Healthy Eating While Vacationing

By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator

If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:

  • Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
  • Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
  • Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
  • Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
  • If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
  • Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.

With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!

Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/canyon/family-consumer or call 208-459-6003 for more information.

Three Ways to Move More

We all know that physical activity is good for us, but it can be a challenge to fit fitness into a busy schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) physical activity every week. This may seem like a lot, but every minute adds up! Activity bursts of five minutes here and there throughout your day  accumulate to help you reach your movement goals.  Here are three simple ways to add more movement to your day!

Set an Alarm Use an app on your smart phone or set periodic appointments on your calendar to remind yourself to stand up at least once every hour. Movement breaks can include standing to stretch, a quick walk around your office, or some chair squats to really get the blood flowing!

Be an Ele-voider If you think you don’t have time to take the stairs, think again! A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that taking the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator saved about 15 minutes each workday. That’s a 3% savings of time per workday, which could translate into more productivity as well as increased fitness.

Take Your Breaks Break times and lunch hours are the perfect opportunity to get some movement in! Make it a goal to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes each day during lunch. After the work week you will have added 50-75 minutes of activity to your weekly total! The added bonus is that mid-day activity has been shown to boost mood and increase one’s ability to manage stress.

Ho-hum doldrums

Are you with me? Last night I looked at my activity tracker at 10:00 p.m. and it read 3256 steps. I sighed. I did not leap up and walk in place. I did not chastise myself. I did not list the reasons for so few steps. I just sighed. I have a bad case of the doldrums. It’s actually difficult to remember the last surge of real energy I have felt. Some would call this the doldrums, some the winter blues. Either way, it just feels like marking time till things get magically better. Well enough! Here are some tips to get you out of the doldrums What is your favorite way to dump the doldrums?

Unlock the magic.

The holiday season is over and winter stretches out in front of us for what seems like forever. Life feels kind of dull and it’s difficult to get motivated or raise enthusiasm for much of anything. But this is actually a great time to explore the magic in your life! Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” The challenge is to find your “wow” – to find the magic or the miracle in everyday life. Try starting here…
  • Play – be a child again
  • Be curious – reconnect with your inner child
  • Think back to who you were at 10 years of age…what were your dreams?
  • Take time to dream and to consider the “what ifs…”
  • Create a Dream Board
  • Tune in to your surroundings – be present to now and to what is happening around you
  • Stop. Close your eyes. Be still for a moment. Open your eyes and really notice what you see, feel, and hear
  • Practice gratitude
It can take time to unlock the magic. Adults create layers of cushioning between the everyday magic of life and the routine of day to day life. My challenge to you this month is to try to remove some of those layers and find some magic.

Are you road worthy?

Fall happened this week. I had to search for a bed quilt, coat, and socks; things I haven’t seen since May; my feet screamed. It got me thinking…am I “road worthy” for winter? I know I’m ready for the fun things; I’m not so sure I am road worthy for challenges like staying active, winter sports, countering sugar with good nutrition, and fending off the flu and colds…just to name a few. I’m not even sure I can withstand a cold, late-night football game! So, here are some tips on becoming “road worthy” and for staying radiantly healthy this fall
  • Find your winter clothes NOW; remember how to dress in layers; get out your flashlight, gloves, boots, hat, hand warmers…
  • Keep moving – treat your senses to fall; walk in the leaves, cycle the streets, take a hike, visit a park; get outside and breathe in fall
  • Schedule your activity time; put it on the calendar  just like you do any other important event
  • Get a flu shot…and just in case, lay in a supply of Kleenex and cold decongestants
  • Sign up for a new fitness class or sport, one that can be learned and practiced indoors during the cold weather
  • Get 10,000 steps a day; use the stairs, stand at your desk, walk during breaks or lunch time…have a walking meeting; go out of your way to move
  • Manage your stress level; being indoors during the winter plays havoc with stress. Meditate, do yoga, read for enjoyment, spend quality time with family
  • Know your why; it’s easier to stay motivated if you have a reason beyond the moment
  • Watching more TV? Stay in motion at least during the commercials. Do lunges, stretches, and free weights
  • Holiday hint: Portion Control. It starts with Halloween!!
What’s your best “road worthy” tip for fall?

Use your “app-ti-tude”

Dedication, desire, motivation, reward – things you need to make any fitness app work. I know that. But part of me is waiting for an app that “knows” what I have eaten, records it for me, flashes an update on my eye glasses every hour, and physically alerts me with a nudge or a pinch when I stray outside the plan. Probably not gonna happen. In the meantime…here are some fitness apps to try in 2014 (my current fave is Lose It!). Do you have a favorite fitness app that works for you?

Energy Management

For years you have heard about time management as a tool to get things done. I’ve switched my thinking – now I think it’s energy management. Energy is like the currency of high performance. Increasing your personal energy level can result in higher motivation, better problem solving, greater success with complex tasks, better concentration, and an overall positive, can-do attitude. Try it! Do an energy audit. Start by identifying the top three things that drain your energy. When you know what drains your energy you can design ways to manage those things. Some common “drains” are stress, clutter, noise, poor health, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of movement, lack of direction. Now identify three things you can do that replenish or boost your energy level when it’s low. Some common “boosters” are sleep, relaxation, brainstorming, exercise… What is your top energy drain and your top energy booster?

“App” this!

Apps are everywhere. There’s an app for anything and everything from aging bodies to talking tom cats. Here’s a few health-related apps to help you make good health choices. Check them out… What’s your favorite health app?