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Road Trip: 4 Eating Guidelines



We just got back from a road trip to Yellowstone National Park.


It was the longest drive we’ve ever taken as a family. Over 15 hours each way.


We passed through parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The red, dry deserts gave way to green flatlands interlaced with flowing rivers surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It’s easy to see the lure of fly-fishing out there. So peaceful.


Yellowstone is known for it’s thermal features, geysers in particular. Old Faithful did not disappoint nor did the clear blue thermal pools. It stayed light until after 9pm, so we could explore the area well after dinner.


As long as we had bug spray.


Eating on vacations in general can be tricky, but road trips pose their own special kind of challenge.


Most roadside diners aren’t well known for their locally grown, organic, seasonal vegetable offerings. “Comfort” food is more the name of the game. Beige and carb-y.


I needed a plan.


For both the driving days and the Park days here were my guidelines:


  1. Environmental control. The snacks we packed for the car included a favorite treat for the kids, but none for me. My bag had yummy grapes, protein bars and some cashews.   Perfect for satisfying the hunger pangs but not good enough to be binge-worthy.


  1. Less wine. A National Park vacation does not conjure up ideas of colorful cocktails with little umbrellas, so this might not be fair. In the beginning I just wasn’t in the mood but by later in the trip I was having one glass of wine with dinner (there was a huckleberry margarita in there—I had to try it, huckleberries are the thing in Yellowstone—remember Yogi Bear?).


  1. Walking. We walked during the day and we walked after dinner. New, beautiful scenery makes it effortless. Moving more than usual positively impacts your calorie day.


  1. Veggies. I made a point of ordering the vegan dish whenever they had one. Not as easy on the road, but available in the Park. At any meal I loaded up on as many veggies as I could, knowing there would be plenty of meals without them. Bonus: I found I was perfectly satisfied with a veggie dinner and brought that knowledge home with me.



I ended up gaining 1.5 lbs. after the 7 days, which was gone after one day of my usual fare at home. I’d call that a success.


Planning as best you can, being flexible and resuming your usual routine once home will make the trip that much more enjoyable. So the only thing you will permanently bring home is pictures.




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