to wait for a connecting flight, take a walk with your kids rather than just sitting in the gate area. Just be sure to be back in plenty of time for boarding!
At Your Destination
If you’re not staying with family, consider booking at a suite hotel or Airbnb or VRBO with a full kitchen. In this way, you can cook healthy meals for your family. It’s better for you, and it will save money. Eating at restaurants 3 times a day can be very pricey!
Don’t Stress Too Much
It is a vacation, after all. It’s OK to splurge on ice cream or a fancy meal. It’s also OK not to keep the same sleep schedule you keep at home. Just plan for naps and healthy food options and physical activity where you can.
Start the Journey to Whole-Body Wellness
After you get back from your vacation, take the time to schedule some self-care. Long hours in the car or in the air can wreak havoc on your back and spine. A chiropractic adjustment and massage can help you relieve any pain or stress brought on by travel. At Cima Health, we develop an integrative plan of care that helps you achieve whole-body wellness. We see pediatric patients as well.