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Eating Healthy on the Go

Aug 9, 2008
Eating healthy is one area where a lot of people struggle, especially when traveling. The Standard American Diet that most Americans consume does not provide the proper nourishment for our bodies to function optimally. It is important to know which foods to focus on and what foods to avoid. Also, knowing how to be sure you are eating enough of the healthy ones when on the road and eating a health promoting diet overall is important. Eating healthy comes down to making it a habit on a daily basis. Focusing our diets on vegetables, fruits, 100% whole grains, lean proteins, and good fats is key to a health promoting diet.

Evidence has shown that good nutrition can help to prevent the occurrence of many diseases and health problems. Most of us are aware that when we eat healthier we feel better, we think more clearly, and we have more energy. But what are these good foods that we need to concentrate on. First and foremost, we must hydrate our bodies with pure water. Soda, coffee, and alcohol all cause our bodies to become dehydrated. Water is vital to our health. It constitutes over 60% of our body's weight. Not drinking enough water puts a lot of strain on our body. Many of our bodies systems rely on it to function properly, for example kidney function can be affected, gallstones and kidney stones could form and our immune system can become impaired when not drinking enough water. Optimally, one should drink half of their body weight in ounces each day to ensure proper hydration.

Secondly, make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. These are also very easy to take along when traveling. Most don't need any refrigeration and for those that do a small cooler is all that is needed. Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with a wealth of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that are all necessary for good health. They are low in saturated fat and calories. Not everyone likes all vegetables and I'm sure some of you may not like them at all, but please give them a chance. After all, it is your health we are talking about here.

Next, reduce the saturated fats in the diet. They are linked to high cholesterol, numerous cancers, heart disease, and strokes. Eating fewer animal products and more plant products will help to do this. Concentrate on putting good fats in your diet. Foods that contain good fats include nuts and seeds and certain seafood. Nuts and seeds are great to have handy when traveling to give an instant energy burst. They are a little high in calories so keep a serving to a quarter cup.

Many are confused about eating whole grains. As a rule of thumb eat foods that on the ingredient list say that they contain whole grain wheat, whole oats, etc. A lot of foods do not have to have very much of a whole grain in them to be labeled as such. The only answer I have for this is to be a conscious consumer when buying any packaged food and always reading the labels.

The next item to be sure to include in the diet is low fat protein. Focus on lean poultry, fish, and soy products for protein. Red meat is high in saturated fats so limit the amount of this consumed. Good proteins provide a full range of amino acids, vitamin B12 and iron. Also cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring provides our good fats known as omega-3 fatty acids.

Also, avoid the unhealthy "whites" as I call them. These are refined sugar, refined flour, shortening, hydrogenated oils (and products they contain). Refined sugar places stress on your blood sugar and other body controls. When refined sugar and flours are eaten they cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, producing a higher release of insulin. Therefore, eating these foods is harmful for blood sugar control, especially in people that are hypoglycemic or diabetic. Sugar can also affect mood and our overall feeling of well-being.

Almost all restaurants have healthy options on their menus now; it is just about making the choice for something healthier. Ask for a side salad or vegetables instead of French fries, choose grilled or baked over fried, light soups for creamy varieties. Do be careful of salads, although they can be very healthy, they can be unhealthy very quickly when high calories dressings, bacon, cheese, etc. are added. Choose a light dressing whenever possible and eliminate the unhealthy topping, instead choose different veggies, fruit, beans, chicken, turkey, salmon, or tuna to top your salad.

Eating healthy does not have to be a challenge on the road, it just takes a little practice and some tips to help get the ball rolling.
About the Author
Christopher McCombs teaches a Orange County Bodybuilding in Southern California. Learn more from Christopher and find out more about his programs by visiting http://www.socalworkout.com/.
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