Ask the Dietitian: "How do I eat healthy during summer trips?"
Hit the road with less stress.
Summertime is such a fun time of year! It’s a time when lots of us can finally get outside, enjoy the outdoors, and [safely] enjoy a trip with friends and family. However, being away from your routine and your home can make it tricky to eat healthily. A lot of times, people are eating out a lot more frequently than they normally would. Let’s talk about some tips to stay healthy while on that summer road trip or weekend getaway you have planned!
Before you hit the road:1. Plan what you pack.
Bring a PB2 & jelly sandwich on sprouted-grain whole-wheat bread with some nuts in a baggie for a quick snack along the way.
Pack a cooler along with some healthy snacks like hummus and raw veggies, hard-boiled eggs, sugar-free yogurt topped with ground flax seeds or chia seeds.
2. Make time for a few stops.
Make sure you take plenty of stops along the way to get in a quick walk at a rest stop. This will help manage your blood glucose levels as well. Look up restaurants that will be nearby, and check out the nutrition information online so you know you have a “go-to” place upon arrival.
3. Download the Calorie King app.
You can also use the Calorie King app if the website doesn’t have nutrition information. You’ll want to focus on higher-fiber, whole carbohydrates, and limit the added sugars to help manage your diabetes and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
- If you know you’re going to a place you may be tempted to overdo it at, feel free to eat a snack that is primarily protein or fat, like some cheese slices or a handful of nuts, prior to arriving. This will help you feel a bit more full, and prevent you from overindulging on high-processed carbohydrates that most appetizers are full of!
- If you’re staying away from home for a while, be sure to head to the local grocery store and stock your temporary refrigerator with healthy foods and snacks so you won’t be tempted to overindulge.
The suggestions below won’t all necessarily impact carbohydrates and blood sugar levels, but are a more wholesome and healthy approach to eating out and reading menus:
- Look for words like: steamed, poached, roasted, grilled, baked, blackened, broiled
- Avoid words like: crispy, fried, breaded, sauteed, buttery, cheesy/au gratin, creamy, gravy
Cooking at your destination:
1. Use turkey sausage or ground turkey for a leaner meat.
It’s important to check the % lean if looking to cut calories. For example, 95% lean ground beef would actually be a better choice than 90% lean ground turkey! Always read the labels.
2. BYOB: Bring your own BUN!
Whole-wheat is always a better option than white due to it being higher in fiber, but for the lowest glycemic-index option available, look for sprouted whole-wheat hot dog buns.
3. Do treat yourself.
Toasting marshmallows or making s’mores? This is at nearly every campout and is a tempting snack. This isn’t something you have to cut out of your diet completely if you’re a huge fan. By making some adjustments, you can still indulge. If you absolutely have to have your s’more, I recommend having this with your meal (with other fiber, fats, and proteins) can help slow the absorption of sugar and will likely not spike your sugars as much as if you had eaten it alone. I recommend at least 70% dark chocolate, only using ½ of a graham cracker and ½ of a marshmallow. Then go for a nice walk!