Safe Journeys and Fun Healthy Times
Summer is the season for traveling, but is it possible to travel and eat well? Traveling while maintaining your weight is a challenge for everyone. Like most events in your life, planning is the secret to success. I find a road trip to be less challenging than traveling by air.
For a road trip, I always pack a cooler with fruit, veggies, light mozzarella cheese sticks, reduced fat cheese slices, hummus, peanut butter, and water. With the availability of re-usable ice packs, packing a cooler is so easy. Starting with frozen or refrigerated items will help to keep food cold for a longer period of time. Food safety requires that food in the cooler needs to be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
I also pack a bag with some non-perishable food items like bread, pretzels, granola bars, unsalted nuts, cereal, and whole grain crackers. With the many rest areas along the road, you will have all the items you need for a quick snack or lunch. When traveling with children, a cooler will save time and money while providing a tasty and energizing break. Community parks provide picnic tables and playgrounds for everyone to “stretch their legs.” Remember to bring napkins, forks, spoons, knives, and cups.
We do our best to ask for a motel room with a refrigerator. It makes refreezing the ice pack convenient. When we arrive at our destination, I always ask the motel or hotel clerk for the location of a grocery store or farmer’s market.
Then I can purchase some milk, yogurt, fruits and vegetables to store in the refrigerator for snacks or lunch. Many of the motels serve a complimentary breakfast. Most have whole grain bread for toast, peanut butter, Cheerios or oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit. I wish that they would serve nonfat or 1% milk, but most serve 2% milk. For my family accustomed to nonfat milk, two percent tastes like cream!
For the campers, packing the items listed above along with seafood, lean ground meat, chicken, and other cuts of beef or pork are staples. We enjoy sloppy joes or preparing foil packs with meatballs, sliced carrots, celery and potatoes to cook on the grill. Who does not enjoy s’mores? Using the new dark chocolate squares will pack some extra anti-oxidant power. As always, be mindful of the amount you choose to eat! If you are tent camper, be mindful of food safety. Meats and seafood in a cooler must be kept cold, under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. There are new convenient dehydrated items, such as dried veggies and fruits, hummus snack packs, cereals, nuts, and trail mixes that make tent camping and hiking easier than in the past.
Traveling by air is more challenging than traveling by car. I usually pack non-perishable items in my carry-on bag. Unsalted nuts, dry cereal like Cheerios or granola, whole grain crackers, pretzels, or fruit (both dried and fresh) travel well. Many can be purchased in small serving sized packages. For someone who wants fresh food instead of processed food items, food at some airports is a challenge. In recent years, the choices have improved with many vendors providing salads with grilled chicken and a cup of fruit or fresh fruit like apples, oranges, and bananas.
Be adventurous when traveling. Ask for directions to locally owned or ethnic restaurants. Continue to ask for grilled, roasted, or poached fish or meats. Request dressings, gravy, and sauces on the side. I like to be in charge of the amounts for those items. Ask about the portion size served at the restaurant or notice the plates served to guests around your seating area. If the portions are large, consider sharing a meal with your friend, spouse, or family member. It is ok to ask for a smaller portion. I like the restaurants that offer half portions as an option.
Many motels and hotels have exercise rooms and swimming pools. Do ask for maps of walking trails or nearby parks. Activity and exercise will refresh the mind and burn some calories. Enjoy the beautiful summer days and time away from everyday life. Here’s to safe journeys and fun healthy times.
These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.