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Doctors Offer Tips for Healthy Snacks for Holiday Air Travelers
WASHINGTON—To help Americans flying this holiday season, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has compiled a recommended list of healthy travel snacks.
"With long security delays at airports and many airlines eliminating in-flight meals, travelers will find their stomachs growling long before they reach the baggage gate," says PCRM nutrition director Amy J. Lanou, Ph.D. "By planning ahead and taking along some nourishing snacks, travelers can reduce jet lag, keep their children from getting cranky, and arrive at their holiday destinations feeling their best."
PCRM offers the following tips for healthy holiday travel snacks:
Before You Fly
Do yourself a favor and drop by the health-food section of your local supermarket, or your health food store. You'll find familiar easy-to-pack items as well as some more unusual choices. Faux-meat deli slices, for example, resist spoiling, even when your sandwich has had a long wait in your luggage. And almost any good-sized grocery will have most of the items listed below.
- Dried fruit, such as apricots or banana chips, travel well. Packaged dried fruit assortments are in stock in every airport newsstand, as is trail mix, another good choice.
- Mandarin oranges and tangerines are small, tasty, and easy to carry.
- Pita bread makes a dynamite meal with hummus, and because it's already flat, it can't squash.
- Individual applesauce and fruit cup servings are convenient.
- Baby carrots pack well. Pair them with sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in a flat plastic container.
- Rice cakes are ultra-light, and delicious spread with jam, which is easy to find in small containers. Or try them with bean dip, often found in small, pop-up containers.
- Instant soup cups—such as black bean and split pea—just need hot water. If you have a long layover, you can always order a cup of hot water at an airport café to add to the instant mix, and enjoy a warming snack.
- Chickpeas often come in pop-top cans, and they're great with a bit of salad dressing, often available in tiny plastic packages.
- Bagels, sliced and left plain, are another filling and economical choice.
- Individual cartons of soy and rice milk (which are better tolerated than cow's milk by people with sensitive stomachs) are handy.
If You're Traveling with Kids
- Bottled water is your best in-flight beverage, or a small container of juice. Go easy on caffeinated colas and sugary drinks that can make kids irritable.
- Avoid milk on the day of air travel. It can cause sniffles and ear troubles. Breastfeeding moms should avoid cow's milk and caffeinated beverages, too, as they can cause colic in babies.
- A cup of favorite cereal in a reclosable plastic bag or small plastic container is fun for kids to eat and easy to manage.
- There's always peanut butter and jelly. It's got plenty of protein, and whole-grain bread makes it a healthy sandwich.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.
Jeanne S. McVey
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