Monday, April 26, 2010

Nutrition for Travel

The top tips for maintaining good nutrition while traveling with People to People Ambassador Programs are to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.

Stay Hydrated
Preventing dehydration both before and during travel is vital to maintain energy levels, overcome jet lag, and stay healthy while abroad. Not only does dehydration have a negative impact on body temperature, but it also affects heart function and the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. Poor fluid intake leads to fatigue and a delayed immune response, which greatly increases the chance of becoming ill while traveling.

1. Bring a water bottle
  • Student Ambassadors should be in the habit of carrying their water bottles with them wherever they go. This can begin at home weeks prior to travel, which will help ensure adequate hydration before the trip. Be sure to pack the empty bottle in your suitcase rather than carrying it on to avoid delays at airport security .
2. Drink extra on the plane
  • Aim for at least 1 cup of fluid for every hour of travel. Don’t be shy about asking the flight attendants for water. Many international flights have glasses of water already available in the kitchen/galley areas for passengers to help themselves. (This gives you an opportunity to stretch your legs, as well!)
3. Drink beyond thirst
  • Adolescents and children have a diminished thirst sensation. As a Student Ambassador, you will be very active during travel, which will also dull your thirst mechanism and require an increase in fluid intake.
  • In preparation for travel abroad, get in the habit of drinking fluids throughout the day, even when you don’t feel thirsty.
  • When taking fluid breaks, drink more than necessary!
4. Choose water
  • Drinks that contain high amounts of sugar can lead to further dehydration and/or intestinal problems.
  • Limit soda, coffee, and tea, as these act as diuretics and can worsen dehydration.
  • Your delegation manager will be a good source to determine if tap water in a specific country is suitable for drinking or if bottled water is the best option.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A variety of healthy foods, eaten consistently throughout the day, will help ensure adequate blood sugar levels, assist in overcoming jet lag, and increase immune health.

1. Have 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day
  • Spread snacks and meals evenly throughout the day to maintain energy levels.
  • Snacks should mostly consist of whole grains , fruits , and veggies, but they should also contain some protein to avoid sudden spikes in blood -sugar levels.
  • Portable travel food ideas: If it is available, grab an extra piece of fresh fruit at breakfast to eat as a snack later. There will be many opportunities to purchase snacks along the way. The best choices would include items such as trail mix with dried fruit, cereal, nuts , yogurt , milk , chocolate milk , string cheese , whole -grain crackers , peanut butter , granola bars , and WATER, WATER, WATER!
2. At each meal, choose at least one item from each of the following groups:
  • Whole -grain products
  • Milk products
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Meat and protein alternatives (nuts, beans, eggs , etc.)
For more information, visit:

April Davis, RD, CD, CES

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