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Healthy Snacks for Traveling

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For many people, summer is a time for fun in the sun, relaxation, and vacation. As great as it is to travel, it can also be a challenge in terms of sticking to your nutrition goals. Long trips in the car can lead frequent stops at rest areas where the choice of food and snacks can be limiting and often times, really unhealthy. The key is to plan ahead. Before hitting the road, visit your local supermarket and stock up on healthy snacks. Pack them in a portable cooler to help you save time and money when traveling, and to keep you on track with healthy eating. You’ll be glad you did!

Here is a list of items I recommend. They pack well, taste great, and will keep you fuller longer. Strive for lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, and high fiber complex carbs. Eat your proteins and carbs at the same time to maintain proper blood sugar balance. This will help you stay energized and focused and avoid needing large amounts of caffeine.

Make sure to pack your cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep your items cold and to avoid spoilage. Also be sure to include plenty of bottled water to help you stay hydrated and avoid high calorie juices, sports drinks, and sodas that are loaded with sugar, colors, and other artificial ingredients.

Fruits and Veggies:

  • Baby carrots
  • Bell pepper slices
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cucumber slices
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Peaches

Protein:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vermont Beef/Turkey/Pork sticks
  • Protein Bars (RX, Lara, Zing, Kind)
  • Siggi’s yogurt
  • Lifeway Kefir
  • Babybel Cheese

Healthy Fats:

  • Hummus cups
  • Guacamole cups
  • Justin’s peanut butter packets
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds

Complex Carbs:

  • Brown rice cakes
  • Pecan Thins
  • Almond Thins

Hydration:

  • Bottled Water
  • LaCroix sparkling water
  • Hint Flavored Water

The Power of Phytonutrients

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Phytonutrients are natural compounds in plants that are a powerful tool for building better health. Phytonutrients provide numerous functions, such as providing the body with a rich source of antioxidants, which protect us from oxidative stress. Phytonutrients also stimulate enzymes that help the body get rid of toxins, boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, promote healthy estrogen metabolism, and stimulate the death of cancer cells.

The best source of phytonutrients in the diet are fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, legumes, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and teas. Phytonutrients in food come in a variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, tan, and white. For optimal health, it is important to eat a variety of colorful foods often.

Remember to strive for at least two servings of vegetables (about half of your plate) at meals, and one serving at snacks. Challenge yourself by aiming for one to two colors per day and choose a variety of fruits and vegetables within those color groups each week. In addition, vary your preparation methods. Enjoy veggies raw or cooked. Try adding colorful fruits to salads, smoothies, or hot cereal. Experiment with different varieties of beans and grains. Add colorful spices to your foods.

Below is a sample list of phytonutrient rich foods by color. Which ones do you enjoy often? Which new ones will you try?

Green – Apple, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bell peppers, bean sprouts, Bok choy, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, peas, zucchini

Yellow – Apple, pears, banana, bell pepper, corn, summer squash, pineapple

Orange – Apricots, bell pepper, cantaloupe, carrots, mango, nectarine, oranges, papaya, persimmons, butternut squash, sweet potato, tangerines, turmeric, yams

Red – Apple, kidney beans, beets, bell pepper, cranberries, cherries, pink grapefruit, goji berries, grapes, plums, pomegranate, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, tomato, watermelon

Blue/Purple/Black – Blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, figs, grapes, kale, plums, potatoes, prunes, raisons

White/Tan – Apples, cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, ginger, jicama, white beans, lentils, mushrooms, onions, pears, shallots, seeds, grains, black or white tea

Source: Institute Functional Medicine

Strategies to Avoid Stress Eating

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Picture this… a plate of food, a laptop, and a deadline. You are mindlessly snacking as you try to answer emails, review work documents, write your latest blog post…you get the picture. After a few minutes you look down. The plate of food is empty, and you have no recollection of what you just consumed, nor did you get any satisfaction from eating it. What’s worse? You may still be hungry and continue to eat more.

Eating on the go, eating while we are rushed, eating mindlessly while working on our computers or devices, snacking in front of the TV. Sound familiar? It can happen to any one of us, even a dietitian.

Two strategies that can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals are Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating.

Mindful Eating (which is adopted from the principle of Mindfulness) is all about being present and avoiding distractions at meals, such as eating while on your laptop or cell phone. It is about SLOWING DOWN, taking the time to eat, and using all of your senses to get the most out of your experience. An example might be taking the time to prepare your food by hand. Once on your plate, taking the time to notice the color, smell the aroma, or even hold the food on your tongue for a few minutes to detect the flavors; all before eating it. Mindful eating can allow us to savor our meals and to view food as nourishment and fuel. Being mindful at meals can make food much more satisfying, and studies show that mindful eating can be a powerful tool for maintaining a healthy weight. Check out this guide to learn more about Mindfulness and Mindful eating.

Intuitive Eating is a positive approach to eating. It involves 10 key principles, which you can learn by clicking here.

Two principles that can help avoid stress eating are the ability to recognize and respect your fullness, and to honor your feelings without using food. Respecting your fullness means eating until you are satisfied, not stuffed. As children, we were born with an innate sense of our hunger cues. We ate when we were hungry and we stopped when we were full. As adults, we can easily lose site of these cues and instead eat when we are stressed, anxious, bored, or lonely. Intuitive eating helps you to recognize these emotions and to realize that food won’t fix any of them. Eating intuitively can reacquaint you with your inner hunger cues, and teach you how to respect and honor your food choices because those choices are unique to you. Simply put, it embraces the notion that you are the expert of your own body, and you have the wisdom to build a positive and healthy relationship with food.

Both Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating can help you avoid the pitfalls of stress eating. Taking time each day to slow down, respect your hunger, and respect your fullness can go a long way toward helping you reach your healthy eating goals.

 

 

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