By Shari Bilt Boockvar, MS RDN
Traveling for work or leisure can have a significant impact on your health and waistline depending on the eating choices we make. While we should enjoy unique or gourmet meals, there are some healthy choices we can make that will allow us guilt-free indulgences.
Here, some guidelines to keep in mind.
PREPPING BEFORE YOUR TRIP
You can start before you even leave your home by packing some easy snacks for travel. If you don’t have an insulated bag, a freezer pack in a Ziploc bag will do the job.
• Fruit + hard-boiled egg
• Slices of veggies + single-serve hummus or guacamole.
• A Baggie of whole grain cereal + banana to dip into it.
AT THE AIRPORT
Restaurants, bars, newsstands, and more—there are so many options, and the choices are dizzying.
• Newsstands Nutritious grain or nut bars such as Fiber, D’lish, Oatmega, KIND, or Rx Bars. Also consider natural beef or turkey jerky, trail mix, or nut mixes (be careful to eat just one serving).
• Restaurants Grilled lean protein such as chicken breast, fish or shrimp, and veggies. Or perhaps one sushi maki roll with a side of edamame or broth-based soups and a whole grain roll should do it!
ON YOUR TRIP
You’re at your destination, and you want to do your best at most meals. Although you should enjoy that delicious special dinner, here are some ideas you can try at other meals.
• Breakfast Whole grain cereal with berries and milk is a good choice. Also, whole grain cereal topped with yogurt and fruit is another good option. Don’t forget one-or-two scrambled eggs with tomato and onion slices on an English muffin is quick and easy.
• Lunch/Dinner Salads with lean grilled protein: chicken or shrimp parmesan with veggies; chicken, seafood; filet mignon; or pork tenderloin with a side of veggies will satisfy.
• Desserts A scoop of sorbet, berries with a drizzle of chocolate or maple syrup, cappuccino (whole milk is ok) and a biscotti will please any sweet tooth!
We can’t forget the importance of exercise while maintaining fitness and nutrition goals. You may be active while away, but an extra 20-to-40 minutes daily can help with stress reduction and a healthy body.
• Airport The corridors of the airport are a great substitute for a track so while waiting for your flight, instead of sitting in a chair go for a brisk walk. (You can use a backpack instead of shoulder bag to make travel and exercise easier.)
• Hotel Gym It’s likely included in your stay! Try to wake up at least 20 minutes earlier and hit the treadmill or elliptical. It will boost your energy for the day, and you can check it off your list first thing in the morning.
• Explore Your New Surroundings You’re in a new city—enjoy the sights on foot if time allows. Ask for a local map when you arrive and plan out a 20 minute walk, jog or run.
Last, but certainly not least, do not forget to hydrate while traveling. Water, seltzer, and unsweetened teas are ideal choices.