Top 4 tips for traveling
A couple of weeks ago I found myself sitting at the airport with only a bag of pistachios to nibble on. It was one of those mornings where I had no time to prepare food to bring with me. As I browsed through the terminal, I found nothing of value to eat other than some overpriced fruit. This situation reminded me how essential it is to carry a lunchbox, especially considering the amount of unhealthy food choices we encounter. The key to having a successful and healthy trip is to be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need to stay on track, and it will keep you feeling good and physically energized. Traveling can be stressful and unpredictable, so packing balanced foods is essential. A few tips to consider on your next trip: 1. Be sure to eat a balanced meal before heading to the airport, even if you don't like traveling on a full stomach, you will still have some time to digest before takeoff. Be mindful, “Eat slowly and avoid eating gas-forming foods (peanuts, cabbage, etc.) or carbonated liquids shortly before a flight. The swallowed air or gas formed through digestion will expand and can cause discomfort.” (1) 2. Stay hydrated. Humidity in the cabin is generally low, which means it is even more important to stay hydrated to avoid discomfort. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, and reduced concentration. Who wants that? Drink water and minimize alcohol, caffeinated and sugary drinks as they tend to dehydrate the body. Also, drinking lots of water will keep you moving as you will need to visit the lavatory regularly, and it will also help avoid any muscle stiffness from prolonged periods of sitting… two birds with one stone! 3. Get organized and equipped BEFORE your trip. If you have some good options within your reach you will be less likely to want anything else! If you have an early morning flight, then pack everything the night prior. A little bit of planning goes a long way. 4. Keep it light. According to WebMD, it's harder to digest while in the air although it's perfectly okay to eat. Be mindful of quantities. Carry plenty of balanced snacks and meals that will help keep your blood sugar levels steady. Here are some of my favorites; I have carried some or all of these depending on the duration of the flight. Always carry extra in case your flight is delayed! (2) - Trail mix: Mix equal parts of Dried fruit - dates, prunes, raisins and figs. When choosing dried fruit beware of the added sugar. Cranberries and ginger are two that come to mind that almost always have added sugar in them. Then, add raw nuts/seeds - almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. This will make a great snack anytime of the day! - Nut stuffed dried fruit. Stuff dried fruit such as dates, prunes or figs with almonds, Brazil nuts or pistachios. These are a delicious treat! - Boiled eggs, pitted olives and hummus. - Sliced or whole vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli. - Salted nuts. These are filling and satisfying any time of the day. - Brown rice cakes with individual size peanut butter or honey. - Portable fruit: apple, orange, banana, pear or berries. These are all nutritious and mess-free. - Trail-mix cookies. Try my recipe, they are delicious and will keep you satisfied. - If carrying foods that require refrigeration, freeze them the night before. I do this with cheese sticks, humus and my sandwich or wrap – nothing too heavy. - For my two and a half year old son, I pack: a boiled egg, cooked pasta, beans with a drizzle of oil, and cut up veggies. However, if you find that you are stressed for time, don’t fret. You might have to put a little effort in your search, but healthy options do exist. So don’t settle, keep looking! Here are my findings: - Most airports have food kiosks that carry some of these options: plain Greek yogurt (stay away from fruit in the bottom type yogurts as they are full of sugar), single serving size cheese, hard-boiled eggs and even edamame, olives, humus, and peanut butter. - Sit down restaurants will likely offer salads on their menu. Don’t be afraid to ask for some changes; keep it basic with fresh veggies, add protein and ask for olive oil and vinegar instead of dressing. Stay away from anything fried or too salty. - You can always find fresh fruits like bananas, apples or oranges, and raw unsalted almonds in a store or restaurant at the airport. I’ve also seen some air-popped popcorn in some stores too. - For international flights, request a gluten free or diabetic meal, it has been my experience to get a healthier meal that contains more veggies and grilled meats. For domestic flights, be mindful of your snack choices and when in doubt go for the protein box, some airlines sell fruit as well. Travel safe and be healthy!
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