August 3, 2010

Travel Fruit-Full-Y

Setting off on a vacation? Simply packing for a business trip? Or celebrating a long weekend? Whatever, wherever, try to travel FRUIT-FULL-Y.

Why? Fruit is THE category of foods that is missing in action on the road - when most of your meals are eaten in or taken out from restaurants. (True, an insufficient supply of vegetables is close behind!)

How much fruit should you eat each day? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005), most adults need 2 cups a day. Figure that’s about three to four servings (with a serving being one ½ cup of fruit, fruit juice or one small or ½ of a large piece of fresh fruit).

How much fruit do we eat each day? Yes, we get an F on fruit consumption, getting roughly about 1 cup or half the amount we need each day. A 2009 CDC report on fruit and vegetable consumption noted only 33 percent of adults eat our fill of fruit.

Why eat fruit? Fruit offers up lots of nutrition bang for the calories. And there’s no fat in fruit – yet another plus. Fruit is essentially a healthy source of carbohydrate loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals and a few grams of dietary fiber. The specific vitamins and minerals depends on the fruit – oranges, grapefruits offer up a nice supply of vitamin C, berries are full of dietary fiber and much more.. The fiber from fruit can assist with regularity...yes, a common problem when traveling.

Tips to Traveling FRUIT-FULL-Y
Fruit, as in fresh whole pieces of fruit, is simply near to impossible to find in most restaurants. You may find a banana or raisins on cereal or fruit cup for breakfast or an apple, orange or banana at a sandwich shop for lunch. It’s rare to find fruit served at dinner, other than as a garnish. And reality is that even if you find fruit on your travels, the price will be daunting – enough to de-incentivize your healthy eating intensions.

To make sure you get your fill of fruit on the road, you’ll have to plan to have fruit with you, shop for it before departing and pack it with you. Consider these options and find more in my books: Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy and Eat Out Eat Right:

  • Pack a few pieces of fruit that will last at least the first few days of your travels: apples, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and bananas will last a few days not refrigerated. If you are traveling via car, bring along a small cooler to store the fruit. It’s easy enough to get ice daily. If you are staying in hotels replenish the ice in your cooler. If there’s a refrigerator in the room, stash it for the night.
  • Stop in local supermarkets along your way and replenish your supply of fresh fruit. Enjoy a piece with breakfast, for an afternoon snack or a late evening sweet quencher.
  • Bring along individual servings of canned or packaged fruit. Today there are plenty of options: applesauce, mixed fruit in cans or plastic containers (and packed in its own juice).
  • Pack dried fruit. There’s raisins, apricots, dried apples, dried pears, dates, and more. Try a mixture of dried fruit. They’re an excellent source of nutrition, aren’t perishable and are easy to eat while traveling.

Enjoy your travels, fruit-FULL-Y!