Fitness Facts: Eating healthy while traveling
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Many people will be traveling at some point this summer, which often means they’ll have difficulty eating healthy. Here are some key points to help:
- Preparation is the key! If you do not prepare, you could be stuck with what’s available.
- If you are on the road, invest in a cooler and ice pack to take with you when you travel. Fill it with healthy food, such as vegetables with hummus, fresh fruit or grilled chicken. Remember to pack water to keep you hydrated.
- If you are staying at a hotel and there is a grocery store nearby, pick up healthy items to have in your room. Avoid highly processed items, such as canned food. Read labels to minimize sugar.
- Use your best judgment at the hotel continental breakfast. Avoid pastries and baked goods. Choose simple, whole food options. Fresh fruit, yogurt and oatmeal are good ways to start your day. A little egg for a protein source can benefit you as well.
- a. Avoid juice and high sugar drinks. They will zap your energy quickly.
- b. If you choose a carbohydrate, go for the ones with whole grains and fiber, such as a wheat bagel. Add a little peanut butter for protein and sustained energy.
- Choose the healthy alternatives when eating at restaurants and rest stops.
- a. When stopping at a rest stop, choose foods that are high in fiber and protein, such as mixed nuts, fresh fruit and protein bars. Again, check labels and keep the sugar to a minimum. Labels that say “low fat” or “all natural” often are full of sugar. Many manufacturers claim low fat, low calories but actually add more sugar to replace the fat. The fat, as long as it is not trans-fat, can be very beneficial to help sustain your energy.
- b. If you’re eating at a fast food restaurant, always choose grilled items and avoid high calorie salad dressings. Choose the apple slices in place of the fries! Resist the urge to upsize your meals!
- c. Avoid crispy chicken and french fries.
- d. If you have the option of a sub sandwich restaurant, choose whole grain bread or flatbread, add lean meat, such as turkey or chicken, and load up on as many vegetables as you want. Limit high fat condiments, dressings and cheese. Choose a healthy side over a cookie or chips.
- e. Skip the combo meals and drink water!
- Carry healthy snacks with you and do not starve yourself. The hungrier you get and the longer you go between meals, the more apt you are to make poor food choices.
If you eat healthier and make wise food choices, you will have more energy to enjoy your vacation time!