Avoiding Nutritional Pitfalls at Pitstops

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We've covered what to eat in an airport, but how about what to pack on the road? Whether you're headed upstate or cross-country, plan ahead to avoid overeating. Use these tips to help you get ready for your next road trip. They're designed to help you fill up on few calories and curb your appetite for the inevitable on the go cravings.

1. Avoid fast food at all costs

Even when you try to eat healthy, you probably aren't. For example, would you guess that a sub sandwich can be more caloric than a Big Mac? Results from a recent survey conducted by the New York City Health Department found the average consumer underestimated their calorie intake by an average 600 per meal.

2. Be food safe

Practically speaking and food safety-wise, you can divide your road trip snacks into a cooler and a "dry goods" bag. Foods in the cooler are fine for at least 4 hours, possibly longer if there is adequate and evenly distributed chill in your cooler.

3. Cool it

A few suggestions for the cooler include:

Mini sandwiches. A great idea is to use mini bagels or those found in the freezer section. You'll find your "entree" less soggy, sturdier, and appropriately portioned. Choose whole grain bagels and the sky is the limit for your favorite combinations.

Beverages. Hydration is key to arriving fresh as a daisy. No one wants to make frequent pit stops, but staying adequately hydrated is essential to helping your body bounce back once you reach your destination. Water is best, but feel free to mix it up with low calorie diet soda or light lemonade to keep your taste buds happy. Avoid empty calorie non-diet sodas or sports drinks.

5-A-DAY.Don't forget the fruits and veggies! I recommend manageable fruit (apples, grapes, or orange slices to name a few) and cut up veggies (bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumbers, or celery). Remember, lots of crunch equals lots of fiber.

4. Bag it

What about the "dry goods" bag mentioned above?

Trail mix covers several bases.In a couple small handfuls you'll find something salty, something sweet, something crunchy, and keep it neat! You've heard the benefits of trail mix as a day to day snack, so apply that to the car. Add some lightly salted nuts for protein, dry fruit for a tangy sweet, some pretzels or dry cereal for bulk, and maybe hide a few peanut butter or chocolate chips for a treat.

5. Keep it neat

• Eliminate the sauces, dips, condiments, and other extras. It's better to go without than to show up wearing it. • Just in case, pack a few wet wipes and a trash bag.

In short, keep it light and fresh and save the heavy meal for when you finally reach your destination.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.