Protein and fat: a happy couple
Whether you’re cobbling together a series of minimeals between taxis and airport stops, or having a long leisurely lunch on the train, build your repast with the protein-carbohydrate-fat triad. Protein and fat take longer to digest, providing you with extra staying power, while carbohydrates provide much-needed energy to prolong your travel stamina. Keep in mind that sitting on a train or car or on an airplane demands much less energy than your daily work-a-day activities, so listen to your body’s needs and eat only when hungry.
- At home, prep bite-sized hunks of cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and edamame (cooked soybeans)
- Buy ready-made single-serving yogurts, protein-rich energy bars, and packs of nuts and seeds
Pack perishables in a small cooler.
Carb(s)—not a four-letter word
Your journey won’t be complete without a carry-on of carbs. “Carbohydrates," says Elson Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition, “are a quick source of energy for the body, easily converted to glucose, the fuel for the body’s cells.” Make your carbohydrates complex (not refined) by choosing whole-grain pretzels, crackers, cereal, and tortillas, and whole fruits and vegetables.
For fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as color for your menu, fruits and vegetables make ideal travel mates.
- Pack fruits that don’t bruise easily, such as apples, grapes, pears, and cherry tomatoes
- Dried fruit—raisins, apricots, pineapple, mangoes, papaya, and so on—pack a punch with minerals and fiber
- Tuck into an assortment of sugar snap peas, cucumber spears, and carrot and celery sticks with a side order of salad dressing, hummus, or black bean dip for an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins
- For a treat, make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried apples, raisins, dates, chocolate or carob chips, and low-sugar, high-fiber cereal
This trove will come in handy if you find yourself out of food and in the midst of a long layover at the airport or at the tail end of a long drive.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drink lots of water before you embark on your journey and by avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages while en route. Make water a constant travel companion or sip decaffeinated teas or fruit juice mixed with bubbly water.