The challenge of eating well and healthy while traveling just seems to get more and more complicated: security restrictions change like the wind, airline and rail food offerings are limited at best, and the highway’s most accessible offerings are the bottom of the barrel.
Here are some strategies to help you along.
• For jet lag, a little restraint goes a long way. When changing time zones, eat light and drink plenty of fluids. Before the flight, a high-protein, low calorie meal is a good idea, along with limited amounts of starchy carbs, salt and fat, all which lead to swollen ankles and tapped energy. When you arrive, continue to eat light and try to adapt to the local meal times as soon as possible. Lots of water helps too.
• Consider bringing your own meal when you fly.
• Before even going on your trip, do a little homework. Research local specialty foods and eateries and target spending your money and calorie budgets wisely. Why force down a luke-warm airline breakfast burrito when a fresh pastry and cappuccino await you in Paris? Having something special to look forward to can really temper instant gratification urges.
• We have heard about alcohol and caffeine as being dehydrating but sweet drinks like soda and juice can also work against quenching thirst because of their high osmolar load. Cut the juice with sparkling water for vitamin rich/ low calorie hydration.
• Keep in mind that thirst, like fatigue, is often mistaken for hunger.
Everything in Moderation
• Don’t overeat ….just because it’s there.
• Whether eating out in restaurants on business or on vacation, avoid the temptation to turn every meal into an "occasion" or celebration. Think ahead and plan (there’s that word again) your day so you can enjoy the local food and not return home feeling like a stuffed potato.
• Eat like a kid and choose drinks and meals from the children's menu for smaller portion size.
--Paula Meyer, MS RD CSSD CDN
Paula Meyer Nutrition