Jan 182012
Authors: Kate Wilson

For some, the holiday season means standing in long airport-security lines or logging hours behind the wheel to visit family.

Whether dining between flights or munching on the road, it’s important to fuel your body for sustainability. Holiday trips can leave you tired and disoriented, but being prepared and choosing the right foods can help you fight travel-induced fatigue.

“To stay sustained, think about protein and fiber to stay full and carbohydrates for energy,” said Teri Giordano, a dietetic intern and graduate nutrition student at University of Illinois at Chicago, in an email.

She suggests tuna in a pouch or cup, low-fat string cheese, yogurt or peanut butter for protein to keep you full and whole-wheat crackers, toast or English muffins to get your dose of carbs and fiber.

“Fruits and veggies are high in fiber and low in calories, loaded with vitamins and minerals and may help with energy,” Giordano said.

Whatever your means of travel, planning ahead is the best way to stay on the healthy-eating track. You can pack your own healthy snacks in a travel bag (sans the liquid foods if you’re traveling by plane), and decide ahead of time what foods you’ll look for in convenience stores and restaurants.

“If you plan ahead, that will curb the [likeliness of eating] extra calories if you stop at the convenience store and go ‘oh, I’m starving,’” Sylvia Krick, a senior food science and human nutrition major at Colorado State University, said.

“It doesn’t hurt to bring a bag of nuts with you… Fruit travels well,” Krick said. “Those little Babybel cheeses travel well. I love those for road trips.”

While bringing healthy snacks from home is the best and usually least expensive option, sometimes it’s impossible to go all day without buying something along the way. Katie Russ, a senior food science and nutrition major at CSU, said if you’re stopping to eat in an airport café or a restaurant along the road, tell yourself that you’re going to eat healthy.

“Before you even go into a restaurant, think ‘I’m going to look into a healthy option,’” she said. “Don’t let the menu or waitress talk you into something. A low-carb menu is typically a healthier option.”

Russ also warns to look out for portion sizes. Ask for the lunch-size instead of the dinner-size entrée, and keep in mind that you can eat half and take the rest with you for later.

“Most fast-food places offer healthier side options such as side salads, apple slices and yogurt parfaits,” Giordano said. “Choose these over fries, cookies and other high-calorie options.”

If you’re stopping for coffee, you can pick up healthy food options at the same time.

“There’s going to be a Starbucks at every airport. Look in their little refrigerated area and sometimes they have cheese and crackers,” Krick said. “Or nuts, or those Kind bars – I eat those all the time, and it’s all natural.”

As far as your need for caffeine goes, be sure you’re still taking care of what you put into your body.

“Get a small cup of coffee rather than a foo-foo drink,” Russ said. “Coffee drinks that have chocolate or whipped cream are high in sugar. [It] will put you on a sugar high, but it’s not going to help stay awake longer.”

Whatever you eat, Giordano suggests eating several small, frequent snacks throughout the day. This keeps your energy level and helps avoid junk food
and overeating.

“I recommend three modest-size meals and two small snacks per day,” she said. “If this is not possible while traveling, then break your meals into approximately five or six snacks spread throughout the day.”

 Posted by at 3:12 am

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