Traveling Well

It’s one thing to stay healthy when you’re in your own kitchen, complete with crockpot, blender and food processor. But what if you’re on the road? Are you at the mercy of greasy fast-food joints and mind-numbing snack foods? Here are some tips to keeping in top shape while you’re away.

Hotel room.  Choose a room that’s equipped with refrigerator and microwave. A refrigerator can keep your fresh fruits and vegetables chilled. A microwave allows you to add potatoes and sweet potatoes to the menu. And a can opener gives you the option for beans or vegetables.

Keeping food cold. If you’re traveling with a small ice chest, toss in a few frozen water bottles. Unlike ice cubes, frozen water bottles don’t make “soup” in the bottom of your ice chest when they melt, and you can often re-freeze them at hotel stops.

On the road. Make a simple lunch of a peanut butter or hummus sandwich, fresh fruit and soy nuts. Or take a burrito stuffed with refried beans, diced tomatoes, cubed avocados and tofu sour cream. Fresh vegetables, a piece of fruit and a small handful of soy nuts* will round out the meal.

Remember, sitting in the car (or in airports) all day doesn’t burn many calories, so eat lightly. Skip the snacks, the pop and even the juice. You’ll be surprised at how much less exhausted you will feel at the end of the day.

Where to stop? Taco Bell’s fresco bean burrito offers a vegan option. While the sodium levels are shameful**, it’s quick meal that can be paired with fruit and vegetables from the ice chest. Subway’s “veggie delight” sandwich (minus the cheese) makes a simple lunch with some fresh fruit and soy nuts.

Out to a restaurant with friends? A well-stocked salad bar provides a great meal. Enjoy leafy greens, chopped vegetables, kidney beans, and a squeeze of lemon. Sprinkle a few dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds on top.

by Dorothea Sarli, Nutritionist

*Soy nuts are roasted soybeans that provide a great source of crunchy protein. Compared to nuts, they have more protein and less fat and calories. But they’re still concentrated, so a little goes a long way. A serving size is 2 or 3 tablespoons.

**Anyone fighting high blood pressure, heart disease or osteoporosis should skip Taco Bell and most other fast food options because of the insane amounts of sodium in almost every menu item.