- Stick to your meal schedule. If you normally have lunch at one o'clock, then pull over at that time and get something to eat. By not letting yourself get famished, you can make smarter food choices.
- Get out of the car to eat. No matter that chains like Burger King and McDonald's make half their money from the drive-through window, the best way to eat smart while on the road is to do it inside. That way you can pay attention to what you eat. By contrast, when you wolf down your food in the car, it doesn't register as a meal, so you don't feel satisfied.
- Control portions, and choose wisely. Go for the children's menus at fast-food restaurants. It costs the chains only pennies to supersize a meal, but larger portions are no health bargain. Substitute milk, juice, or diet soda for a regular soda, and add a salad whenever possible; avoid gloppy dressings.
- Eat with a fork and a spoon. Order foods that force you to slow down. You can't eat salad or chunky soup with your hands, and these are often the healthiest food choices.
- Travel with water. The air-conditioning in cars is dehydrating.
- Pack fruits and vegetables. Don't use food to occupy yourself or bored children. If you must pack snacks, make them apples and carrots, not crackers and chips. (For more nutritious options between meals, see Real Simple’s list of healthy snacks.)
It’s easy to make poor food choices when you’re traveling. Here’s how to stay on course nutritionally.