It's time for a road trip! Road trips are a fabulous way to see the country, but it can be hard to eat nutritious foods when you are in places where gas stations, rest stops, and diners are your only options for food. Here are a few ways that you can keep yourself heading down the highway toward nutrition success.
First, pack as much of your own food as you can. You can bring lunch for your first day as well as your favorite healthy snacks. If you have room for a cooler, think about bringing things like hard boiled eggs. They are a great source of protein and last a long time with little refrigeration required. Try to restock on the road when you find a grocery store with healthy snack options.
Second, stick to whole foods whenever you can. Gas station convenience stores carry nuts, fruit, deli meats, and whole wheat breads.
Third, scope out the options available to you in your overnight stops. Farmers markets are a great source of fresh produce, whole grain breads, and other yummy yet healthful foods. They usually open up early, so you can stock up for the day on the way out of town to your next stop.
Finally, check out the menus of fast food restaurants online before you hit the road, and perhaps even print down any nutrition information you can find. In a pinch, you can find healthier alternatives if you look carefully.
When we travel, we usually aren't lucky enough to end up staying somewhere with a stove and a fridge. Most of us end up in hotels with few of the conveniences of home available to us. How do you eat well if you are living in a hotel? Well, it's not easy, but here are a few tips that may help.
First, try to stay in a hotel that has a kitchenette. At the very least, try for one with a mini-fridge, and ask the hotel staff to have it cleared of any beverages and snacks. You can then use the mini-fridge to store your own food.
Second, make friends with the coffee maker. Seriously. Your coffee maker is capable of SO much more than making steaming cups of java. Think oatmeal, soup, steamed vegetables, and even a grilled cheese. Google coffee maker cooking. You're welcome.
Third, find the nearest grocery store with a solid salad bar and prepared foods section. This will be a lifesaver if you don't have access to a mini-fridge. Stick with lean protein, veggies, and rice. It may not be exciting, but it will keep you on track.
Finally, avoid room service unless you are ordering a salad with the dressing on the side. Room service food is usually rich and comfort food based, which means it is probably going to break the calorie bank.
Use these tips and you can sleep better, even in a hotel bed, knowing you are one step closer to your goals.
July is prime time for traveling, which means we often find ourselves stuck in planes, trains, and automobiles for long periods of time without access to the best of food choices. While we often cannot eat the way we would like, there are ways to eat well on the road. Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at plane travel, hotel food, road trips, and best choices at chain restaurants. This week, let's take a look at airport and airplane food.
First, remember that you can bring food with you to the airport. I routinely bring sandwiches, nuts, fruit, protein bars, and jerky with me. This usually suffices for trips of three to four hours or less. Make sure you check TSA's rules before traveling because they do change all the time, and nothing's worse than leaving your yummy food at the security checkpoint!
Second, check out the options available to you in the airport terminal in advance. Most will have one or more chain restaurants, and you can find nutrition information online before you trip so that if you do need to purchase food at the airport, you can make an informed decision as to what to get.
Third, don't feel like you need to buy everything at one place. Pick and choose among the options available to you to get the most nutritious options you can. I frequently buy my iced tea at one place, a piece of fruit at another, some nuts at the convenience store, and an egg white breakfast sandwich at yet another place. Doing that also allows me to keep moving around the airport, which is a good thing to do when you know you'll be stuck on a plane for several hours.
Fourth, if you have a ton of time before or between flights and you choose to eat at a sit down restaurant to kills some of it, look for lean protein and vegetable options, and avoid comfort food. Salads with lean protein and dressing on the side and grilled chicken, turkey, or a lean cut of steak with vegetables are usually best.
Finally, if you are on a very long flight, try to bring your own food on board rather than rely on the availability and quality of the food offered on board. Airlines supply a limited number of each option to each flight, so the healthiest of choices may not be available to you by the time the flight attendants reach you. It's far safer to bring your own on board. If you are in a pinch and don't have time to do that, use the free Wi-Fi available on most airplanes to research the options available to you, which are usually found on the materials in the seat back pocket in front of you.
In honor of the Fourth of July, I wanted to write a post containing some tips for staying in control of your nutrition while still having fun at all of the fun barbecues happening today. Well, Summer Tomato beat me to it and wrote a great post on that very subject! Check it out at www.summertomato.com/6-healthy-eating-tips-for-your-4th-of-july-bbq. Happy Fourth, everyone!
Amy Mariani is the owner of Fit & Fabulous LLC in Winchester, Massachusetts. She is also the nutrition coach at www.mountainstrength.com. Her mission is to help people eat healthy and love life.
Please note that you should consult with your physician prior to embarking on any major changes with regard to your nutrition. Unfortunately, absent authorization from a medical professional, we are unable to provide individualized nutrition coaching to anyone under the age of eighteen, or to persons with certain medical conditions. We are always happy to work with authorized medical professionals under these circumstances.