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Eating Well On the Road

Map out a healthy-food plan before leaving on vacation, nutritionist advises

SUNDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Don't let the road to a summer vacation put you on a crash course with an unhealthy, fast-food diet.

"Nowadays, you can eat a healthy, balanced, calorie-appropriate meal no matter where you travel," Duke University's Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director of the North Carolina school's diet and fitness center, said in a news release.

To eat better on the road, Politi suggests:

  • Take healthy snacks with you. Stock a cooler with cheese, pre-cut vegetables, yogurt and other good foods to munch on while in transit. Pack a bag with individual portions of low-fat popcorn, trail mix, energy bars, nuts or dried fruit.
  • Drink more water. Avoid the sugar of soda and other soft drinks that add empty calories. Don't think that diet sodas and artificial sweeteners are any better because some studies find they may actually increase appetite. If you crave a sweet drink, try a little low-fat chocolate milk.
  • Pick healthy menu items. Opt for lighter fare like salads, grilled sandwiches and wraps when possible, an option easier to do now that many restaurants either post or can provide their food's nutritional information. If you must indulge, choose small portions or share larger ones to help limit intake.
  • Eat a good breakfast. Always start a travel day with a healthy meal to help balance out what may come later. If your overnight hotel room has a refrigerator, load it the night before with cereal, low-fat milk, yogurt and fruit so you can start the day right.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about choosing healthy fast foods.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, June 8, 2009

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