Interior Health: Eating well “on the road again”

The best way to enjoy good food is to bring meals and snacks with you and to keep them handy.

Long hours of sitting, tight schedules and fast food temptation everywhere – driving for a living can make it challenging to stay healthy. March is Nutrition Month and our focus this year is eating well at work. If your workplace is behind the wheel here are some ideas just for you.

Pack food and drinks from home. The best way to enjoy good food is to bring meals and snacks with you and to keep them handy.  Pack leftovers, sandwiches or pre-made meals the day before. Bring the basics like fresh fruit/veggies, milk, juice, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter and crackers.

Get the gear you need:  Use coolers and freezer packs (or frozen water and juice as ice packs) to keep food cool. Newer coolers can be plugged in without the need for ice. Have re-usable plates and bowls, cutlery, and air tight containers on hand. Stay hydrated by packing a re-usable water bottle and keeping it full.  For clean up bring a small container of dish soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels.

Pack handy snacks: Dry fruits such as prunes, cherries, apricots and apples are full of vitamins, fiber and are great energy boosters. Make your own trail mix by combining nuts, seeds, dried raisons or cranberries and add a touch of sweetness with dark chocolate chips. Veggies make great portable snacks just wash and precut at home – try carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, or broccoli florets with a small container of dip. Yogurt with granola is easy and delicious. Crumble granola bars into a yogurt cup for a crunchy snack packed with calcium. Get some protein from jerky, boiled eggs, cooked meats, tuna, sardines or an apple and peanut butter snack.

Plan your mealtimes: Plan your day to include time for stopping to eat. When possible, try parking by a relaxing spot like a park, a community garden or a river. Aim for three meals a day to keep your energy up. Skipping meals can make you tired, hungry and tempted to overindulge.

Make healthy choices when eating out: If you need to eat out, expand your options by looking for local food markets, grocery stores, independent diners, restaurants, cafes or sub shops that offer a fresh selection.  Choose options that are filling with a mix of meat and fish, whole grains and veggies.  Opt for baked or grilled foods rather than battered and deep fried. Wash down your meal with water instead of a sugary drink.

With a little planning, eating well on the road can be done and you will feel a whole lot better for making the effort.

For more tips check out www.nutritionmonth.ca

Tatjana Lauzon is a registered dietitian with Interior Health.