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On the road again…

Posted Feb 23 2010 12:00am

Hands down, the most common question people have about healthy eating is what to do when they are away from home. Whether you are in your car for an afternoon, or away on a week’s vacation, here are a few tips to help keep your healthy lifestyle on track:

In the car Pack your own snacks. If you are going on a road trip, pack a cooler full of fresh cut veggies and fruit, turkey sandwiches on wheat, string cheese, and water to keep you from wasting money, time and calories at the fast food restaurants. Also, I always keep an emergency snack pack in my car for those times you aren’t expecting to get caught in 2 hours of traffic. Pack nonperishable items, such Kashi granola bars, 100 calorie packs of almonds or individual packs of dried fruit in the pouch behind your seat or in your arm rest. That way, these snacks are out of site so you won’t be tempted to overindulge when you aren’t hungry, but they will always be there for when you do need them.
If you must stop for food, try stopping at a grocery store instead of a gas station or fast food restaurant. There are a lot of grocery store that are right off the exit, and most have a deli section where you can build your own sandwich (packed with veggies, of course), grab some cut up fruit or salad, or sometimes even sushi (an 8 piece California Roll made with brown rice usually is only about 250 calories- just watch the sodium by not soaking it in soy sauce!)
Don’t wear your pajamas. This may sound like a silly tip, but if you have on your biggest, softest sweatpants to make a road trip cozy, you may be tempted to eat more and snack on junk because you feel so little in those big pants. This doesn’t mean you have to wear your skinny jeans, but wear pants that fit you well, so you will feel your stomach expanding before you reach for another bag of pretzels.

On the plane:

Again, bring food with you. As long as you aren’t bringing liquids (which actually include things like yogurt) in your bag, you can bring food with you through security. Put a granola bar in your purse, or go all out and pack a turkey sandwich, apple and carrots.
If you forgot to pack a snack, I’d recommend buying food at the airport to bring with you on the plane, rather than waiting until you’ve boarded. This is a good idea for 2 reasons: the food aboard the plane is generally ridiculously expensive and the limited selection available is awful for you ($14 for a “snack pack” full of oreos, salt water taffy, cheese and crackers). Inside the airport, you usually have more options. I was at the Denver airport yesterday and saw fresh fruit available, along with yogurt parfaits, grilled chicken sandwiches, custom made salads, etc. I chose the Turkey and Craisin sandwich on whole wheat with no mayo from the Denver Airport Boulder Brewery, but all of these options would be easy to grab and take on the plane with you. No need to sit down at the Tequilaria, down chips and queso and be late for your flight.
In mid-air, when they wheel the drink cart by, choose water (or if you are feeling fancy, choose seltzer water, which they’ll serve to you with a lime- delish!). This will keep you well-hydrated and keep extra calories from sneaking into your day.

In the hotel If you are going to be at the hotel for a few days, ask where the local grocery store is and stock the mini-fridge with yogurt, fruit, cut veggies, low fat milk, etc. This way you will have healthy snacks and a healthy breakfast at your disposal. If there is no fridge, you can still get granola bars, nuts and canned fruit (choose the low sugar varieties) to keep around, so you won’t be tempted to free the Doritos from the vending machine.
Going out to eat for dinner? Check the menu online before you go. This way you will be able to have a healthy option picked out before you arrive starving and order whatever sounds good.
Do your research ahead of time and book a hotel that has a fitness facility or pool. If you get in a work out, you are more likely to feel motivated to keep up your healthy eating habits too.

These are just a few tips I have found to be helpful. What tips do you have for how to stay on track while away from home? Please share!  :)

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