NU-TRAIN SURVIVAL SERIES: Navigating Highway Rest Stops

Whether visiting the kids at camp this summer, dropping them off at school, or if you’re just taking a vacation that involves driving, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself at a highway rest stop or two. Once there you will probably ponder what most of us do – “is there any healthy food here?” Below are a few survival tips that may help: TIP#1 – Avoid eating at rest stops altogether by packing healthy snacks before you leave. Some snack ideas include:
  • Raw vegetables: carrots, sliced peppers, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms and broccoli
  • Fresh whole fruit
  • Lowfat String cheese
  • Yogurt in a tube
  • Sandwiches (made with whole wheat bread, lean meat, and mustard)
  • Energy Bars (I recommend Luna, Pria, GoLean Crunchy, and Nutritious Creations brands)
  • Soy Chips ( I recommend the 1.5 ounce Glenny’s Soy chips)
TIP#2 – Choose wisely if you have no alternative At TCBY: The most common rest stop vendors are Sbarro, Roy Rogers, Taco Bell, Nathan’s, Subway, Mrs. Field’s, and TCBY. When presented with these options you’re best bet is a turkey or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with vegetable toppings and mustard from Subway or somewhere similar. Another safe option is a salad with one protein on top (i.e. chicken or turkey). If neither of these “best bet” options are available it is still possible to make good choices: At Sbarro:
  • Mixed green, Greek or Caesar salad
  • Add a slice of pizza if desired, cheese or vegetable. The pizza has 460 calories/slice but this is still less than any of their other entrees
At Roy Rogers:
  • Grilled chicken breast sandwich or a roast beef sandwich without cheese
  • A side salad or vegetables would be a good accompaniment if available.
At Taco Bell:
  • The soft tacos are the leanest item on the menu. Try them with chicken or grilled steak.
  • Always go “Fresco Style” (substituting salsa for the sauce & cheese)
  • BEWARE: the Taco Salad has 790 calories and 42 grams of fat with the shell (420 calories without), the Zesty Chicken Border Bowl has 730 calories and 42 grams of fat, and the Nachos BellGrande has 780 calories and 43 grams of fat
At TCBY:
  • Order a small size of either the nonfat frozen yogurt (110 calories per ½ cup), nonfat, nondairy sorbet (100 calories per ½ cup), or no sugar added, nonfat frozen yogurt (90 calories per ½ cup)
  • No toppings allowed
  • BEWARE of the smoothies: choose only juice-based smoothies (not yogurt-based)

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