Build a Better Me, Month 2: Make Better Choices When Traveling

Build a Better Me Healthy Blogging Challenge

I do pretty well with my diet until I travel. Then I seem to take on this “I can splurge because we’re on the road” attitude. If we only traveled once a year it wouldn’t be a big deal, but we seem to take some kind of trip every month. When we took a vacation to the Florida Keys in January, I decided I was going to make some changes. So this month’s way I’m going to Build a Better Me is to make healthier food choices when I travel.

Quick reminder: Those of us involved with Virtual Potluck are working to make ourselves healthier in 2012, but we aren’t focusing exclusively on losing weight. Once a month, we’ll each be posting what we are doing to improve our health and well-being. Thanks again to Foodhunter’s Guide to Cuisine for coordinating this project.

If you travel by air, eventually you’ll find yourself at the mercy of airport food establishments. You may have a layover, an unexpected delay or maybe you didn’t eat enough at your last meal and you’re experiencing a blood glucose low. Most food available in airports falls into at least one of three categories: sugary, starchy or fatty. Choices are improving – I did see some fresh fruit and nuts – but, in general, the offerings are not optimal. For this trip, I decided to take my own snacks. Fortunately, the nice folks at Paleo People had just sent me samples of their gluten-free granola. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get the granola through airport security, but it wasn’t a problem.

We had a midday flight and ate a big breakfast before we boarded the plane. When we landed two hours later, we were hungry, but wanted to make the trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Keys before rush hour set in. Enter the granola.

Parfaits with Paleo People granola, yogurt and berries
Paleo People sent four flavors – Cappuccino Crunch, Cacao Nut, Apple Crisp and Banana Nut Crunch. The one I could easily reach from the front seat of the car was Cappuccino Crunch, so we started with that. The Grillmaster loved it and said it really took the edge off his hunger. I liked the fact that it was very moist, not dry like some granolas. We stopped at a supermarket in Key Largo and picked up some necessities, including plain yogurt and fresh berries. The next morning we made parfaits, layering the Cacao Nut granola, yogurt and fruit – healthy, relatively cheap and we didn’t have to get dressed to have breakfast! The next day we did the same with the Apple Crisp granola. We saved the Banana Nut for afternoon snacking.

The Paleo People granolas are different from others you may have tried. The “Paleo” movement is one where food choices are based on ingredients cave-dwellers would have eaten: nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, spices and natural sweeteners. Most granolas contain a lot of grains; these have none and are completely free of gluten, wheat, sodium and cholesterol. The thing you need to be aware of as you are snacking away is that each 5 oz pouch contains 5 servings! You can gobble down 400 calories in a heartbeat. Here’s the nutritional information for each flavor:

  Cappuccino Crunch Cacao Nut Apple Crisp Banana Nut
Serving Size 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1/4 cup
Calories 160 150 160 150
Fat 12g (3g sat) 11g (3g sat) 12g (3g sat) 12g (3.5g sat)
Cholesterol 0 0 0 0
Sodium 0 0 0 0
Carbohydrate 10g 11g 11g 11g
Fiber 2g 2g 2g 2g
Sugar 7g 9g 8g 8g
Protein 3g 4g 3g 3g

Would you like to try Paleo People granola? See below for how to win free samples of each flavor.

Besides carrying my own snacks and eating yogurt-granola parfaits for breakfast instead of going out, I did a few other things to make healthier food choices on my trip.

  • We limited ourselves to eating one meal out per day. We had breakfast in the room most days. For lunch we either went out or had leftovers from the previous night’s dinner out. If we went out for lunch, we ate something light like cheese, crackers and fruit for dinner.
  • I made better menu selections when we did eat out, opting for grilled fish and salads whenever possible. A couple of times I got an appetizer and soup instead of an entrée. Even when we went to El Siboney, a fabulous Cuban restaurant in Key West, I brought half of my dinner home and ate it the next day.
  • The Grillmaster likes to have a glass of wine while watching sunset. I don’t drink alcohol much anymore, but when I’m on vacation I want something besides my usual water. This time I bought Vernor’s diet ginger ale and drank it out of a wine glass. Next time I may try the drink the Taste folks from N8tion.com made to go with my Sweet Potato Wontons (if I can find rum extract).
Paleo People granola

Photo courtesy of Paleo People

Giveaway

Want to win 4 bags of Paleo People granola? Just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you do to make good food choices when you travel. The contest runs through Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 and the winner, to be chosen via random.org, will be announced on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. To win, you must be at least 18 years old and you must have a U.S. mailing address.

I look forward to hearing your travel tips!

Comments

  1. Athena says

    When I’m on the road, I try to pack healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, granola. Since I stopped eating meat, I don’t usually have too many issues with eating healthy at restaurants because I don’t order burgers, steaks, etc.

  2. Jeffrey says

    When traveling I always bring my own snacks and try to find restaurants online prior to my departure. I also take a hotplate and cook my own oatmeal in the morning. I feel if you start off the day right you have a little wiggle room for lunch and dinner.

  3. Dana says

    Planning ahead is key!! prepare by bringing, or knowing what your options are and researching products and possibilities.

  4. Maggie Drake says

    Salads and will power. It’s so easy to cross over into carb-o-ville when you’re tired and bored.

  5. Bonnie K says

    When traveling, I always take a bag of snacks that are high fiber, whole grains and wholesome. I also bring a small ice chest with perishables such as cheese and hummus. Also some fruit.

  6. meredith says

    i try to bring food with me so i dont get tempted by the airport food – most of it smells really good but tastes terrible and is even worse for my health. when we are on vaca we stay in a room with a kitchen usually and then hit up the grocery store so we can keep the healthy eating. we may splurge one night though, but no guilt b/c we were good the whole trip!

  7. says

    Because I travel for my job, I am always looking for new, fun, healthy ideas. I always have raw almonds in my car, lots of sugar-free gum, gluten-free healthy cereal, fruit, veggies, and I try to bring a different wrap for my lunch:-) I follow Paleo People on Twitter and Facebook:-) These sound really delicious! Hugs, Terra

  8. Linda S. says

    When traveling, I have almonds and fruit with me, for times when I’m not near a restaurant. I always keep a small cooler in the car, so that I can buy from local markets. I try to book a room with a kitchenette so we can make breakfast and even dinner in some nights.

  9. Rachel Blom says

    When travelling, we pack a cooler w/snacks. We make sure to have a fridge in our hotel room so we can make a simple lunch or dinner.

  10. says

    It is hard for me to travel and not buy Gas Station snacks! I try to pack healthy snacks like almonds and send my husband to the pump! :)

  11. Flora Siu says

    When traveling, I always pack some dry fruits with nuts, and granola bar. And sometimes I will broiled some Edamame bean in the lunch box, and soy milk in cooler.

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