Travel Health Tips: How to Eat Well On the Road

Plane at Yellowstone National Park. Estee623/Frommers.com Community
By Beth Collins

Even the most health-conscious among us can have a hard time making smart food choices when we travel. Chalk it up to temptations -- "harmless" snacks that promise to get you through long layovers, airport food courts calling your name, and all-you-can-eat hotel breakfast buffets just begging you to indulge (for free!). But healthy eating doesn't have to mean denying yourself a few treats now and then. With these strategies from nutritionist Dr. Chris Mohr, of MohrResults.com (www.mohrresults.com), you can enjoy food on the road and still feel good about yourself the next day.

Photo Caption: Plane at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Estee623/Frommers.com Community
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Most of us know to stay away from the king-size chocolate bars and family-pack of Twizzlers, but even the so-called healthy snacks can be tricky. Granola bars seem like a good choice, but many of them are little more than candy bars in disguise. Follow Mohr's advice and read the label before you buy. "If any of the first three ingredients is added sugar, put it back on the shelf," he says. "If it has partially hydrogenated oil, leave it on the shelf." Instead, go for something like the Clif C, by Clif Bar. "It's made of nothing but nuts and dried fruit," says Mohr. "All ingredients you can pronounce!" <br><br>Trail mix is another good option, but again, check the ingredients. "Any and all nuts are fantastic, and a little dried fruit is good," says Mohr, "but when they start adding M&amp;Ms and other candy, watch out." And be sure to exercise portion control. Some of the bigger bags of trail mix contain more than 1,000 calories and lot of fat. "Even healthy fats, like that from nuts, adds up," cautions Mohr.<br><br><em>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bastique/2616667677/" target="_blank">Cary Bass/Flickr.com</a></em> Cary Bass
Most of us know to stay away from the king-size chocolate bars and family-pack of Twizzlers, but even the so-called healthy snacks can be tricky. Granola bars seem like a good choice, but many of them are little more than candy bars in disguise. Follow Mohr's advice and read the label before you buy. "If any of the first three ingredients is added sugar, put it back on the shelf," he says. "If it has partially hydrogenated oil, leave it on the shelf." Instead, go for something like the Clif C, by Clif Bar. "It's made of nothing but nuts and dried fruit," says Mohr. "All ingredients you can pronounce!"

Trail mix is another good option, but again, check the ingredients. "Any and all nuts are fantastic, and a little dried fruit is good," says Mohr, "but when they start adding M&Ms and other candy, watch out." And be sure to exercise portion control. Some of the bigger bags of trail mix contain more than 1,000 calories and lot of fat. "Even healthy fats, like that from nuts, adds up," cautions Mohr.

Photo by Cary Bass/Flickr.com
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Newark Airport food court di_the_huntress
You know the drill. You have every intention of going for a healthy salad, but then you catch a whiff of pizza fresh from the oven, and suddenly you're in line ordering two supreme slices, plus one of those garlicky dough knots -- just because.

The good news? Mohr says that as far as airport options go, pizza is actually a fairly smart choice (skip the knots). But you should pass on the pepperoni and sausage, sticking to the healthier plain or veggie options.

An even better decision is a deli sandwich. "Choose turkey or chicken breast with veggies, some cheese, and mustard," suggests Mohr.

What should you stay away from? "While burritos can be good, the ones you get from chains like Qdoba are enormous and pack thousands of calories," Mohr says. "A bit much when you're then going to be sitting on a plane for hours."

Photo by di_the_huntress/Flickr.com.
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airport bar Fang Guo
The stale, recycled air on planes is dehydrating, so any type of alcohol isn't exactly a brilliant choice. But after enough long layovers and flight delays, sometimes the airport bar can look pretty enticing. As tempting as that fruity concoction served in a pineapple might be, Mohr cautions against mixed drinks. In addition to calories from alcohol, you also get sugar and more calories from the soda or juice mixed in. Instead, go for a nice glass of red wine. You'll sip this more slowly, so you're not as likely to order several rounds as you might be with a cocktail.

Photo by Fang Guo/Flickr.com.
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Hotel breakfast buffet Bev Sykes
These buffets are often loaded with carbs and sugary cereals, making it hard to get a healthy start to your day. Fortunately, more and more hotels are offering oatmeal -- either instant or pre-made -- as one of the options. Mohr suggests fixing yourself a bowl and adding a sliced banana or raisins to sweeten it up naturally.

What if your hotel isn't quite so health-conscious and your only options are a muffin or a bagel with cream cheese?

"Run the other way, fast!" Mohr says.

But if you must choose, go for a half a bagel with minimal cream cheese. "Muffins are usually insanely high in sugar, calories, and fat," Mohr warns.

Photo by Bev Sykes/Flickr.com.
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Cup of Starbucks coffee Rebecca Crebs
Even if you're usually a small-coffee-no-sugar kind of person, there's something about being on vacation that makes it fun to indulge in those fancy coffee drinks. No need to deny yourself the pleasure, Mohr says. Just be smart about it.

Order a non-fat latte instead of full-fat. And if you're getting a drink that's flavored with sugar syrup, ask the barista for half the pumps. "They usually add four, so cutting down to two will still give you the flavor and sweetness but eliminate a ton of sugar," says Mohr.

Another good option is Starbucks' Vivanno frozen drinks, made with real fruit, whey protein, and a bit of sugar (again, ask for half the pumps of syrup).

Photo by Rebecca Crebs/Flickr.com
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