This blog is the first in a series that will discuss various nutrition topics. We have found that nutrition and eating well is something with which many of our patients struggle, yet the way we eat and what we eat is so closely tied to our health and wellness. After all, we are what we eat. Preventing and controlling chronic disease states and conditions, like diabetes and heart disease for example, rely heavily upon our diet and being physically active. So, we have partnered with Registered Dietitians at Good Measure Meals to help bring you helpful and informative dietary guidance and advice.
Whether you travel a lot for business or for pleasure, eating a healthy and well-balanced meal in an airport or while you’re traveling and cannot cook can be a challenge for many. I recently spoke with Sarah Shanahan, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with Good Measure Meals in Atlanta, Georgia, and she was kind enough to share with us some excellent nutrition ideas, tips, and recipes for those who are always on the go!
What do you do? How do you eat healthy while away from home? We’ve all been there.
Instead of being stuck with what the vending machine offers, plan your meals and snacks before you leave. Think of your light meal prep just like you would think about packing the suit you need for your meeting or booking your flight and hotel room.
Start by learning your hotel’s amenities. Do they have fridges and microwaves available for your room and is there a grilling area on-site? In addition, consider purchasing and carrying a small portable electric grill to cook protein, or a blender to make smoothies.
Next, decide if you’d rather do your light grocery shopping before you leave or wait until you’ve arrived at your destination. If you opt to wait, no problem. Just research the grocery options in the area you are staying. Use Google or Yelp, or even the Happy Cow app, which is great for vegetarian-friendly grocery stores.
When you pack, bring items that will make food prep in your hotel room easier. Bring mason jars or BPA-free plastic food storage containers. Instead of disposable, invest in a set of camping utensils and food storage containers that you can wash and reuse. Pack a knife for easy cutting in your checked luggage.
If all else fails, choose one of your favorite non-perishable snacks.
Go-to On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas
- Old fashioned oats
- Low-fat milk
- 2% plain Greek yogurt
- Nuts (bring from home)
- Fruit of any kind – berries are simple and often do not require slicing, or try dried fruit if you don’t want to keep fresh on hand
- Add chia for extra fiber, calcium, and omega 3s
1. Add ½ cup oats, ½ cup milk, ¼ cup yogurt, 1 tsp honey to container. Lid and fridge overnight.
2. When ready for breakfast, add nuts and fruit, and enjoy.
3. Overnight Oats are meant to be eaten cold, but if you’d like to heat them, do so in the microwave with the lid off and then add fruit and nuts.
Coffee Cup Scramble with Whole Wheat Bread and Fruit
Fiber-rich carb paired with protein and lots of vitamins and minerals – this is a simple breakfast that will kick-start your morning!
- Eggs (can buy as few as 6)
- Whole wheat bread
- Fruit (any kind; apples, banana, pear, and citrus hold up better without refrigeration)
1. Forgot your microwave safe dish? Use the coffee mug in your room.
2. Beat two eggs with a fork, stir, and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir again, then microwave again for 30-45 seconds, until almost set.
3. Serve with bread (or make a sandwich!) and fruit.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional! You can eat whatever you want for breakfast as long as it combines fiber rich carbs balanced with protein for sustained energy. Breakfast literally translates to “break fast” since you have been fasting overnight while sleeping.
- Low sodium sliced turkey breast
- Whole wheat bread
- Salad bag (arugula, spinach, or mixed greens)
- Pre-sliced cheese (turkey is extremely lean, so adding one ounce of any kind of cheese is ok if it fits into your healthy eating plan!)
- Mustard (or bring from home in small container or single serve packets)
- Layer ingredients onto bread and enjoy!
Not interested in turkey for breakfast just yet? That’s ok. While prepping your breakfast, also make a quick turkey sandwich for lunch. Don’t forget the salad greens to up your veggie consumption for the day! A protein-carb balanced breakfast is one of the easiest, yet neglected ways to make sure you don’t get hangry during the day.
Rotisserie Chicken and Veggie Bowl
- Frozen veggie blend, lightly sauced – try Green Giant – it’s easy to find and they have multiple options in their “Lightly Sauced” line.
- Whole grain microwave bags/bowls (try brown rice/black rice/wild rice). If your frozen veggie blend includes a grain or starch (think potato), skip this step.
- Pre-cooked protein (rotisserie chicken/chicken/turkey sausage)
- Heat in microwave safe container according to package directions and enjoy!
When serving, make sure that at least ½ of your bowl is full of vegetables; protein and grains should each take up ¼ of the bowl. We call this the plate method.
Grown-Up PB&J with a side of veggies and hummus
- Whole wheat bread
- Natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated or palm oils) – or bring individual serving packets from home.
- 100% fruit preserves (Strawberry is a childhood favorite, but don’t be afraid to venture out into some of the lesser known berries such as mulberry or blackberry, just make sure it says 100% fruit.)
- Pre-cut raw veggies
- Small hummus cups
- Layer, plate, and enjoy!
Get creative – these options are just a simple framework to get you started. Wading through all the nutrition information available today can be confusing and overwhelming, even without travel in the mix.
For more nutrition support, visit Good Measure Meals’ website. This post was written by Good Measure Meals’ Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Sarah Shanahan.