It’s the holiday season, and many Americans are off to see friends and family. Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, it’s easy to leave healthy eating at home. Here’s how to pack good nutrition, no matter what your mode of transportation.
Stock the car, hit the road.
Fill a cooler with re-freezable ice packs and good-for-you meals such as Eat Smart Vegetable Salads Kits and sandwiches on whole grain breads or leftover thin-crust cheese pizza paired with baby carrots or sugar snap peas. Toss healthier snacks like single-serve cartons of Greek yogurt, reduced-fat cheese sticks, and fresh fruit in there, too. Take refillable water bottles with you so that you don’t have to buy water or sip calorie-laden sugary drinks. Restock the cooler for the return trip.
Navigate better eating.
When it’s not possible to pack food before you leave home, plan to eat at restaurants with healthier options, which are easy to find on your phone. No real restaurants around? Food marts and gas stations nearest to the highway tend to offer a wide range of nutritious choices including fresh and dried fruit, cereal cups (stick to whole grain types), low-fat milk, and whole grain crackers, too. When choosing a hotel room, ask for one with a small refrigerator. It may cost more, but you can save money – and calories – at breakfast and at other meals by eating in your room.
Take the skies satisfied.
When you’re traveling by air, it’s tricky to get through security with certain nutritious foods, such as milk and yogurt. You can tote some food with you and buy other essentials when you’re closer to the gate. For example, take a bag of whole grain cereal mixed with dried fruit from home and buy a carton of yogurt to go with it when you get past security. Bring along fruit and sandwiches, too.
Don’t travel “hangry.”
Delays are likely this time of year, and eating bad food, or not having access to any food, can make you very grumpy. Always pack snacks that provide filling protein, such as Eat Smart Plant Powered Protein Salad Kits, and fiber to get you through any trip, whether it’s on time or not. Stay energized and in a better mood with foods such as hard-cooked eggs, whole grain rolls or mini whole wheat bagels, single-serve containers of peanut butter and hummus, pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, or homemade trail mix made with whole grain cereal, raisins, and chopped walnuts.
Elizabeth (Liz) Ward, MS, RD, is a freelance writer and nutrition consultant. She is the author of several books including her latest, My Plate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. As a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) for nearly 10 years, Ward was featured in nearly 1,000 print and broadcast interviews, including CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. She has also been a guest on NBC’s Today Show, the Dr. Oz Show, and appeared regularly live on the Morning News on Fox 25 in Boston for six years. Ward has been an invited speaker at more than 100 professional meetings. Ward lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children.