Traveling requires a lot of preparation under normal circumstances. As a cancer patient, there is even more to consider. Cancer patients and their families must be strategic when mapping out the family vacation, from preparing medications to familiarizing themselves with the nearest medical centers. One piece of planning that often slips through the cracks – cancer patient or not – is how to eat healthy while traveling.
Indulging in new restaurants and local flavors is a highlight of many vacations. However, the meals travelers eat between home and their destination typically lack nutritional value and are only eaten to put hunger at bay. The food available at airports, served on planes, or easily accessed on road trips leaves a lot desired. Luckily, it is easy to ensure the entire family keeps healthy while traveling with just a bit more planning.
Think about following these five rules for healthy eating while traveling:
This rule is as important while traveling as it is every other day of the year. Being confined to a car or airplane makes it more challenging to steadily drink water because there is not a tap easily accessible. Pack several reusable water bottles to fill with water and regularly drink from during travels. Fruit is also hydrating and usually boasts vital antioxidants and nutrients. Consider packing a few food storage containers with a variety of ready-to-eat fruit, like berries or mandarins, for a healthy and hydrating snack.
Lighten Up Fast Food
Convenience doesn’t always need to correlate with unhealthy choices. If popping into an airport café or pulling into a drive-through, choose grilled chicken, vegetables, and salads (hold the dressing and cheese). These lighter options have a better nutrient-to-calorie ratio, giving the body more of what it needs to function.
Pack More Snacks – Seriously, More
Packing a lot of snacks is the key to keeping a regular diet while traveling. Bringing only a few healthy options usually leads to either consuming the snacks almost immediately or risks these options not entirely satisfying the hunger. The latter of these outcomes can prompt looking for a less healthy alternative. Pack a variety of dried fruits and nuts, several flavors of protein bars, and jerky. These can live at the bottom of the suitcase for the entire vacation without spoiling and offer enough variety to meet most cravings. Other healthy and satisfying snacks include dark chocolate, applesauce, fruits, veggies, and sandwiches.
Take Control of Meals
Extended layovers and long flights can make it hard to rely solely on a stash of snacks. Making special requests for meals can reduce unnecessary fat and salt and even support portion control. When booking a flight, airlines allow for special meal requests, including no added salt or opting for vegan dishes. Passengers should consider what their bodies need more and less when traveling and make requests to support this. Similarly, when ordering meals at restaurants, ask for dressings on the side or even half portions depending on the body’s needs. It may be worth asking an oncology dietician for advice before traveling for those unsure about their body needs.
Add Physical Movement to Travel Plans
Food fuels the body, but it is just as important to exercise when traveling. Whether this means planned stops along a road trip or pacing up and down the airplane aisle, try to move the legs and stretch at least a few times each trip.