4 Tips for Healthy Eating when Traveling

25 Apr

This past week I traveled to California where I stayed in a variety of hotels with 
continental breakfasts, and had many layovers in airports, and I realized that most of the options that are offered are not all that healthy! It is hard to make good decisions when you are surrounded by mostly junk!

  • Tip 1) Stash your bag with healthy treats

Before you head out to the airport stash your carry on bag with prepackaged granola bars such as Kashi or South Beach bars. Or try making a trail mix with nuts, Kashi cereal and mixed dried fruit in little baggies the night before. These have fiber and protein to kill those hunger cravings. Hide it good so they don’t take it away from you!
  • Tip 2) Bring an empty water bottle

You are not allowed to bring in water bottles into the airport, but you are allowed to bring in empty ones! Bring your favorite water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain once you get past security. You have to make sure you are fully hydrated when traveling. If you are thirsty, you might confuse this with hunger!

  • Tip 3) What to choose at the airport?
(NOT THIS! haha)

Most airports are filled with fast food joints like McDonald’s, Burger King, Ben and Jerry’s, Cinnnabon and Pizza Hut. When you are traveling you must be choosing healthier meals in order for your body handle the stress of the day.

There are some restaurants which you should just avoid, like Cinnabon and Ben and Jerry’s, because they will not offer a nutritious meal, but rather high calorie, high sugar, high fat snack/dessert foods. But according to the winter 2010 Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine report, many airports are adding healthier meal choices:
detroit’s airport tops list. But low-fat vegetarian options still hard to find in some cities. 82 percent of the restaurants at the 18 airports examined for the report offered at least one healthful entrée. A restaurant was rated as healthful if it served at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrée. This is good news!

After you book your flight, search the restaurants on the Airports website. You can view the menus and nutrition facts as well. Chose a restaurant with a low-fat, high-fiber and low-cholesterol options such as Berkeley Vegan Pizza at zpizza at the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the Tofusion Bowl at Ufood Grill in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. San Francisco International Airport’s Harbor Village Kitchen offers a range of healthful options, including a vegetable curry and rice plate, veggie samosas, and vegetarian chow mein. Add it into your flight itinerary if you have a layover so you know exactly which terminal to go. This way you will not be in a rush to get something quick and unhealthy!

If you come to the conclusion that there are no low-fat, high fiber, low-cholesterol options at any of the restaurants at the airport you choose, then you must pick the best choice on the menu of the restaurant. Instead of a big mac with french fries and a large coke at McDonald’s, choose a single hamburger with a side salad with low-fat dressing and a large water. Instead of orange chicken and fried rice at Panda Express, choose mixed vegetables and the mushroom chicken or sweet and sour chicken breast.

  • Tip 4) Continental Breakfasts

Most continental breakfasts include the following: Drinks-orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, coffee, tea, whole milk. Pastries-prepackaged cheese, fruit pastries, croissants, donuts, bagels and muffins, Bread-white or wheat, Waffle maker-to make waffles, Condiments: Jellies, margarine, sugar, splenda, cream, peanut butter and syrup, Cereal-Raisin bran, fruit loops, corn flakes, Fruit-apples, bananas, oranges, fruit cups, Yogurts- Yoplait brand.

Here is a great breakfast example given these options: Plain hot tea, 2 slices whole wheat bread (ask if is 100% whole wheat) with sliced apples and peanut butter, or 1 package raisin bran with a splash of milk, a yogurt cup and an orange.

Things to avoid: all pastries, donuts, croissants, waffle, syrup, white bread, jellies (high fructose corn syrup), margarines (trans fat), sugar packets, high sugar cereal such as fruit loops, fruit cups with heavy syrup added. If you drink juice, dilute half with water.

Before you leave breakfast snatch up a couple pieces of fruit from the breakfast bar and stash in your purse for a little snack around 11am.

It is hard to choose healthy options when you are scrambling to find a place! But if you are prepared to where to go, if you know what to choose and stash some healthy snacks your body will be happier, and you might find that you recover faster from that Jet-lag!!

2 Responses to “4 Tips for Healthy Eating when Traveling”

  1. Maggie Thompson 27/09/2011 at 4:30 PM #

    I wrote a blog recently with similar topics – traveling can cause stress since grabbing the “quickest” option is often the first instinct, which is typically the most unhealthy. Airports are getting better options – fruit cups, yogurts, nuts, etc – its just having the self-control to choose the best options. Thanks for your blog!

    • nutritranslator 29/09/2011 at 11:45 PM #

      Hi Maggie! Thanks for the comment! You are right about the healthy options. I love the little stands with options like pre-made salads and hummus! I should also add in about how important it is to wash hands before eating and while traveling. I caught a pretty bad bug traveling last week, and it probably was because I didn’t wash my hands!

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