In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, we have asked Dr. Loan Huynh, a Chiropractor who specializes in finding a natural healthcare methodology that uses their hands, nutrition, and other natural therapies to allow the human body to heal itself, to come and give some helpful tips for Healthy eating while on the road.
This summer, many people will be on the road traveling for vacation. When you think of eating on the road, is fast food the first image that comes to mind? You can eat healthy foods on the road and feel great so that you can thoroughly enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Pack snacks or meal replacements.
When traveling, we often don’t have access to food at regular intervals. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of skipping meals, then eating a big piece of cake later. This creates a problem: your body responds as if it’s facing a food shortage and your metabolism slows way down.
To keep your mind and body happy, pack healthy snacks in your car or backpack. Also, be sure to select foods that provide plenty of protein. Eating the right amount of complete protein stabilizes blood sugar, which prevents energy lags. It can also improve your concentration and mental acuity.
Here are a few examples of healthy road snacks:
• Raw vegetables and hummus
• Fresh fruit
• Trail mix with nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc)
• Coconut flakes and dried fruits
• Nut butters (some brands offer individual packets)
• Homemade sandwiches
And here are some protein-packed foods:
• Nitrate-free deli meat
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Beef, turkey or salmon jerky
• Protein bars
(Make sure to keep easily perishable items cold!)
Eating healthy on a regular basis takes a bit of planning—and eating healthy while traveling requires even more. Research the area where you’ll be staying. Use Google Maps, UrbanSpoon or Yelp to search for restaurants near your hotel. Find out where the closest grocery store is. As soon as you arrive at your destination, buy some healthy foods that you can prepare in your hotel room. I usually look to see if there’s a health food store near where I’m staying.
Also, plan your schedule. Make sure you have time to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch so that you’re not ravenous by dinner time. Map out the rest stops along your route. You may find yourself driving on long stretches of highway with few or no exits where you can buy food. If you know this in advance, you can decide if you want to stop somewhere before a long stretch or plan to eat the snacks that you’ve packed.
3. Avoid junk foods
You know what these are. They’re the foods that don’t make you feel good. They’re the foods you crave, but after you eat them, you feel sick or depleted. When you’re on the road, it’s important to avoid foods that drain your energy and deflate your mood
Here are the main foods to avoid:
• Simple carbs or high-glycemic foods such as processed grain products, sugary snacks, fruit juices, and sodas
• Fried foods like chips, donuts, etc.
• Anything partially hydrogenated like Jiffy-style peanut butter or margarine
• Most packaged baked goods
4. Drink lots of water.
The body needs water for most of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh and help you eat less. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, reduced concentration and low energy. Some symptoms of dehydration can mimic those of being overly hungry, leading you to overeat. Drinking water and herbal tea is a great way to keep your energy going. Pack a water bottle or spring water. Try drinking half of your body weight in ounces daily (for example, a 120-pound person would drink 60 ounces of water).
5. Don’t get down on yourself.
Perfectionism is perhaps more toxic than junk food. You may indulge in a few unhealthy meals while traveling. Just hop back on the healthy train afterward! The key to success with nutrition or anything else is to focus on winning small victories. If, for example, the only change you make to your diet during your next trip is to drink more water and less soda, you will get a little bit of health benefit. But more importantly, you will be a little bit more motivated to make another small improvement the next day.
There’s a lot of temptation to eat junk food and let your diet slip while traveling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Eating healthy on the road requires effort, but it’s easier and more enjoyable than most people think it is.
Dr. Huynh can be reached at:
Loan Huynh, DC
4008 Barrett Drive, Suite 104
Raleigh, NC 27609