Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Travel
Linda S. Rellergert, MS, nutrition and health
education specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Summer often includes travel as families head off on vacation.
Whether traveling by plane, train or car, leaving food choices to
chance can mean paying a high price in terms of health as well as
cash. While packing for your trip, give a few moments thought to
eating well along the way so you can be prepared.
1. Take it with you. By bringing along your own snacks
and possibly even meals, you will be certain to have food you and
your family want to eat when you want to eat.
- Keep food safety in mind when choosing foods to carry with
you. A cooler full of food is great for car trips, but impractical
for public transportation. On planes, trains or buses, an insulated
bag with cold pack keeps perishables like meat, hard cooked
eggs and vegetable salads fresh and safe to eat for several
- Vacations are a good time to do things a bit out of the
ordinary. A picnic breakfast fits that criterion, especially
if the driver likes to get an early start while passengers sleep.
Take along traditional breakfast fare like cereal and juice,
or more portable with muffins and fresh fruit to eat out of
- Fresh fruits and veggies make great snacks as well as companions
for sandwiches, even those you pick up at fast food restaurants.
Make sure all are washed and ready to eat. Bite-sized veggies
like cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery and sweet pepper
sticks are obvious choices. Grapes, apples, cherries and blueberries
are sweet and easy to eat. Dried fruit like raisins, apricots,
peaches, are also drip-free and tasty.
2. Pick it up along the way. A bit of looking can reveal
healthful choices at convenience stores on the road or in airports.
- Water, juice and milk are better choices than soft drinks
for staying well hydrated. Be sure to take along bottled water
when flying as recycled cabin air tends to be rather dry and
the beverage cart may take a while to get to your section.
- Look beyond the candy bars and bags of chips for granola
bars, nuts and trail mix. Watch portion sizes, though, as these
snacks are rather high in calories as well as nutrients. Take
out a reasonable amount and put the remainder out of sight,
and out of mind.
3. Stop and stock up at a supermarket. Even small communities
are likely to have a grocery store where you can pick up road food
with greater variety and value than restaurants. You’ll also get
a taste of local life along with your groceries.
- Pick up sandwich fixings, or even the sandwiches themselves
at the deli counter. Salads and sides may also be available
to round out the meal.
- Bagels, whole grain crackers and rolls are sturdy enough
to travel well and serve as sandwich bases or snack.
- Salad bars offer a wide variety of washed, ready to eat
fruits and vegetables in addition to salads and soups.
- Many snack foods are high in fat, sugar or both. Choices like pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, baked chips, and graham crackers can stave off hunger pangs in a more healthful way.
Last update: Monday, March 22, 2010