Healthy eats on the road

Photo: istockphoto.com/Sergey Dubrovskiy
Whether you're staring down a seemingly endless stretch of asphalt or plane hopping to your final destination, eating healthy while on the road can be a daunting task. But with these simple and practical tips, you'll be able to stay on track and feel terrific. Be proactive A virtually fail-proof plan to eating healthy while travelling is to research your destinations beforehand. Google makes finding healthy alternatives to dives and fast food joints as easy as pie (organic, preservative-free). You can even download a free and helpful tool called Loki. With a click of the mouse, Loki will find your location and allow you to do a local search for restaurants and shops. Pack the cooler You can never go wrong by packing a cooler filled with snacks and easy to prepare meals that meet your nutritional standards. Fresh fruits like apples, peaches or pears will give you a quick and healthy burst of energy during those long hauls between destinations, while a fair-trade dark chocolate bar (with a minimum of 75 percent cocoa) will satisfy your sweet tooth. Of course, you can't go wrong with heart healthy roasted almonds, which help lower cholesterol. For lunch, pack in a protein-heavy sandwich. Turkey breast, roasted chicken, or portabella mushroom will keep you satiated. Pair your lean meats with organic whole wheat bread, pack on the veggies to your heart's content and you've got a delicious sandwich, without the preservatives and fatty sauces you'd find in a similar sandwich at fast food restaurants. Eat "clean" There will be times when you will be unable to avoid restaurants, diners or even fast food joints. When that is the case, practice eating "clean" -- a term recently made popular by Eat Clean Diet author Tosca Reno. Eating clean means choosing foods as close to their natural state as possible. Do your best to pick foods that aren't highly processed with ingredients you can't pronounce. However, beware of clean foods that appear healthy, but actually aren't. Salads may seem like a safe choice, but make sure to order your dressing on the side to cut down on unhealthy fats. Restaurant steaks may be prepared with loads of butter to make it look juicier, so have the chef prepare your meats without it. Virtually anything wrapped in a batter will not be "clean" so be sure to order non-breaded chicken or fish sandwiches, sans mayo, and, if you're concerned over the processed bun, have the sandwich wrapped in lettuce. Starbucks can actually be your friend Believe it or not, coffee isn't as bad as you may think. In fact, nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden identifies coffee as one of the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth because of its high anti-oxidant activity. Of course, this doesn't mean purchasing every sugary coffee drink you can get your hands on, but it does equate to a little less guilt when sipping on a coffee with soy or organic milk. And since a coffee shop seems to appear on every corner in North America, stopping by a Starbucks is a simple detour on most trips. Use common sense In the end, common sense is your greatest ally when dining on the road. With a bit of flexibility and a keen eye for unprocessed foods, you won't sabotage your healthy eating habits.