By Echelle, Pure Matters

Every month I fly to California to help out with my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. With all that traveling, eating well could easily fall to the way side if I didn’t stay conscious of it. Instead, I’ve got a battle plan for staying healthy on the road (or in the air) when I travel. If you’re not a frequent flyer, but may be considering some road trips, I’ve included a plan for that too!

Let’s start at the airport. It’s very easy to succumb to the countless junk food offerings that exist there. And if you start your journey in the morning, one junk food bite could take you down a slippery slope for the remainder of the day -- or even worse, the entire trip.

I love that Starbucks has an oatmeal offering. If you don’t use the full portions of brown sugar, dried fruit, and mixed nuts that accompanies it, you’ll be off to a pretty decent start. And as far as airplane food goes, the lowfat yogurt is the best choice.

One tried and true method, if space and time allows, is to pack a lunch. If you can’t, look for places like Chipotle, which gives you a salad bowl option that not only lower in calories but is super filling too.

Au Bon Pain also has some healthy options: try the veggie soup and turkey sandwiches on whole wheat. To keep my fat intake down, I usually skip the mayonnaise on my sandwich. Plus, if I can only eat half of the sandwich, I don’t have to worry about it going bad a couple hours later.

In the airport, I simply stay away from the KFCs, Popeyes, and McDonalds of the world. It can be done! I’ve noticed that more and more airports are getting peppered with healthier eating options, so it looks like the opportunities to eat healthier are becoming more favorable.

When you’ve arrived at your travel destination, opt for places that have a lot of fresh veggies on their menus. Always start with a veggie appetizer. Note that when you start with healthy, you’re more inclined to continue the trend with the rest of the meal. Typically restaurant portions are twice what you should be consuming, so cut it in half and save the remainder for another meal -- or share with a friend.

And don’t forget to watch what you drink. If you start with some water, you may decide you don’t really need that sweet tea. Just today on the plane, I thought I’d order some fruit juice. I got cran-apple. When I looked at the ingredients, it had 58 grams of sugar! 58! Of course I couldn’t drink it. I gave up drinking sodas.

When you’re traveling, if for any reason you’re invited to a home cooked meal, take it! Automatically less salt is used in home cooking than restaurants. That’s unless you receive an invitation is to Paula Dean’s house, of course!

Now, how about those road trips? Coolers are your best buds. You can pack a good 3 days’ worth of healthy food in coolers that have gel coolant packs. Whole grain bread (which doesn’t need to be in cooler), lean deli meats, pre-mixed salad packs, non-fat and lowfat yogurts, healthy trail mix, or nutrient packed nuts are just a few suggestions. At a hotel stop, you can grocery shop again, re-freeze your cold packs, and restock your coolers. Cheaper and creative fun! With gas prices going up, up and up, some money saving tricks while road tripping is very handy.

If you’ll be visiting a new country, you should take your probiotics a week before you depart. Besides replenishing your good intestinal flora, probiotics do an excellent job of warding off stomach upset from new and exotic foods that could leave you stuck in the hotel.

Along with your probiotics, remember to stay on your vitamin and supplement program so you’re getting all the nutrients that you need.