When traveling, the road to nutrition is paved with weak moments. You can easily get caught up in the whirlwind of the trip, with temptations everywhere, thwarting your good intentions. Every exit has enticing fast food options, and every tourist town has its signature pastry and ice cream shops. When it comes to eating right on the road, the struggle is real.
I remember how awful James and I were about healthy eating our first couple years of RVing. Gas station junk food, fast food restaurants, overindulging– because hey! We’re on vacation! Throw caution to the wind! We eventually realized this hedonistic style of RVing wasn’t jiving with our otherwise healthy lifestyle. Once we made a few changes, we realized that with a little planning and outside-the-box thinking, eating healthy on the road doesn’t have to be punishment at all. It actually can make it one of the most memorable parts of the trip!
Here are some of the healthy eating strategies we use for our own RV travels. Take a look, and perhaps you’ll find something that might work for your trips, too!
#1 Prep and Portion Healthy Grab-N-Go Snacks Ahead of Time
It’s easy for a bored RVer driving cross country to get excited over otherwise mundane things— like perusing the aisles at gas station stops. You can resist the temptation of gas station junk food by having healthy snacks already stocked in the RV. Even better, pre-portion out your healthy snacks in convenient grab and go bags. Portioning foods gives your brain a clear sign that you’re done once the container is empty. It’s a great way to avoid over-indulging.
#2 Don’t Eat and Drive
There comes a time during road trips where you’re craving something to do, anything, just to break up the long drive. So you reach down for your bag-o-chips and start munching away. And you keep eating. And KEEP EATING. Long driving days make RVers vulnerable to boredom binging, or thoughtlessly overeating without realizing it. The best way to combat boredom binging? Lay down a simple Rule of the Rig: Don’t eat while the RV is in motion. Drinks, sure. But eating, take that off the table. Besides eliminating the risk of overeating, the Don’t Eat and Drive rule will also encourage more frequent driving breaks. The more frequent your stops, the healthier it is for your body.
#3 Seek out Local Farms, Dairies, and Farmers Markets
A perk of RV traveling is having access to fresh local foods you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience. On your next RV trip, try researching local farms, dairies, or farmers’ markets you could shop at instead of typical grocery stores. You’ll not only get to see another side of the area you’re visiting, but you’ll also have opportunity to buy foods that might be outside your cooking comfort zone, adding to the culinary adventure. For this landlocked Utah gal, there’s nothing like the experience of buying fresh seafood from a fisherman right off the pier and then grilling it up at our campsite overlooking the ocean.
#4 Get Adventurous with New Recipes in your RV Galley
RV trips revolve around a similar desire for most of us: to seek out new and novel experiences. Why should we limit that to new experiences outside the RV? You can have new experiences inside it, too—and the galley is a great place to do just that. If you follow the last tip and stop at a local farm stand, instead of purchasing the same foods you always get, look for items that you’re less familiar with or perhaps don’t even recognize. Put your RV galley to use as you experiment with new recipes using outside-your-box ingredients. Perhaps you’ll even discover a love for a dish that was never on your radar before, all because you got creative—and adventurous—right in your RV’s kitchen.
#5 Eat (and Cook) Outside!
When Mother Nature gifts you with a perfect weather day, it’s hard to beat the experience of dining al fresco right at the RV’s campsite. Nature serenades the meal, lifting your spirits and lowering your stress and blood pressure. You’re somewhere new and (hopefully) wonderful, so lingering outside the RV while you’re cooking and eating allows you to soak up your surroundings and be present in the moment. There have even been studies that suggest eating outside actually makes the food taste better!
#6 Turn your RV’s Fridge into an Instagram-worthy Work of Art
Packing an RV fridge, especially tiny ones found in compact RVs like ours, requires creativity and planning. Stock your fridge with healthy and fresh things you know you’ll need for meals, leaving all the junk and unnecessary extras behind. Keep it organized, too, so everything’s easy to access and see. Get creative with storage containers to maximize your space, like transferring your condiments into half pint jars so you only take the amount you need. And once you have it stocked and ready for your trip, be proud of your accomplishment— and show it off on Instagram!
While these 6 strategies can work great, don’t get too strict with it. Allow yourself indulgences, too! Because really, life’s too short to not eat the tourist town’s famous slice of pie. For most of us, a treat here and there isn’t going to do any harm. Keep it healthy most of the time to improve the quality of your health, but allow indulgences occasionally to improve the quality of your life. And besides, isn’t that why you bought your RV in the first place?!
Happy and Healthy Travels, all!