How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
By Bonnie Pfiester, Fitness Trainer
Traveling is a dieter’s nightmare.
Traveling can destroy a diet if your not careful.
Traveling can be tough for dieters. Convenience store junk food, the infamous airline snack box and combo meals all add up to a diet disaster.
There is something about traveling that makes us think we’re hungry. Let’s start with road trips. I don’t know about you, but Steve and I have the worst snack attacks when driving long distances. Although the need to feed mostly stems from boredom, the million billboards showcasing juicy hamburgers don’t help either.
Once a billboard convinces you to stop and eat, you find yourself driving down an unknown road with restaurant after restaurant calling your name. Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Denny’s, Dairy Queen, Applebees – they all have a special, or menu item, to capture your attention.
Once you decide where to eat you, have to battle the menu. No matter how many times I’ve been to a restaurant, and even if I know what I should order, I still feel the need to read the entire menu. What in the world am I thinking? I’m just welcoming temptation. Before you know it, I’ve justified why I can afford to eat a Hamburger and fries.
If you are not traveling on the ground you have a different set of problems. Opposite of having too many choices, airline passengers have very few food choices. You’re trapped 35,000 feet in the air when a stewardess offers you an unappealing selection of nuts, cookies, crackers and cheese surprise. While first classers eat their high-calorie mystery meal, coach passengers get a sorry selection of the most boring sandwiches, bagels or salads they’ve ever wasted calories on.
In any case, the answer to the dieter’s traveling blues is planning ahead. You’ll pack your toothbrush so why not pack your food? It’s not like you don’t know you’re going to be stuck in a car or plane for several hours.
First, pack healthy snacks like pretzels, whole fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese sticks, beef jerky, lunch meat, nuts, rice cakes or protein bars to prevent you from getting hungry and making poor choices. Second, learn to say no – plain and simple. Third, keep a calorie book on you. It’s much easier to cheat when you don’t know what you are eating. Lastly, bring other things to entertain you besides food, like a good book or magazine.
Traveling will always be tough for dieters, but with a little planning you can beat the need to feed.
You are invited to leave your fitness and sports nutrition questions in the comments below for Bonnie to briefly answer or write about in future articles.