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Avoid Unhealthy Dining Detours During Your Holiday Travels

November 13, 2017

Traveling is as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey, football games and the Macy's parade. Nearly 50 million Americans – about 1 in 6 people – will travel at least 50 miles from home over the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Traveling with family can be a stressful and exhausting ordeal. If you're trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it's also a challenge. Airports, gas stations and travel plazas offer food and drinks that are usually more about convenience than good nutrition.

If you have special dietary needs or diabetes, eating on the road can be even tougher.

But according to Leigh Wagner, PhD, formerly of integrative medicine at The University of Kansas Health System, a little planning can go a long way.

If you're taking a long car trip, Wagner recommends packing a cooler with snacks like cut-up vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, nuts and seeds. Protein balls are also a good option. This recipe is a favorite of Kansas City Royals star Eric Hosmer.

Wagner says it's a good idea to plan activities – reading, movies, puzzles, games – that will help keep travelers' minds off snacking.

Airports don't have a lot of healthy options, especially inside security zones, but Wagner says you can often find a vendor selling fresh salads, almonds or a nut mix. Some airport kiosks offer fresh fruit, especially in the morning hours. Consider eating at home before you leave, so you're not at the mercy of airport food.

You can also pack nuts, trail mixes and "healthier" snack brands like RXBar, Epic and Larabar for the flight or any time you have to spend waiting.

Getting adequate sleep while you're traveling over the holidays can also be a problem. If you don't typically sleep as much as you should, try to make the most of your sleep opportunities while you travel. Naps are great, if you have a chance to take one.

Wagner says the holidays, or any other time when you interrupt your normal routine, can be a good time to try to establish better sleep habits.

The University of Kansas Health System integrative medicine team can help guide you toward a healthy lifestyle. Call 913-588-6208 to make an appointment with a member of our team.

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