Eating fruits and vegetables is important. Fruits and vegetables offer us a plethora of fantastic health benefits.
(This photo was taken in Santa Cruz at the Chaminade Resort and Spa. I had roasted carrots, asparagus, and mushrooms with a sea bass topped with mango salsa and some brie cheese on the side).
Some of the many health benefits of fruits and vegetables include:
Fiber: Fiber not only helps us go to the bathroom, but it also fills us up which is a huge plus when it comes to portion control and maintaining a small waistline. The more fiber we eat, the fuller we get, and the less we eat.
Antioxidants, Vitamins, & Nutrients: Many of these antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients help keep our skin fresh and vibrant, help us maintain a strong immune system, and provide us with the nutrition we need to survive in a fit and functional manner.
With all these wonderful benefits from fruits and veggies, I know when I travel, it’s a lot harder to find and eat the “good stuff.” With that said, I’ve been traveling a lot this spring and summer and I have found many tricks and tips to get the colors of the rainbow into your daily eating routine, even when on the road and at fast food joints. Here are 7 simple ways to eat fruits and vegetables while traveling and on vacation.
- Start the trip off right and bring some dried fruit and nuts in your bag so you have a snack. When buying dried fruit, look for packages that only have the fruit listed as the ingredient and not added sugar (i.e. Ingredients: Dried Apricots).
Also, a standard portion size of dried fruit is:
- 2 Tablespoons or 1 small box of dried cranberries or raisins
- 5 dried apricots
- 2 dried dates
- 3 dried figs
- 3 dried plums
- Breakfast Matters. Start the day off right by getting in your colors from fruit. Ask the restaurants for a fruit cup in substitution of potatoes. Choose a veggie-omelet. Get a yogurt and fruit parfait to enjoy both protein and fiber. The more fiber you eat at breakfast, the better blood sugar control you’ll have throughout the day so load up. (This photo was taken in Lima, Peru, where I had eggs with 2 olives, 2 strawberries, and pichuberries).
- Snack time. Many gas stations now sell fresh fruit. Pick up an apple, orange, or banana for an easy snack on the road. You can also find hummus and baby carrot packs in many stores. Try dried fruit for the snack or even a yogurt with fresh fruit.
- The Convenient Store. Yes: convenient stores do sell good food, too! I have found carrot and celery sticks, fresh fruit, fruit cups, and dried fruit (with no added sugar). Look for these items first so you have it in your bag. Kind bars have dried fruit and nuts, too, so they can be a good go-to bar.
- Fast Food Nation. Most fast food chains offer fruit and salads. For example, McDonald’s, Chik-fil-A, and Burger King (to name a few) offer fruit cups and side salads to order with your burger or sandwich. I also love fries, so what we do is we’ll order 1 order of fries and share it to get the taste in a more moderate portion. (This photo was taken at Mel’s Diner where I had 2 poached eggs, 1 slice of toast, with asparagus, arugula, and salsa. Even chain restaurants offer healthy dishes, too).
- The Appetizer. When at a restaurant, start with an appetizer of a salad or other vegetable option. The dressings on salads can be loaded with calories, so get the dressing on the side so you have the portion control power in your own hands. (This photo was taken in Dunboyne, Ireland, where we had a salmon salad appetizer with dressing on the side).
- The Substitution. I substitute fruits and vegetables in many of my meals. Ask for a fruit cup or a side salad instead of the potatoes, fries, or starches. You can also ask for double vegetables instead of the grain and starch if ordering an entrée that comes with veggies and a grain/starch. Now you have double the fiber in your dish. (This photo was taken in Edinburgh, Scotland, where we got extra asparagus and skipped the potatoes and cream sauce. The dish was so fresh and delicious, you could totally taste the delightful salmon).
Remember, the goal at each meal is to have half of your plate full of colorful food from fruits and vegetables. Do your best this summer travel by loading up on the colors of the rainbow at every meal and snack. Have an amazing and fun adventure!
What’s your best tip to eat your fruits and veggies while traveling? Share in the comments below.
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN