Eating Healthy While on the Road

A lighter topic than others lately. Someone raised the issue of eating healthy while traveling. This is really an organizing issue as a little planning ahead can both maintain health and finances while satisfying hunger. The principles involved apply whether one is running errands around town, going to work, or going out of town.

It is usually both healthier and cheaper to bring your own food than to eat out. Cheaper because there’s no overhead and profit added to the cost of the food. Healthier because you are more likely to pay attention to fat, sodium and maybe additive levels, to really be concerned with nutrients, and to know your dietary needs.

The second principle is that the more vegetables and fruits included in your plan, the easier it will be to stay healthy and keep costs down. Since both of these can be bulky and messy, forms that pack well are needed. Fresh fruit is more easily managed on short trips, but stocking a hotel room with fruit from a local store can support healthy, low-cost eating on the road. When I was working I used to pack a bountiful salad most days; this was an excellent alternative to eating out; it was easy to vary the ingredients or dressing enough to fend off boredom. These days, most grocery stores have salad-greens mixes ready-made so you only need to add any other ingredients desired and the dressing.

If you are driving or taking a train or bus, you have more portable food options than if you are flying. Many healthy foods travel well:

If you are able to bring a portable cooler with re-freezable inserts, your options increase greatly

One way to encourage healthy and low-cost eating while traveling is to look for hotels or motels with kitchenettes. Hitting the local farmers market or grocery store can improve food quality over eating out.

If there is a social component to eating out, lead the way with your group by suggesting the healthiest and most reasonably priced option. Places that specialize in fresh foods with minimal preparation are healthiest.

©2011 Gloria Valoris

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