Ah, vacations and school breaks! But eating smart is hard to do unless you look ahead. Airports, convenience stores, and hotels are not nutrition central, but with smart planning and a flexible mind-set, you can eat well while you travel. The name of the game: “Pack healthy meals and snacks (like homemade trail mix) whenever you’re able, and make the healthiest choices in whatever setting you’re in,” says Amy Gannon, MEd, RD, LD, a Cleveland Clinic health coach. “And always have a plan B.” Remember: A world of choices lies between “nutrition nirvana” and “junk food city.”
At the airport: Pack portions of nuts, fresh or dried fruit, and homemade air-popped popcorn. At kiosks, look for refrigerated salads, pre-cut veggies and hummus, fresh fruit. Plus, you get bonus points for walking the terminals during any layovers!
On the road: At convenience stores, look for baskets of fresh apples and bananas at the checkout counters. Instead of soft drinks, go for club soda or sparkling water. Bonus points: Take a cooler and pack nutritious perishables and cold water.
In restaurants: Look for delicious entrees or appetizers with a balance of lean protein, intact carbohydrates like veggies and 100 percent whole grains, and nutritious fat (think avocados and olive oil). And watch out for adjectives like “crispy,” “smothered” and “rich,” which often indicate unhealthy ingredients and cooking methods. Bonus points: Before you travel or decide on the place that will get your dollars, use your smartphone to help you stay healthy and vibrant by scanning menus online for promising dishes.
“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Spanish Proverb