Monday, May 21, 2012

Stick to Your Plan with Healthy Travel-Ready Foods

Gearing up for summer? For most of us, Memorial Day marks the start of poolside fun and summer vacations. Outside of work, it’s a relaxing, carefree time of year filled with outdoor activities and fun with friends and family. But travel can also present several obstacles for maintaining a healthy eating plan. You can conquer “roadblocks” by planning ahead with some smart meal options. The key is preparation! By bringing meal components and snacks with you on your trip, you can prevent temptation, make healthier choices more often and prevent extreme hunger. Plus you won’t have to rely on the limited healthy options available at fast food restaurants, gas stations and rest areas.

For day trips, make sure to take along non-perishable snacks in case meals are delayed. For road trips by car (or long days spent poolside), consider packing a cooler and reusable grocery bag with ingredients for meal and snacks. You’ll be able to dine whenever you’re ready without having to wait for the next stop. Of course it’s healthier than dining at a fast food restaurant, but also less tempting and less expensive. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a roadside picnic at an interesting locale along the way? Just don’t forget the silverware, plates and napkins. For air travel, take a few snacks in your carry-on bag and pack the remainder in a sealed, plastic container in your suitcase so they aren’t crushed during flight.

Select some of these items to pack for healthy meals and snacks while traveling:
  • Loaf of whole wheat bread or pita pockets
  • Sliced lunch meats, like turkey breast, ham or roast beef
  • Foil packs of tuna or chicken breast
  • Mustard
  • Pre-washed lettuce
  • Peanut butter and jelly (individual containers are available)
  • Low-fat yogurt or pudding cups
  • Pre-washed fruit, like apples, oranges, bananas or grapes (available prepared and packaged)
  • Fruit leathers
  • Pre-washed veggies, like baby carrots, celery, broccoli or cauliflower (available prepared and packaged)
  • Low-fat vegetable dip, salad dressing or hummus
  • Graham crackers
  • Pre-packaged peanut butter crackers
  • Whole grain granola bars, like Nature Valley®, Kashi® or Balance Bar®
  • Packets of oatmeal or quinoa-based cereal
  • Popcorn
  • Sugar-free drink mixes, like Crystal Light®
Pack these items in individual snack-sized plastic bags:
  • Whole grain and/or baked snack crackers, like Triscuits® or Goldfish®
  • Baked chips
  • Whole grain cereal for snacking, like Cheerios® or Wheat Chex®
  • Pretzels
  • Dried fruit
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Animal crackers
  • Edamame
  • Low-fat popcorn (I love Naked Popcorn® by Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company)
Just a little planning and preparation will help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest while keeping up with your plans for healthy eating too!   

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