Smart Eating on the Road

Monday, September 21, 2015

Many of you know that I love to cook healthy meals, and I've shared many of my favorite clean eating recipes on the blog. Eating healthy can be easy when you are cooking meals at home, but finding healthy options while traveling can be difficult. Today I wanted to share a great article on how you can still keep your healthy eating habits, even while traveling.

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Smart Eating on the Road

By Leslie Vandever

Traveling and good nutrition, like oil and water, don’t mix very well. Quick-stop hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes, ultra-high-calorie sit-down restaurant meals, giant sodas, and salty sugary car-snacks—all that tempting convenience makes it hard to eat healthy when you’re on the road, whether it’s for work or for play. Add perpetually-hungry kids to the mix, and it becomes harder still.
But eating healthy on the road isn’t impossible. There are a lot of ways to maintain a healthy diet on the road. Healthy meals may take a little extra effort, but with some vigilance and determination, you can do it. Plus, there are many benefits to eating healthy besides your waistline, such as not feeling fatigue after eating, but having more energy for your adventure!

Take it With You
For short trips, consider buying some brightly colored, insulated-and-reusable lunch sacks (available at most grocery stores) for everyone, along with small freezer ice-packs to keep things fresh and cool. If you’re traveling by car, you might also consider bringing along a cooler.
Nature makes many of the healthiest foods easy to grab-and-go. Before your trip, stock up on bananas, apples, grapes, and other fruit that’s easy to eat out-of-hand. The fruit will help stave off cravings for sweets while offering excellent fiber and nutrition.

Veggies work great this way, too: try sandwich bags full of baby carrots, or celery sticks. Red, yellow, and orange peppers, sliced into strips, are a sweet and delicious treat. Use your imagination and combine your favorites. And bring along a small jar of low-fat, protein-packed peanut butter for dipping. It’s yummy and filling, too.

Crunchy, whole grain, low-sodium crackers are perfect for packing into your insulated snack-sack. Portion out your favorites into sandwich bags to keep the calories and carb-counts reasonable.
It’s vital to stay hydrated when you’re traveling. Small bottles of water work great. If water alone is too blah for you, try flavoring it by mixing a little of your favorite, no-sugar added fruit juice into it. Or fill your own, reusable bottles with the mixture. Delicious and refreshing.

Mindful Fast Food
Fast food and sit-down restaurants offer plenty of tempting deliciousness, but these meals are loaded down with calories, saturated fat, salt, and sugar. Staying away from them entirely while you’re traveling is impossible—you need to eat—but by picking and choosing, you can maintain your quest for good nutrition.

Most fast food joints offer salads these days. Choose your favorite, but watch out for additions to the veggies that will blow the calorie/fat/salt count out of the water. Avoid or limit ingredients like deep fried chicken strips, candied nuts, and croutons. Go easy on the dressing, too.
If you’re craving something more filling than a salad, look for grilled meat sandwiches. Ask for condiments on the side so you can limit how much you use and discard the bun. Ask for extra lettuce and tomato, too.

The key here is to avoid, as much as possible, foods that are deep fried or breaded and fried, including the ubiquitous french fries and onion rings. Instead, ask for fruit. Another option: look for a low-calorie, low-fat menu. The items are just as tasty as the traditional fare.

You have more options for nutrition in sit-down restaurants. Many offer “lite” meals that limit fats, sodium, sugar, and calories, and they’re delicious. Or, order a salad, specifying grilled instead of deep-fried additions like chicken or shrimp. If you’re at a salad bar, be careful what you pile onto your lettuce. Load it up too much and your calorie count will soar. And go easy on dressings.
Most restaurants will gladly change up meals. Ask for smaller cuts of meat—baked, grilled, or broiled—and larger helpings of veggies instead of carbs like mashed potatoes or fries. Drink water instead of soda, and forego dessert.

Traveling should be fun, so go ahead and indulge now and then. Enjoy your trip and stay healthy!

So tell me, what are your favorite tips for eating healthy while being on the road?

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in Northern California.


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1 comment:

  1. We are SO BAD at eating on the road. Even since moving to South Carolina and now driving a lot, we NEVER remember to bring things with us. I definitely want to start doing that with water and snacks (to save calories and money!!).


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