Sunday, August 22, 2010

Healthy Eating While Traveling

I don't know about you all but I'm in a bit of a crazy place right now. After a three day trip to Florida for work, I returned to Des Moines, only to turn around and head out to Illinois for a weekend at J.'s apartment. The weekend was lovely and relaxing. I didn't think about work or the number of things on my to-do list, but now I have six bags of flour, ten bags of powdered sugar, and five bags of sugar in my car that need to be brought upstairs and a cake baking in the oven at 10:45 on a Sunday night. Cake for a wedding this weekend. Cake, cake, and more cake. I'll let you know when I see the end of the cake-baking tunnel.

With that said let's talk strategies for healthy eating while traveling, shall we?

Most of the time I feel pretty darn good about the food choices I make while in the air or on the road, but there are other times nothing short of dismal. You know those trips where you never get hungry because you just keep eating? Ugh. I absolutely hate that feeling, so I've made it a point to try and avoid it at all costs.

And while traveling this past week I was reminded of how easy it's become to make healthy choices. Here are a few of my favorite tips, places, and choices for eating on the go.

Breakfast I can't stress enough how important it is to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast every day. It sets the tone for your eating choices throughout the rest of the day and gets your metabolism started from the get go. Breakfast is probably the easiest meal to eat while traveling, too. My go-to travel breakfast joint is Starbucks. Avoid the high-calorie drinks and breakfast pastries and stick with a tall skim or soy milk Misto (part coffee, part steamed milk) and an oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts. 

Lunch This past weekend, Starbucks came to the rescue for me, too. I picked up one of their veggie/pita/hummus plates, which clocks in at around 280 calories, and paired it with an iced skim latte. Starbucks aside, magazine stands and convenient stores are a great place to pick up a healthy lunch. Most carry some type of protein bar, but choose wisely to avoid consuming a candy bar in disguise. Out of those that are readily available, my faves are Cliff and Luna bars. Pair them with a piece of fruit or a V8 vegetable juice and a water and you have a fulfilling, complete lunch.

Dinner Sometimes dinner should be a guilt-free indulgence, but multiple days of travel-induced indulgence can leave to a bit of food regret later on. To avoid over-eating, start with a light, broth-based soup or a salad with the dressing on the side. And when it comes time to order your entree, load up on the veggies (ask for the butter on the side) first, then add in a small serving of grilled fish or chicken breast and a carbohydrate like black beans or brown rice. And if sweet potatoes are on the menu I order one with butter on the side and load it up with broccoli for a filling, fiber-rich meal.

Think Ahead More often than not, travel is unpredictable. Options are sparse in many small airports, and convenient stores choices are unpredictable at best. To avoid cravings and unhealthy food choices when blood sugar levels start to plummet, take a stash of options with you in your purse or suitcase. Lara Bars are one of my favorite healthy choices for travel. Or, take along a few servings worth of almonds and dried fruit.

Be back soon with more cake-craziness updates and a lot more tasty food. Until then, I'm off to catch some shut-eye because heaven knows I'm going to need it this week!

Happy Cooking!



Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess said...

I can totally empathize! We have been traveling for 10 days now, and I don't think I've had a healthy meal since I've left home. And it's been so much travel all over the place that the "planning ahead" adage really does us no good. Oh well...

Until we get home, I'm dreaming of salads and fresh veggies...


Anonymous said...

you are acutally suggesting a protein bar and a piece of fruit as part of a healthy lunch while taveling? in what universe could that be called balanced or even healthy?

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