Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eating on the Road

It's a fact of life that everyone has experienced at some time in their life, either occasionally, or on a regular basis; eating while traveling.  I've heard it from my family, my clients (you know who you are), my friends and I've even experienced it myself.  It's hard to eat healthy when you're "on the road".  I'm about to shock you:

It's not impossible to eat healthy while traveling!

Here's an example:  I recently completed a 3 hour drive during the early morning hours, leaving well before breakfast.   I had to get some food because my stomach was rumbling.  Plus, breakfast is an important meal of the day and I try not to skip it.  (Studies have shown that skipping breakfast is not a good idea, and in the long run can contribute to weight gain - but that's another day another blog.)

I could have stopped at my local fast food chain for a morning breakfast sandwich and a fried potato thing - but instead I pulled over to the local grocery store across the street.  There, I purchased for $5.12 a fruit smoothie (Boathouse) drink (3 3/4 servings of fruit and NO ADDED SUGAR!), a banana, and a 3oz serving of local cheese.  Total calories 260 for the smoothie, 90 for the banana, and 225 for the cheese (I didn't eat all of it), for a total of 575 calories.  For comparison purposes, a McDonald's Sausage Egg McMuffin and hash browns are 680 calories.  My meal was full of vitamins, nutrients, calcium and some protein and contained 27% fat.  The McDonald's breakfast meal was 54% fat and had little vitamins but did have some protein.  The cost was slightly less for the healthy meal.  I personally would have preferred some extra protein (hard boiled egg, for instance), but it simply wasn't available at this stop.  I'll have to plan better next time, of course.

I have a friend who travels extensively, and refuses to eat fast food, because she believes that fast food makes us fat.  So, when she travels, she relies on local grocery stores for breakfast, some lunches and dinners, and snacks.  She rarely eats in a restaurant because she knows she can get a healthier meal in her room with the groceries that she buys.  She also prefers to have home-cooked meals at friends' homes whenever possible.  I have traveled with her and I do feel better whenever we eat together.

I also know people that travel that eat out extensively, sometimes because they don't get the opportunity to do so on a regular basis, thus it's a "treat" for them.  Others do it on a regular basis.  To those people, I say, once in awhile is okay as long as you choose healthy meal options (or you exercise extensively to work it off).  However, if travel is your lifestyle and you travel regularly, you might want to consider stopping at your local grocery store for food items next time you're on the road.  You'll feel better and probably save some money.

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