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How to maintain a healthy diet while traveling

August 11, 2014

A vacation is a great opportunity to get away for a while and bond with your friends and family. But many times, escaping your normal life also means straying from your typically healthy diet. Whether it's because you can't find options that you all enjoy or fast food restaurants are the only nearby options, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors or stay on top of your own dietary habits when you're on the road. Follow these tips to keep healthy when you're away from home.

Pack healthy snacks for travel
If you know you'll be on the road for a while, pack food beforehand so you don't have to surrender to whatever choices a rest stop has to offer. Include filling, healthy snacks like almonds or cashews, sliced apples with peanut butter, or bags of baby carrots or snap peas. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains promotes healthy aging and works with most daily requirements for seniors, noted the National Institute on Aging. And, of course, carry a few bottles of water. It's always important to stay hydrated, but even more so when you're traveling for long periods of time and need to stay alert on the road.

Order the right fast food
When you've been on the road for hours, sometimes you need cheap food quick. The news source Lifestyles after 50 noted that, despite popular belief, it is possible to stay healthy even when you're in line at a burger shop. It's best to stick to the most simply prepared foods, like a plain hamburger, though many diets for those with high blood pressure and other conditions may require staying away from red meat. If available, order a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato, and skip the mayo and any other fatty condiments that may come along with it. 

Everyday Health also offered tips for choosing the best options at a convenience store. Many gas stations and other small rest areas often sell healthier alternatives to chips and cookies like yogurt, mixed nuts, whole grain cereal and fruit cups. Opt for one of those to hold you over until you get to your hotel or vacation home.

Choose light and balanced meals
Eating small, well balanced meals is part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, and being on vacation is no excuse to stray away from this. Before you go to a local restaurant, research the menu and see what kinds of healthy foods are offered. Make sure each meal has a protein and vegetable, and if portions are large, wrap up your leftovers for lunch the next day. Failing to eat healthy meals, even just for a few days, can make you feel sluggish and potentially take some of the enjoyment out of your trip, noted Lifestyles after 50. While it's understandable to want to overindulge when you're on vacation, it's best to stick to a healthy diet for the most part to feel your best.

Take advantage of your hotel fridge
Most hotel rooms have mini fridges that can hold a few beverages and small meals. Use this to help you stay healthy away from home. If you went to a restaurant where you were given a large portion of your favorite meal, eat half and wrap up the remainder. The next time you feel hungry, you can tap into your leftovers to benefit both your health and your wallet. You can also use the fridge to store fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods that you can pick up at a nearby food market. Shopping at local grocery stores can help you stick to your regular diet and keep you on track while you're away.