5 Ways To Make a Summer Roadtrip More Nutritious

road tripSummer is here! It’s time to gather the kids, hop into the car, and explore parts unknown. Reconnecting with nature is a great way to get ourselves away from screens and into a relaxed state of mind. The only pitfall can be having to scavenge not-so-healthy snacks from a gas station counter when you run out of food. Fortunately, with a little advance planning, your roadtrips can be a chance to enjoy nature and eat well, too!

  • Be sure to bring along car- and kid-friendly snacks like dried fruit, nuts, raw veggies, and cheese. Better yet, enlist the kids’ help a few days before the trip and give them easy snack projects to make: granola, nut-butter-based balls (mix together nut butter, seeds, a touch of honey or dried fruit, and coconut/and or chopped chocolate, then roll into balls), even fruit or meat jerky if you have a dehydrator.
  • Plan for picnics: bring disposable plates and silverware, plenty of napkins, and a big blanket and/or tablecloth. Most highway rest stops are well-maintained and have clean restrooms and landscaped green spaces. You’re bound to stop there, anyway, so why not enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner while you’re there?
  • Check out The Eat Well Guide (eatwellguide.org) to tap into a database of 25,000 restaurants, farms, and markets that specialize in local food. Chances are, you’ll stumble across a tasty and good-for-you dining destination. You might even find farms offering tours or markets featuring kid-friendly live events.
  • Research your destinations before you leave the house. Not only do travel guides like Lonely Planet highlight food-centric attractions like farmers markets, online booking sites like Airbnb and HomeAway often have listings for farm stays or ranch stays. Agritourism is a great way to discover where food really comes from! Do a search for “agritourism” and your destination state/city to see what’s offered. Many states have agricultural associations that team up with tourist boards to create memorable food-focused experiences. Bed and breakfasts are also great options for locally minded travelers who prefer made-from-scratch meals.
  • For local one-day roadtrips, visit food-focused places like U-pick farms, dairy farms, grain mills, cider mills, or farmers markets. Learning about food is even better when you can taste it! Groups like Michigan Farm Fun (http://www.michiganfarmfun.com/) are great resources for finding out what’s going on close to home. Or do a search for “food festival” plus your state/city to see if there’s a tasty event to attend, then build your trip around that. Summertime is the best time to hit the road in search of good food!

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