LUMBERTON — Taking it easy is one of the best parts about a vacation. But while the rest and scenery may do some good, the same can’t always be said of the food — especially while driving to a destination. Think empty-calorie, gas station munchies.
And that could spell trouble when trying to lose weight or eat a healthy diet. Also, the risk of food poisoning — a would-be vacation spoiler — rises in summertime. So it’s best to keep foods safe while you travel.
Before hitting the road, take these tips in tow:
1. Pack some healthy snacks. Nutritious, portable foods include whole-grain crackers; fresh fruit (washed ahead of time); peanut butter sandwiches; pre-cut veggies; wasabi peas; dried mixed fruit; unsalted nuts or popcorn; and even canned or packaged tuna.
2. Cool it. Bring a cooler packed with plenty of ice or a frozen pack. Try to keep the cooler out of the hot trunk. Put a refrigerator thermometer in the cooler to make sure the temperature inside stays below 40 degrees — the safe zone for foods.
3. Choose wisely when stopping for a bite. Eye the menu for healthier options. Good choices include low-fat smoothies, grilled chicken breast sandwiches and salads, baked potatoes, and veggie-based dishes.
4. Wash up. Remember to scrub hands with soap and water before preparing and eating food. Don’t forget to pack some sanitizer for when a sink isn’t available.
5. Know when to toss it. Don’t eat anything that’s been sitting out for more than two hours — or one hour on a 90-degree or hotter day.
Source: American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics