Quinn on Diet: Tips for Healthy Travel |  Lifestyles

Water is essential to any trip, says Barbara Quinn-Intermill.

Dream time

Barbara Quinn Monterey Herald

I am writing this from our hotel room in Missouri. We’re halfway through several states with major stops in Nashville, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri. To say the least, it was an adventure of landscapes, people and food.

We planned as well as possible. Brought bottled water for those long days of driving. Throw in some oranges for snacks. And don’t forget the fiber supplements.

But even with hotel pools and walking as much as possible, traveling can put strain on the body. Here is my travel list to remember:

  • Water is essential. Ask about it in any restaurant. Keep the bottled variety in your vehicle. And don’t forget to drink it.
  • Be a detective. Among the myriad of snacks we’ve seen at gas stations, it’s not always easy to find the ones that offer nutritional value in addition to sugar, fat, and salt. I discovered a small bag of cucumber-flavored cashew nuts that gave me at least some protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Not bad.
  • Be prepared for more sodium. Restaurant food and most packaged ready meals are loaded with this ingredient. Here is the rule of thumb if your selected food has a nutritional label: A product with no more than 140 milligrams per serving is considered “low sodium” according to the US Food and Drug Administration. While my husband was nibbling on corn nuts, I was pleased to find that the snack contains just a little over this limit. Plus, the snack even contains some fiber.
  • Don’t be afraid to indulge in some local goodies. For example, Missouri has been known for its ice cream since the ice cream cone was first served at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. (The Daisy Queen in Marshal, Arkansas has damn good ice cream too.)
  • In addition to local dishes, look for proven restaurants as well. Applebee’s near our Illinois hotel served a fantastic grilled salmon that included a delicious Caesar salad, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Our bodies sighed a big thank you!
  • Dance the night away. It’s good practice. While trying to avoid crazy stag and hen parties in Nashville, we managed to find a country western bar that would suit us “seasoned” couples. A young man came to the table we shared with our New Mexico rancher friends and asked if any of our husbands would dance with his wife. “She really wants to dance with a real cowboy,” he told them. They complied with his request in a friendly manner, the woman raved about her thanks, and phew, they were gone.
  • Forget the frozen honey buns and swallow Smartwater instead. I guarantee it will make the trip more enjoyable.