With a Little Planning, You Can Keep Your Family Healthy on the Road
Ensuring that your family maintains a healthy diet while traveling can be a challenge. This becomes particularly difficult when traveling out of the country or far from home where familiar foods may be unavailable or hard to find. Wherever you go, it is important to prepare ahead of time and have a plan. Here are 4 suggestions for eating healthfully when your family is on the road.
1. Pack healthy foods.
The types and amounts you can pack depend upon whether you are traveling by car, airplane, or other mode. Take healthy, convenient snacks that can be eaten while en route and once you reach your destination. Use a portable cooler with an ice pack for cold items. The more you take with you, the more healthy options you will have when you get there – and the more money you will save.
Examples of what to pack: bananas; apples; grapes; baby carrots; snap peas; raisins; whole wheat mini bagels; low-fat whole grain crackers; nuts; baked chips; unsalted or whole grain pretzels; wholesome granola bars; any specialty foods your family eats, especially for an allergy or medical condition
2. Grocery shop soon after you arrive.
Reserve accommodations with a miniature refrigerator, if not a full kitchen. Then you can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods when you get there. Access to a microwave, toaster, and/or other cooking appliances is of further benefit; these expand your buying choices at the store and enable you to prepare a greater number of meals. If you are staying at someone’s home, request to use a section of their refrigerator.
Examples of what to buy: fresh fruits and vegetables; unsweetened natural applesauce; low-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese; unsweetened whole grain cereals; whole wheat bread and bagels; natural peanut butter; light cream cheese; reduced-fat natural cheese; natural lean meat
3. Eat a healthful breakfast.
Restaurant and continental breakfasts are notorious for high-fat offerings, but more wholesome options are typically available. Avoid eggs, sausage, bacon, breakfast sandwiches, donuts, muffins, and pastries.
Examples of what to choose: unsweetened, low-fat, whole grain cereal (hot or cold) with low-fat or non-fat milk; dry whole wheat toast, bagel, or English muffin with fruit preserves; fresh fruit; low-fat yogurt
4. Eat out wisely.
Eating out is inevitable. Patronize restaurants that offer nutritious choices, such as made-to-order sandwich shops and taco bars, Asian, and sit-down restaurants. Opt for the healthiest selections on the menu and make special requests. Skip high-calorie but low-nutrient items, like sweetened beverages and desserts. Also, allow children to order a half-portion, or share a meal, from the adult menu; kids’ menus usually consist of unwholesome choices.
Examples of what to request: low-fat dressing /condiments/sauce on the side (use sparingly); little or no cheese; mustard instead of mayonnaise; whole beans versus refried; grilled or baked all-white skinless chicken or turkey breast; extra vegetables; brown rice; whole grain bread; fresh fruit; baked chips
When traveling with your family, advanced planning is key to making sure healthy foods are available – wherever your travels may take you!