Nutrition Column – Eating Nutritiously When Traveling

Whether you are traveling to grandma’s house or jetting off to faraway places, eating nutritiously while traveling can be challenging. Below are a few ideas to help you become a nutrition-savvy traveler.

When traveling by car:

  • Take food items from all five food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid.
  • Wash and prepare raw vegetables and store them in sealable plastic bags for quick, easy, no-mess snacks. Keep the food in an insulated cooler until ready to eat.
  • Pack lots of fresh fruit. Most fruit contains large amounts of water that can quench thirst and help prevent dehydration.
  • Keep single-portion, 100 percent fruit juice boxes, cans of vegetable juice or boxed, low fat milk in an insulated cooler.
  • Take other easy, non-perishable snacks such as plain popcorn, pretzels, peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers or dried fruit.
  • Pack perishable snacks, like yogurt and cheese, in an insulated cooler.

When traveling by air:

  • Don’t expect a snack or meal to be provided by the airlines. Airlines are increasingly looking for ways to trim costs, so if meal service is provided, it may just be a light snack. It’s okay to bring a snack from home in your purse, briefcase or carry-on bag. Dried fruit, raw vegetables, cheese and crackers, nuts, bagels and pretzels are all foods that travel well.
  • If beverages are served, select low-fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice or vegetable juice instead of soda or alcohol.
  • Drink plenty of water. Air travel is dehydrating because of the low humidity and recirculating air in the cabins of planes. To avoid dehydration, drink 8 ounces of fluid such as water, 100 percent fruit juice or low fat milk for every hour of flight.
  • If you require a special meal such as vegetarian, kosher, low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium or diabetic, call the airline at least 24 hours ahead of time. Most major airline carriers will accommodate special requests.

When traveling by sea:

  • Check out what’s on the menu. Most cruise ships offer healthy dishes that are clearly indicated.
  • Enjoy the wide variety of fruits and vegetables offered on cruise ship menus and at cruise ship buffets. Make sure to get your "5 a Day"!
  • Remember that calories in cocktails and poolside beverages can quickly add up.
  • If you experience seasickness, don’t stop eating altogether. Instead, try taking motion sickness medication and eating smaller, lighter meals and snacks.

Happy Trails!!