By: Unite Fitness Retreat Nutritionist Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN
With vacation days just around the corner, you may have travel plans coming up. Maybe you are setting off for a beach get-a-way or perhaps an end of the year skiing adventure. If you are nervous about the temptation to sit and snack as boredom sets in on that long drive (or flight), take a moment to rethink your plan. Don’t let the start of your vacation be a time where you throw all that hard work out the window.
Traveling often for work and pleasure is a huge part of our lives. Just because its travel doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to indulge meal after meal. Keeping your nutrition on track while you are on the road is tough, it takes work and planning but it’s totally do-able!
Follow these easy nutrition tips to stick to your healthy life-style even while traveling:
- Portable snacks + carry-on is not the same as oil + water. Think about foods that can get crushed, smooshed, twisted and smooshed again and still be edible.
- Bars – you knew this before I said it but it’s the type you pack will make a difference in keeping your blood sugar steady, hunger in check and they can take a lot of travel abuse and still be edible. We love Rxbar – the ingredients are clean, simple, and they taste amazing. These bars are a beautiful blend of protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates for keeping your hanger at bay. We also love Larabar (but these are a little lower in protein) and in a pinch a Nature Valley Protein bar is a much better choice over a Snicker’s from the airport newsstand any day.
- Nuts – so easy to fill a baggie with a healthy, filling snack to keep your travel hanger under control. Shoot for salt free or low sodium. Adding extra sodium to your flight can lead to feeling heavy and bloated.
- Wrap – the grown-up version of pb&j – simple nut butter with a little jam on a whole grain wrap – put the fire out without any fuss.
- Carrots and snap peas. Crunchy awesomeness, help pop your ears and fill your tummy with mother nature’s good stuff.
- Apples or Pears – You can even pre-slice them, so you don’t have to think about the where to stuff the core.
- Grapes – pack in a zip lock or leak proof container for a sweet refreshing snack. Pack some cheese and whole grain crackers….kind of sounds like something they sell on the airplane only without the upcharge that comes with flying at 35,000 feet.
- Protein powder in a shaker bottle – add water or milk from the news stand after you have passed through security.
- Dry oatmeal cup (get the one with added protein)– add hot water (food court) past security.
- Granola or whole grain cereal (no/low added sugar) – chomp on it as a crispy snack or grab a milk or yogurt at the new stand to wash it down.
- Jerky – be careful with this one though. Usually sugar is the second or third ingredient in jerky. There are brands that have created lower sugar versions – check the label to get the best one.
- Squeezy baby food. I know this sounds totally weird, but they make excellent options with protein, fruit and veggie blends that even grown-ups like. Ask any mom with a toddler and she can tell you which ones go down without a struggle. Mama Chia are awesome, pouch is 3.5 oz and is 70 calories. We have yet to struggle with TSA with these but it is possible – 3.4 oz is the official size limit.
- Protein Balls – 1 cup almond flour, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, ½ cup peanut butter, ¼ cup honey and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips. Stir until combined, if too dry add a bit more peanut butter. Roll into 1-inch balls. Pack in a container to keep them from mashing. Super awesome!
Consider packing a small insulated bag with cold foods like cheese sticks, grilled chicken, hummus, veggies -toss in an empty zip lock and fill it with ice once you have passed security for longer flights when you don’t want to be stuck with airplane food options but don’t want to give yourself food poisoning either.
When you are on the ground make your first stop a grocery store. It’s quick and easy to pick up bagged carrots, snap peas, hummus and fruit. Fresh sliced deli turkey (love Boar’s Head), an avocado and package of spinach plus a whole grain wrap and you have an easy, super healthy portable meal.
Traveling can be stressful and hectic. Simplifying the process by planning and having excellent options already in the bag can help make being on the road a wonderful (healthy) adventure. Bon Voyage!