Eating well is a challenge when you travel. The holidays are here, which means travel demands increase, unhealthy food choices increase, and excuses increase. "I'll work it all off after the holidays," we say.
The holidays are such a fun time to indulge, making it difficult to follow a diet. If you are currently making healthy food choices, modifying your diet to accommodate travel is easy. Holiday meals and restaurant foods can be high in fat and calories--as well as low in nutrients. So remember to eat in moderation and bring food with you wherever you go.
The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a measurement of the effect that a 50-gram carbohydrate serving of food has on blood glucose level, compared to eating a 50-gram carbohydrate serving of glucose. Regulating blood sugar levels is important for maintaining balance. Some foods cause a rapid response in your body--an initial elevation in energy as the blood sugar rises, followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy and increased hunger.
A normal eating routine will help your body sustain energy. Choosing foods that have a low-glycemic index will keep you full longer and help you reach your destination without diving into less nutritious choices. Some examples of travel-worthy, low-glycemic foods are:
- Baby carrots
- All-bran dry cereal
- Low-fat yogurt
For more information on glycemic index go to: http://www.glycemicindex.com.
Travel by Plane
Travel plans can disrupt your normal routine, but you should try not to skip meals. Eating often allows blood sugar to stabilize and will provide sustained energy, which helps prevent jet lag. Eat small portions, frequently. Ask about food options when you book your flight. Most airlines provide meals for special diets. You can usually make requests for modifications to the menu if you have food allergies or intolerances. Before your flight, eat a larger meal so that you don't have to rely on the snacks provided.
Carry Bottled Water
Hydration is the key to maintaining a healthy diet. Long hours of travel can upset your digestive system. To minimize constipation, drink plenty of water.
Too much food in your stomach can leave you feeling lethargic and sleepy.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and Sodium
These tend to dehydrate the body--plus salt may cause fluid retention. Most foods available on the plane, in airport terminals and restaurants are loaded with salt.
While vacationing and during the holiday season, alcohol consumption increases. Choose wisely: lower calorie wine spritzers, dry white wine, champagne, vodka and soda water are your best choices. Remember alcohol delivers empty calories, lowers inhibitions, and can cloud healthy food choices.