Dietitians Dish: Eat healthy while traveling

Kathryn Steve

by Kathryn Steve

If you are one of the many people traveling this holiday season, you may run into trouble trying to eat healthier and avoid gaining those few extra pounds. Not only is all that wonderful tempting food everywhere you look at work, at home and while shopping, it becomes even harder when you travel.

Don't worry. All it takes are a few helpful tips and planning.

First of all, consider what meals you may need to eat and possibly stop for while traveling. Will you be getting up early? If so will you and your family want to eat breakfast in the car or at a restaurant?

Try to consider what will work the best for your family for certain meal times.

If you have little children will it be easier or harder to have lunch in the car.

If you feel that you and your family will need to stop for a meal or two, figure out what towns you will be at to eat in. Once you figure out what locations will work, look online for close places you can stop at and if they have healthy choices.

Today, even most fast food places have a few options to choose from.

A few quick tips for eating out include:

Avoid anything with the four C's "Crispy, Crunchy, Creamy or Crusted"

Choose grilled, boiled, baked or steamed meat over fried

Avoid cream sauces and soups

Choose baked potatoes (with light butter, fat free sour cream or broccoli), fruit, baked chips, steamed or grilled vegetables, salad, or rice instead of French fries, regular chips, mashed, au gratin or scalloped potatoes.

If you will be eating a meal in the car, choose foods that aren't messy and won't need a lot of preparation in the car. Wraps or sandwiches with light tuna or chicken salad, turkey, ham or peanut butter and jelly with baked chips or raw vegetables are some easy, quick choices.

A cooler may come in handy to keep foods cool and if your family travels a lot, you may want to consider investing in a plug-in cooler.

Of course, kids usually need a snack throughout the day and adults like to munch while driving, too. Healthy snacking on the road will keep family members from becoming crabby and lessen your chances of over eating or possibly choosing unhealthy choices later.

A few good ideas to consider are almonds, raw fruits (pre-washed) or canned fruit in 100 percent juice or reduced sugar syrups, peanut butter for fruit slices or white wheat crackers, fat-free yogurts, string cheese, raw veggies with reduced fat or light dipping sauces, granola bars, mini boxes of raisins or dry cereal.

Don't forget to stay well hydrated and enjoy the time you spend with family and friends this holiday season.

Kathryn Steve is a registered and licensed dietitian. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.