This time of year we are often travelling to visit loved ones or take a vacation somewhere a little less snowy and cold. I am constantly asked what the best options on the road to eat as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not something always easy to accomplish.
The key to eating while travelling is to keep the large carbohydrate portions out of your diet. Yes, a foot long sub can be a healthy option but not when you are sitting on your butt for hours at a time. Carbs are energy to fuel your body and if you are active you need a lot more of them. Travelling is not an active activity. So while you think having the sub is a good choice (and yes, it is still better than a burger and fries or grease drenched pizza) there are better options out there.
You want your travelling snacks and meals to be more protein based and healthy fat based. This will keep you feeling full longer, prevent large rises in blood sugar, and make sure your body gets only what it needs. When it gets more than required you store the extra as fat. When you have frequent blood sugar spikes repeatedly over many years you can get diabetes. Too much trans fat and you are at increased risk for heart attack. This list goes on.
Here are some easy ways to keep healthy while travelling this holiday season:
Ø Pack food with you, there is nothing the airline is going to serve you that is really all that good for you
Ø Items to take with you include:
o Nuts (any of them are good, almonds are the best)
o Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc., just make sure to drink extra water as most of the packaged versions of these have salt added so your water requirements will go up)
o Peanut butter (add to fruit, veggies, or on its own)
o Tuna cans or tuna snack packs
o Fruit (apples and pears the best)
o Cheese strings (have with the fruit, very good)
o Vegetables (always…); add some hummus or roasted red pepper dip, put peanut butter on celery and take that along
Ø Take plenty of water, never be without water
o If your taking a plane you will need to take a water bottle and fill it up AFTER going through security
Ø Keep carbs to a minimum, try and avoid:
o Cookies, donuts, pastries
If you are grabbing food on the run here is a brief list of the best options available to you. These options will be available to you at almost any fast food place.
Ø Chili (not in a bread bowl and skip the dinner roll option)
Ø Salads with chicken or beef
Ø Grilled chicken sandwiches, skip the fries
Ø Wraps (most sub places have the option to have the same toppings in a wrap, this cuts your refined carbs almost in half!)
Ø If these options leave you hungry then add some nuts and seeds a half hour after eating to fill you up
Ø Anytime you’re eating fast food it is important to make sure you are drinking lots of water as they are all higher in salt than home cooked food
Remember, you make the CHOICE to put food in your mouth. If you gain weight or feel like crap travelling it’s your own fault. The options are always there.
And let’s be honest, this time of year there is more than enough food temptation. You are doing amazing things for your body to eat as healthy as you can as often as you can. Just because you are eating other treats is not an excuse to let your entire diet go to crap.