If you are a frequent business traveler, you must be used to stumbling upon tireless agendas, long meetings, and jetlagged sleepless nights. And if you are planning for a leisure trip, you must have also prepared yourself for the annoying airport security queues, extended hours on the plane, and crazy weekend traffic on the road. But have you also taken into consideration the diet mines which are placed in your airplane, hotel, and highway restaurants with the sole objective of messing with your healthy eating efforts and erasing your past dieting triumphs? Not yet? Read on to learn the nuances of eating healthily and staying fit while traveling.
The In-Flight Diet
Air travelers usually bring their own snacks from home or pick up something to eat en route. Bag of nuts and dried fruits, apples, banana, oranges, and single-serve packages of peanut butter and crackers or rice cakes are excellent travel mates for the trip ahead.
Though the lure of inexpensive, fast and filling fast foods is immense, remember to steer clear of the high-calorie sweetened beverages and skip the fat laden entrée’s, fried snacks, salted nuts, doughnuts, and burger combo meals. Not only will you not have broken your diet plans, but you'll feel much more comfortable while you travel. A grilled chicken sandwich without the mayo, pasta with vegetables and tomato sauce, quesadillas, egg white omelets, whole wheat bagels, yogurt, and fresh fruit smoothies prepared with low-fat milk are other healthy options at airport restaurants. If time and budget permits, sleuth around the terminal and find a nice place to enjoy a nutritious sit-down meal before boarding.
Depending on the airline, you may be offered either an option of trying the ‘in flight’ meals or to buy ‘on board’ meal packs. For meals, go for deli sandwiches and rolls with egg or lean meats as filling, veggies or salads as side dish, and fresh fruits for dessert. And when the beverage cart comes closer, pick up plain water, green tea over sodas, lattes, and alcoholic drinks.
On the Road Diet
The typical highway fare of chips, sodas, and microwave-ready foods can pack on extra calories, sodium, and fats and leave you feeling sluggish and likely to experience a sugar crash. Even if you are planning to hit the road early, be sure to have a small breakfast of oats and milk or toast with peanut butter at home. Starting the journey on a full stomach will help you to stay alert and energetic and ward the junk food cravings away.
Pack string cheese, crackers, bran cookies, low-fat protein bars, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and plenty of water for your trip. During gas or restroom breaks, scoot through the convenience store aisles for healthy foods which can be eaten later. Do simple stretching exercises such as neck and shoulder rolls and ab-strengthening tummy suctions in between long driving or sitting in the car sessions to ease strained muscles, digest food better, and burn a few calories.
At Hotel Diet
It is possible to enjoy a healthy meal at the hotel without blowing a hole in your budget or diet. Read the menu carefully and select the items that use steaming, braising, roasting, or sautéing as cooking methods. Go for smaller-sized burgers and sandwiches without the fried sides. At food outlets, select an entrée with veggies and lean meat, that’s aren't battered or fried. Ask for the dressings, sauces, mayo, and honey to be served on the side so that you can control the quantity you use. Start your meal with a salad packed with veggies to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies. Choose main dishes that include vegetables - such as stir fries, salads, and kebobs.
People with special needs such as pregnant women, diabetics, or children must take extra care about what they eat and drink. Don't hesitate to mention your special meal preferences to the airline or restaurant staff and ask for tailored meals to suit your taste and health conditions.
The Bottom Line
While traveling need not be an excuse to splurge in unhealthy temptations, meals away from home should also not bother one to the extent of being a freak or spoilsport. The idea is to make some smart choices and have fun with family or friends without letting the diet to go on a travel spree too.
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