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Healthier Ways to Eat When Traveling

Smart Substitution: Foods for the Road
  -- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

It’s hard to eat healthy on the road. You’re driving hours to your final destination and the last thing you’re worried about is what you’re eating. All too often people focus on arriving as quickly as possible and overlook taking care of their own bodies. And it leads to exhaustion before you even arrive.

There are many tactics at your disposal to ensure a refreshed and invigorated feeling when you arrive. Believe it or not, nutrition is pretty basic. Step No. 1 – drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause fatigue and make you feel just plain lousy. Yes, this will mean more rest stops and bathroom breaks. Trust us, it will be worth it in the long run. As a special note, alcohol causes dehydration. Drinking alcohol on the plane (or even the night before your trip) is not the wisest course of action. If you do order a glass of wine or two, make sure to match every drink with an extra cup of water.

Try eating an extra-healthy meal the night before leaving. Your body will be better prepared to handle the rigors of traveling. Load up on foods you think you might be skimping on during the trip, such as fruits and vegetables. Don’t go overboard on the calories; just make sure you’re getting as much out of your meal as you can, nutrient-wise.
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We all know that rest area food and airplane meals aren’t so great. Either they taste horrible, or are so loaded with the bad stuff (fat, grease, sodium) that you know you’ll be doing your body a disservice by consuming them. So what can you do? Bring some food with you! That doesn’t mean packing an oversized cooler (although you can if you have room in the car). It means bringing small, easy to pack, easy to eat, nourishing foods. Items such as nuts, fruit, energy bars, granola, or raw veggies are simple snack ideas. Individually wrapped items are especially useful when traveling. Pull one out, munch down, and at the next stop, pitch the wrapper (in a trash can of course).

It’s key to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Don’t skip meals just because you’re "making good time." You’ll need the energy. When it comes down to it, use your head. Try to eat as healthy as you can, just as you would any other day.