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August 12, 2013

How to Save Money and Curb Calories on Vacation

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

Traveling for vacation costs enough, so nobody wants to spend more money than they should for food on the way. A little bit of planning saves cash and calories when you're on the road. 

Begin with Breakfast

Fuel up with breakfast before you board a plane, train or bus, or pile into the car with the kids.  A balanced morning meal sets the tone for a healthier day and it beats donuts and Danish by a mile for protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Here are some at-home and on-the-run breakfast options:

• Whole grain cereal + banana + Hood Milk  . If you're in a rush, take the banana and cereal along in a re-sealable plastic sandwich bag and buy the milk later.

• Energy bar with at least 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber + fruit + low-fat yogurt. Bring these breakfast items with you (although you may not be able to get the yogurt past airport security) or find them in food courts, convenience stores and gas station mini-marts.

• Hard-cooked eggs + Cheesy Corn Muffins  + fruit or vegetables. Vegetables are a great option for people who don't like sweet foods in the morning.

Healthy Food: Don't Leave Home Without It

Road trips offer the perfect opportunity to tote food to eat on the run because you have few restrictions on what you bring in the car as long as you pack perishable foods in a cooler. 

Focus on simple fare, such as the following, to en route or at a picnic site along the way.

• High-protein pasta salad, such as Greek Pasta Salad

• Sandwiches, such as egg salad, turkey, chicken, or lean roast beef on whole grain wraps and in pita pockets

Snacks should be a combination of foods rich in protein and carbohydrate to keep you fuller for longer. Kids will clamor for summertime treats like corn dogs, fried dough, and slush, as sure as the sun will shine, but satisfying snacks will cut down on the requests for unhealthy treats. Here are some healthy snack ideas:

• Carton of low-fat Greek yogurt

• Whole grain crackers and reduced-fat cheese stick

• Trail mix made with whole grain cereal, raisins or dried cranberries, and nuts or sunflower seeds

• Baby carrots, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes and hummus or peanut butter

Air Travel Eating Tips  

Traveling is tiring, so you want to make sure you have the energy it takes to get yourself or your family to the airport on time, and to organize everyone once you get there.

Most flights don't provide free food, and the food they sell may be higher in calories than you'd like, and certainly more costly. While the selections at airport food courts have improved in many locations, you'll spend more for meals and snacks you purchase there and you may get bigger portions than you need.

At the very least, pack a sandwich, fruit or vegetables, and some nuts or an energy bar in a small, insulated lunch bag. Save your money to buy fluids, such as water, milk, and juice right before you board the plane. 

If you must buy food before you board, consider sandwiches on whole grain bread (split large sandwiches with a traveling companion), thin crust pizza, and salads with a source of protein such as turkey or hard cooked eggs, with dressing on the side.






Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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