Fueling a Nutrient-Rich Vacation

Many of you are probably hitting the road for some mid-summer vacations! Lots of traveling means lots of eating on the road in hotels, planes, trains, busses, locker rooms and the like.  Whether you travel for work, family fun or to your kids’ sports tournaments, be sure to get a grip on your travel eating.

Many people get all twisted with their eating when they are not at home and end up making some caloric mistakes. Travel once a year and it is not that big of a deal, but travel often and it can add up to poor nutrition choices and possible weight gain. So, no matter why you are traveling, keep these 5 travel nutrition tips in mind:

  1. The Breakfast Buffet: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a buffet can get some people in trouble. When more food is provided, people eat more food. End of story. Many hotel breakfast buffets have great choices like eggs, whole grain toast and cereals, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, etc., but many are also laden with waffles, pancakes, bacon, biscuits with gravy and sugary cereals. Eat a little of this and some of that and it can add up to a lot! At breakfast, choose a lean protein (eggs, lean sausage, Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, etc.), a whole grain carbohydrate (oatmeal, toast, English muffins, whole grain cereal, etc.) and a fruit.  Then garnish your plate with a little healthy fat like peanut butter on your toast or nuts in your oatmeal. If you eat eggs, the 5 grams of fat in the egg can do double duty for protein and fat.
  2. Bring Your Own Snacks: Stopping at convenient stores, airport shops or fast-food restaurants can be a set-up for a less than healthy snack choice. Though many do have protein bars, peanut butter crackers, fruit, trail mix and other healthy choices, there are lots of less healthy treats stocked on the shelves too. Being prepared and bringing your own snacks can be a great way to get in nutritious options between meals for you and/or your kids! 
  3. Choose Good Options When You Eat Out: Eating out can add extra calories because chefs and restaurants typically cook with more oils and butters, put bread or chips on the table and load your plate with a hefty portion size. To combat this, be a picky eater. Ask for items with no butter, sauces on the side and cooked in less oil. In addition, make half your plate vegetables/salad, ¼ lean protein and ¼ whole grain carbohydrates. If you are looking to lean out, make protein and vegetables the emphasis on your plate and garnish your plate with a little avocado or olive oil to add some healthy fat.
  4. Hydrate: When off their normal schedules, many people forget to hydrate. Whether they had to throw away their water bottle at the airport or are trying not to make pit stops on a road trip, lots of people cut back on drinking water when they travel. Dehydration does not just happen to athletes; it can happen to anyone, and it has negative consequences like headaches and fatigue. Flying contributes to dehydration in addition to other things. So, go out of your way to hydrate at meals and snacks when you travel.
  5. Don’t Skip Meals: Traveling and being on-the-go often leads to missed meals and people feeling “starved” later in the day. This is bad because when people feel really hungry, they typically don’t care what they eat or how much they eat, they just want to get rid of the “I’m so hungry feeling”. To combat this, be sure to consume three meals and a few nutrient and protein-rich snacks throughout the day.