Those who plan to travel in the coming weeks should consider these dozen “eating on the run” tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
1. To prepare for a long trip, pack fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, string cheese sticks or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid impulsive, less healthful snack choices.
2. Think about your food choices for the entire day. If you plan a special restaurant meal in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch.
3. Look for restaurants or carry-out with a wide range of menu items. Opt for steamed, grilled or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed. Read menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content. Menu terms that can mean more fat and calories: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, breaded.
4. Order the regular portions. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer instead of a main course.
5. Hunger can drive you to eat too much bread before your meal arrives. Hold the bread or chips until your meal is served.
6. When grabbing lunch, have a sandwich on whole-grain bread and choose low-fat/fat-free milk, water or other drinks without added sugars.
7. Look at calories and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating. When one serving of a single food item has more than 400 calories per serving, it is high in calories.
8. Don’t sugarcoat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars.
9. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink for women and two for men. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without any nutrients.
10. Eat your lower-calorie food first. Soup or salad is a good choice. Follow up with a light main course.
11. At the salad bar, pile on the dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers and other fresh vegetables. Lighten up on mayonnaise-based salads and high-fat toppings. Enjoy fresh fruit as your dessert.
12. Steer clear of all-you-can-eat specials, buffets and unlimited salad bars. If you do choose the buffet, fill up on salads and vegetables first.