I had the blessing this past week to spend five days with my family in Iowa. It was a great trip and my wee one is a pro at air travel. But, as with many vacations, we had travel difficulties. Two flight cancellations later, we found ourselves in the Des Moines airport for a lot longer than expected (Chicago O'Hare was closed for two days). At one point, all of the airport restaurants closed (at 8pm) and the small shop there was in the process of closing. We were among many many stranded travelers and people were purchasing snacks right and left, because no one really knew when, or if, their flights would be leaving that evening (it's super interesting to observe people's actions when they don't know when their next meal is going to be- but that's another topic). The choices were not great. Especially for a toddler. And I was unprepared.
We survived. We made it home. But the experience made me even more aware of the challenges of eating healthfully while traveling.
Is travel in your summer plans? Here are a few tips:
1. Bring your own healthy meals and snacks
Don't rely on airports, or stops along your drive, to have the healthy choices. Yes, liquids can't make it past security in your carry-ons, but food can! That's right- you can pack your own fruits, veggies, and even sandwiches and such! If you are traveling by car, pack a cooler with fresh foods and healthy choices. Good choices include apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, nuts, carrots and celery sticks, tuna fish packets, oatmeal bowls, hummus, olives, cheese sticks, and peanut butter.
2. Research your options
Tis the age of the smartphone. And thank goodness in times when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. Many times you can look at a restaurant's menu and make a healthy choice prior to even entering the building. Check out this list of apps to help you find a restaurant near you! And don't forget about grocery stores! They are great places to find a quick, healthy meal.
3. Be smart when eating out
- Always assume that a restaurant meal has more calories (and sodium) then the same meal would have if you made it at home.
- Share a meal with someone to decrease your portion size. Or have half of your meal boxed up before it even reaches your table.
- Once you have a healthy choice in mind, order before anyone else at your table does! Others' choices may influence you to order something else. Stick to your guns!
- Ask (politely) for healthy substitutions. Don't be afraid to ask for things not on the menu. Most restaurants will have fresh fruit and vegetables. Ask how things are prepared. Don't feel like you are being a burden. Trust me- they have dealt with more difficult customers than you.
What other travel tips do you use?