Increasing airline ticket costs are making the car a more popular transportation option when traveling to visit family members over the holiday season. But sitting for hours in a car can take its toll – both on your health and your wallet – and after packing the car full of luggage and presents, packing food can be the last thing on the list.
Amy Virus, a registered dietitian with Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education, stressed that a bit of advanced planning can go a long way.
“Think about buying smaller sizes of low-fat snacks that won’t perish in the car,” she said. “Things like small boxes of raisins, pretzels and even 100-calorie packs of low-fat cookies are great for car trips.”
Rather than stopping at rest stops for greasy, overpriced fast food, Virus suggests stocking a small cooler with things like whole grain bread, lean lunchmeats, peanut butter, waters, sugar-free drinks, fresh or canned fruits, cheese sticks, pre-cut vegetables and even small containers of yogurt.
And being stuck in the car is no reason not to get exercise. She recommends pulling into a parking lot every few hours and walking around outside. While inside the car, try ankle circles, toe touches (not if you’re driving, of course!), neck rolls and arm stretches.
“On car trips longer than 2 hours, moving around can help keep you alert and feel less stiff at the end of the journey,” Virus pointed out.
So when you hit the road this holiday season, don’t let your travels take a hit at your health.