Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Travel
Healthful travel advice
Jim Meyer, Nutrition Specialist in Ralls County, University of Missouri Extension
Spring and summer months are the perfect time to squeeze in a family vacation. Too often, however, we return from our travels feeling exhausted and weary from an “unfit” vacation. The reasons are many: overeating, trying to log too many miles, sporadic sleep schedules and too little exercise.
Here are a few tips on how to combine fun activities and healthy eating habits to help you and your family feel great, both on your trip and after the return home.
- Pack some healthy snacks for car travel. A small cooler or ice
chest works great to keep beverages and perishable items cool and
tasty. Popcorn, pretzels, fresh or dried fruit, yogurt cups, bagels,
vegetable sticks, 100 percent fruit juice, whole grain crackers and
string cheese are all satisfying and healthy snack choices.
- If you’re traveling by plane, drink plenty of fluids before,
during and after your flight. Minimize any beverages containing caffeine
or alcohol, since these can dehydrate you. Bring your own bottle
of water on board, if permitted.
- Stick with lower fat or light meals and plan in advance if possible
by either eating before getting on the road or stopping somewhere
with choices other than just fast food. Try not to skip meals while
you are on the road so you’ll be less likely to overeat or make unhealthy
choices later in the day.
- Restaurant eating can become monotonous and costly, and kids
may not always appreciate the unfamiliar menu options. Why not make
a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up breakfast cereal, fruit,
milk and bagels for an easy nutritious meal you can put together
- If you’re camping, plan for healthful meals in advance. Think
and include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein
- Help your family meet their daily calcium requirements — about three cups of milk, yogurt and cheese. For nutritious convenience, bring along grated cheese to add to spaghetti, tacos and burritos; dried milk to add to pancake mix; fluid milk for cereal; and yogurt for snacks.
Here are some tips for staying active while on the road.
- Whether you’re camping or staying at a resort hotel, take advantage
of the great outdoors and go on a nature walk or hike with the entire
family. See who can spot the largest variety of birds along the way.
You’ll reap the benefits of fitness and each other’s company.
- Take along sports equipment for the entire family. A badminton
or croquet set, a volleyball or Frisbee, snorkeling gear (for any
nearby water attractions) and tennis racquets, all of which add up
to fun and exercise.
- Ask your children to plan an activity the entire family can do
while on vacation: a kickball game, catch, relay games or tag.
- Plan time for exercise — a mid-day bike ride, morning nature
walk or afternoon swim at the hotel pool will help you stay on the
fitness track even when you’re on the road.
- If you’re booking your vacation at a hotel, be sure and ask about
available fitness facilities. Many have a pool for swimming laps,
aerobics classes, weight-training equipment and jogging/walking maps
of surrounding areas.
- Pack exercise clothing, walking or jogging shoes, comfy clothes
and a bathing suit.
- If you’re doing a lot of driving, bring your bikes and stop for a ride through the countryside. Don’t forget to pack your bike helmets and sports bottles to carry along thirst-quenching water.
Last update: Tuesday, June 18, 2013