What Not to Eat on a Road Trip
Nobody has ever asked me what not to eat on a road trip. But it's good to know because there are a lot of disgusting gas station bathrooms out there.
What you put in your body
during your road trip is of
the utmost importance - and what you don't put in your body is just as
important. Why? Because long-distance driving is like a sport. In fact, it technically is
a sport; they do show NASCAR highlights on ESPN. Like any athlete, you
need to keep your mind and body working at their best so that you can
reach your goal (Motel 6) in record time.
Six Tips on What Not to Eat on a Road Trip
There's no single food or category of food that's absolutely wrong to
consume on a road trip. But we do have several general guidelines on
what not to eat on a road trip:
- Foods you've never eaten before. When you're out on the
open road exploring new parts of the country, it's tempting to try some
of the unique local specialties.
Trouble is, if you've never eaten a
particular food before, you don't know exactly how it will affect your
digestive tract and your brain over the next few hours.
If you really
want to be adventurous in what you eat, do so after you've stopped for
the night. At least you'll have the night hours to recover if something
doesn't agree with you.
- "Iffy" foods. Got a sandwich on the passenger seat that's
been there just a little too long, and you're not sure if the mayo is
A hard-boiled egg that smells slightly “off”? A carton of milk
that's a bit warm? Don't risk it. You may be setting yourself up for a
highly unpleasant (and time-consuming) bathroom stop. Better to waste a
few dollars' worth of food than to make yourself sick.
- Too much of anything. Road trips are (ideally) vacations, and vacations are a time for enjoying big, delicious meals. But again, driving is a complex physical and mental activity, and you won't be at your best in mind or body if you bog yourself down with gigantic meals.
Eat relatively light,
relatively nutritious meals during the driving hours of your day. You'll
avoid that groggy, nappy feeling that can put you and your passengers
- Anything super-salty. Being thirsty on the road can be a
huge distraction. The more you have to reach down to your cup holder,
the less attention you'll be paying to the road. Plus, who wants to keep
paying $2 for bottled water at mini-marts?
- Anything super-spicy. This is similar to the concern about salt, but with a bonus: spicy food can do a number on your digestive system, too.
- Loads of sugar. Go ahead, have dessert. Just don't have
three desserts at once. Every sugar high will be followed by a sugar
low, leaving you in no mood to concentrate on your driving or negotiate a
As you can see, it's not that difficult to remember what not to
eat on a road trip. Much of it boils down to moderation and common sense. If we've saved you from even one regrettable rest stop, we've done our job.