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How to Eat Sensibly When Traveling

Eating healthy, nutritious food and sticking to a diet are especially hard when you are away from home — for business or pleasure. You’re at the mercy of the food service industry, which offers foods high in fat and low in nutrients.

The job of restaurants is to get you to buy, and eat, more than you planned. Your responsibility is to your health. Advertising is seductive, and your resolve may be weak. But you can win the battle for your dinner dollars if you follow these suggestions.

  • Control your portions. Go for the children’s menus at fast food chains. The portions are small but as filling if you eat slowly. One caveat: Don’t drink even the kid’s-size regular soda: It’s too much — 15 oz. milk or diet soda or juice is better and all are allowed with the kid’s meal. Add a salad, if available.

  • Stick to your regular meal schedule. If you normally have lunch at 1:00 p.m., then pull over at that time and get something to eat. This is particularly important when you’re traveling with kids. Hungry children quickly become cranky children. Also, by not letting yourself get completely famished, you’ll be better able to make smart food choices.

  • Get out of the car to eat. You will pay more attention to what you’re eating and have more healthy foods to choose from if you skip the drive-through and sit down at a table for lunch. If you eat too quickly, overeating is easy.

  • Eat with a fork and spoon. Order foods that force you to slow you down. You can’t eat salad or chunky soup easily with your hands.

  • Travel with plenty of water. The air conditioning in cars and plane cabins is really dehydrating. Bring plenty of water for you (and your kids) to drink along the way.

  • Pack plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating in the car can easily become a bad habit if food is a way to occupy bored children. If you must pack snacks because you’re traveling at snack or mealtime and can’t stop, make them fruit and vegetables. It’s much better to keep your hands and mouth busy with apples and baby carrots than crackers and potato chips.

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