Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bringing it Back to Basics

Healthy nutrition is important for everyone, especially travelers. During the process of travelling, our bodies may encounter long flights, crossing time zones, and lack of proper rest. At People to People Ambassador Programs we recognize the need for you, the parents of our delegates, to be well informed about healthy nutrition for both your delegates and yourselves. With this goal in mind, last year we developed a partnership with April Davis RD, CD, ACSM CES®, to provide you with important nutritional information and help us improve our menus. As far as we know, our organization is the first to take this dramatic step in improving meal quality and nutritional value and with April’s help we will continue make strides in providing the best travel experience for our delegates.

Starting this week, April will begin her special feature on micro and macronutrient education. Stay tuned for more of April’s entries coming to you every other week through March. As always, I will continue to post health and safety related articles on a weekly basis so please come back at least weekly for the latest and greatest news from your Health and Safety team.

Mike Bowers
Sr. Director Health & Safety

Believe it or not, nutrition is all about biology and chemistry, otherwise known as biochemistry. Your body runs like a well-oiled machine due to the thousands of chemical processes that are occurring inside it every second of every day. It’s important to support these processes fully by providing your body with a wide variety of nutrients. Foods provide the nutrients needed for your body to grow, repair, regulate, and maintain itself.

There are six basic nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. All of these are classified as essential. Your body requires essential nutrients to function properly. These nutrients must be obtained from the foods you eat; your body cannot make them on its own.

The two major categories of nutrients are macronutrients and micronutrients.
  • You need a large amount of macronutrients on a daily basis. They provide your body with energy in the form of calories. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three macronutrients.

  • Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are required in smaller amount, hence the prefix “micro.” Water fits into its own class and requirements for it vary greatly depending on your weight, activity level, and medical condition.
Now let's test your knowledge on the six basic nutrients! (If you're a parent, pass this on to your children). Take this quiz and see how you do.

In upcoming blog posts, I’ll be talking about each of the six basic nutrients in great detail. My focus will be on explaining how each nutrient is used in everyday life, giving examples of healthy food choices, and relaying the unique role each nutrient plays in supporting your child's body during travel abroad.

I would also like to answer questions you have on macro- and micronutrients or nutrition in general. Please reply to this post with your questions and comments so that I can address them in future blogs. It is my goal to cultivate dialogue and education as it relates to nutrition, health, and travel. Thank you in advance for your contributions in helping to make this happen.

By April D. Davis, RD, CD, ACSM CES®


  1. When you travel away from home, eating healthy food can be a challenge. You may not have the variety that you have at home, and you may have to resort to eating at Restaurants which can be high in fat and low in nutrients. Travel across time zones and jet lag can have a profound effect on sleep, digestion, well-being and performance. It is easier to travel westbound than eastbound, since our biological rhythm in “free-running” conditions spans about 25 hours. Nice post as well as information.

  2. April D. Davis, RD, CD, ACSM CESMarch 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Thank you for contributing your thoughts and taking an interest in this valuable information about nutrition and travel.