Charles Platkin's tips for healthful eating and fitness on the road, in the air or by water, include carrying salad dressing packets; packing elastic resistance bands; using Fit & Fresh containers; and bringing along a George Foreman grill.
Here are a few things you might consider taking with you on your next trip. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, automobile or cruise ship, these innovative products could help keep you on track.
Salad dressing packets
Why: You think you’re eating healthy by grabbing a salad on the road, but, oh gosh, that dressing can be a real diet buster. Some dressings are more than 200 calories for just a couple of tablespoons (yes, even oil and vinegar). Often times you could be stuck with no healthful dressing options, which is exactly why you should carry your own. Just pack a few and put a few more in your pocketbook or briefcase and you’re all set.
Bonus: Even if you choose a healthful dressing, you tend to use a bit too much. These packets are portion controlled, so it’s easier to stick to your “healthy eating” program.
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Where to Buy: Many supermarkets now carry salad-dressing packets. You can also purchase Walden Farms 1-ounce packets from Amazon.com. They have Honey Dijon, Creamy Bacon, Ranch, Italian and Thousand Island. According to the company, they’re calorie-free, fat-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free and carbohydrate-free. Another source is www.Minimus.biz. They have two prepackaged fat-free salad dressing kits with 13 different flavors, Newman’s Own Light Italian Dressing, Kraft Lite and Ken’s Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing.
Cost: Walden Farms: $4.39 for six 1-ounce packets. Packets on Minimus.biz start at about 19 cents apiece.
Exercise bands and tubing
Why: You can get a full-body workout with just a few elastic resistance bands. They work by creating tension and stress on your muscles. There are loads of exercises on various Web sites including www.bodylastics.com, www.thera-bandacademy.com (free registration required).
Exercise bands are portable, easy to use anywhere, anytime, quiet, and, most important, they work. The Bodylastic exercise tubes, made of high-quality clamp and surgical tubing, are the best I’ve seen.
Bonus: Low cost, easy to use, very portable.
Cost: Bodylastics training kit, $59.95: One band with secure handles starts at $6.25 (depending on strength, style and quality). You can also purchase a flat band for as little as $3.25.
Fit & Fresh containers
Why: Great storage containers help keep your food fresh on the road. Fit & Fresh takes innovative product design to a new level with their on-the-go products. My favorites are Lunch on the Go, which comes with a removable ice pack, several compartments and a cover that can serve as a plate, and the Salad Shaker, which comes with a dressing dispenser, utensil box (includes a knife and fork), ice pack and a salad bowl that holds up to 4 cups.
Bonus: All Fit & Fresh products (except the ice packs) are easy to clean and safe for the freezer, microwave and top rack of the dishwasher.
Where to Buy: www.fit-fresh.com
Cost: Salad Shaker is $9.99; Lunch on the Go, $9.99.
George Foreman “The Champ” Grill
Why: This tiny George Foreman grill is not new, but it is still the best thing out there for traveling. It’s compact, easy to use and fits into any luggage — even a carry-on. It has a 36-square-inch grilling surface, big enough to cook for two. In case you’re not familiar with the George Foreman grill, it has a double nonstick coating, is durable and eliminates the need for oil. It drains off the fat, heats up quickly, is easy to clean, and even comes with its own spatula. Simply locate a nearby supermarket, buy chicken or fish and vegetables, plug it in and you’re all set. Also, it now comes in a variety of colors to spice up your grilling experience.
Bonus: You save money and calories by cooking your own meals while you’re on the road.
Where to buy: Sears, Amazon, Target and other appliance stores.
Cost: $19.99 at Sears and Target.
Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate, founder of DietDetective.com, and host of the new WE television series I Want To Save Your Life. Copyright 2008-2009 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter and iTunes podcast at www.DietDetective.com