When you think of summer weekends, what food pops into your mind? When you think of eating on the road, is fast food the first thing you think of? This summer, don’t eat foods that will leave you feeling depleted, bloated, and tired. Making better food choices will have a positive impact on your leisure time. Healthy food and plenty of water will sustain your energy levels, fuel your muscles, and help you recover quickly. The food you eat on the road will serve as your traveling repair kit.
Healthy eating starts where you stop – If you’re on the road and stop at a fast-food joint, your food choices will be limited to fast food. But if you stop at a grocery store that offers whole or healthy foods—fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus—or a supermarket that features a salad bar, you quickly expand your choices (and reduce junk-food temptations).
Eat frequently, and in smaller amounts – Eating small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day sends a signal to your brain that the food supply is plentiful, so it’s okay to burn through those calories quickly. Limiting your calorie load at a single sitting also gives you lots of energy. Eating too much at one sitting can make you sluggish and sleepy.
Eat plenty of protein – Eating the right amount of complete protein for your weight and activity level stabilizes blood sugar (preventing energy lags), enhances concentration, and keeps you lean and strong. A complete protein for vegetarians is a grain plus a legume (such as whole grain bread with nut butter, or corn tortilla with beans).
Pack snacks so you’re not skipping meals – Often when we’re traveling, we don’t have access to food at regular intervals. The problem is, your body responds as if it’s facing a food shortage and your metabolism slows way down to prevent you from starving. To keep your mind and body humming, pack healthy snacks in your car or backpack. Examples are almonds, raw vegetables and hummus, soy yogurt and berries, fresh and dried fruit.
Avoid “feel bad” foods – These are foods you crave, but after you eat them you feel sick or depleted. When you’re on the road, it’s particularly essential to avoid foods that drain your energy and deflate your mood.
Drink lots of water – Yes, water is a food. The body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh, and help you eat less. It will also help you avoid travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and junk-food cravings. Believe it or not, many of the unhealthy cravings we experience on the road can be satisfied with a refreshing drink of pure water. www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat
Try cutting up fresh fruit and vegetables beforehand and leaving them nearby and handy as you travel.