Making the most of motorway services

healthy lifeBusiness travel by road often necessitates long motorway journeys and these require sustenance. Motorway Services offer amazing convenience, but not always healthy food or value for money.

To get the best Service break experience, planning is paramount:

What are we happy to pay for?

Where do we want to take our break?

What supplies should we bring with us?

Everything Costs More

The supplies that we are most likely to need at a service station are the ones that cost the most.  On my recent road trip, fuel was 10p/L more than I’d paid close to home.  A cappuccino usually costing around £2.15 was £2.90 and snacks and sandwiches similarly expensive.  But, we are paying for convenience, an expensive cappuccino can be very welcome after a few hours behind the wheel.

Where to stop

BagelOn a very long trip, it’s worth checking on-line to see which Services along the route most suit our needs.  If it’s a beautiful day, we may want to sit outside but avoid a pavement full of smokers.  To purchase healthy salads and sandwiches we usually need Services with quality food stores rather relying on the cafes.  Smaller Services may have little more than a fast food outlet, some are grim and give little respite from a long journey, but there are a few gems.  The Gloucester services at Junction 11a on the M5 motorway has won awards for their home cooked food and farm shop.  The same family owns the well reviewed Tebay Services, near the Lake District on the M6.  The relatively new, enormous services at Cobham on the M25 is highly rated for its wide range of food options, likewise the Peterborough services on the A1, owned by the same company.

What to bring

Water.  The atmosphere in the car is dehydrating, especially on a hot day.  A sports bottle of water works well.  I half fill the plastic bottle with water, freeze it overnight and top it up in the morning, providing a suitably cold drink for a few hours.

The longer the journey, the more rest stops should be taken, and the more supplies should be carried.

Green and red apple slices stacked on white backgroundEdible sensory stimulation is useful.  Apples, carrot sticks, and radishes are my favourite healthy, crunchy snacks.  In times of particular need, such as queues or very long journeys, extra strong mints can provide some relief.

Sanitary Arrangements

It’s great that use of toilets in UK Services are free, but there can be queues, and they aren’t always clean.  Many countries charge a fee, resulting in more sanitary toilets but it can be frustrating if you don’t have the right coins.

Additional Measures

Congestion Apps: vital for avoiding massive hold ups.

Podcasts and playlists: set up the next installment before leaving the services.

Wet wipes and tissues: essential for any travel but particularly when eating is involved.

Exercise: check out Julie’s tips for stretches and boosting blood circulation in breaks.

Arriving ready for business after a long drive requires proper use of Service stops for breaks, rehydration and light food that doesn’t induce drowsiness.

©  ExtraVitality 2016

Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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