December has arrived and with it the season for good cheer, good friends, great food…and travel. AAA estimates that about 90 million Americans will be travelling more than 50 miles to celebrate the holiday season with loved ones. If you happen to be one of these travelers, whether it be by plane, train, car, or boat, make sure to use these tips to stay healthy and keep your nutrition on par all season long.
The key to eating well while travelling is to plan ahead. Prepare snacks and meals to eat every couple of hours and pack extra in case of unexpected delays, which tend to occur much more frequently this time of year. To avoid spending too much at airports and restaurants for food that is typically high in fat, salt, and calories, stock up on individually portioned, nutrient-dense snacks, bring homemade wraps or leftovers. (Get creative!) Also make sure to keep a water bottle on hand at all times to prevent dehydration and boost your immune system.
If you are flying, pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on and fill it up as soon as you pass security. You should drink 6 ounces for every hour in flight. You may also want to avoid foods that cause excess bloating in-flight, such as legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and carbonated beverages. The decrease in cabin-pressure causes stomach gases to expand, and the added gases created by the digestion of these foods can leave you feeling a little more like Santa Claus when you exit the plane!
Here are our favorite snack ideas to help make sure that you arrive at your destination energized and nourished this holiday season:
- Low-fat, plain Greek yogurt cups
- Plain, unsweetened instant oatmeal (just ask for boiling water on the plane or in gas stations and bring your own nuts for toppings)
- Apple slices with individual nut butter packets (we like Justin’s)
- Veggies (baby carrots, snow peas, cucumber slices) with hummus (individual portions available)
- Single-serving packets of protein shakes – bring a smoothie bottle
- Whole food snack bars (Epic bars, Zing bars for example)
- String cheese
- Shredded chicken or turkey breast
- Hardboiled eggs
- Homemade date nut balls
- Nuts or trail mix (individual packets available at Trader Joe’s, or homemade)
- Homemade wraps (use large collard leaves as wraps to keep the carbs down) and sandwiches (toast the bread first to prevent sogginess!)
- Tea bags
Not traveling this year? Keeping snacks on hand when you’re busy at home or at the office can be just as important. (You don’t want to show up at the holiday party after a day of running around so hungry that you eat a plate of cookies for dinner). Use these same snack ideas for the days you’re too busy shopping, hosting, cooking, caroling or tree decorating to slow down for meals.
Edited by Flannery, Bastyr University Intern