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Eating Right on the Road

By Rita Miller-Huey 

Remember the good old days when you and your companions could go traveling and not worry about what, when or where you were going to eat? Over the years our bodies and our needs change, and we must pay closer attention to the food we eat, as well as when we eat. With some simple pre-planning for meals and snacks, you can still enjoy a trip away from home.

Paying attention to what and when you eat can give you some important information related to how you feel. If you're not feeling well now, think about what you ate in the last 12 to 24 hours. Headache? Heart burn? High acid foods may cause indigestion, a rich dessert may cause fatigue, and going too long between meals may leave you feeling anxious or cranky. Who wants any of that while on vacation or even doing errands? Answering these questions will help you plan to meet your needs:

    What are your dietary requirements?

    How long will you be in the car or away from home doing errands?

    How often do you want to eat?

    Are you familiar with the route and destination or are they new?

    Are there conveniently spaced towns or rest stops 40 to 50 miles apart?

    Do you know any restaurants along the way that can meet your dietary requirements? Who may know? 

Steps to make eating when traveling, easier:

    Do what you know works for you. When you are away from home you want to feel your best, so it's the time to stick as close as possible to your normal eating patterns (even though the temptation to cheat is great).

    Call ahead to your hotel or hosts. Ask about the restaurants in the area. Put your mind at ease.

    Pack plenty of your favorite snacks.

    Think about the mess factor when eating in the car.

    Non-perishable items last longest and need the least fuss: whole grain crackers, nuts or sunflower seeds, snack bars, fresh fruit or cereal.

    A thermal bag and an ice pack make perishable items easy, too: cheese (pre-sliced or sliced before you go), no fat lunch meat, pudding or yogurt cups, sliced vegetables: peppers, carrots or celery.

    Plenty of water and/or fruit juices will keep you from dehydrating.

    Traveling may not be quite as spontaneous, but it can still be enjoyable for you and those who are depending on you.


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