August 3, 2009

Happy Trails

I’ve been a bit behind on my blogging due to some recent travels (WEDDING SEASON!) and am off again early this week for more fun on trains, planes, and automobiles. However, the time I have spent on the road reminded me that it is high time to write on one of the more challenging low sodium subjects:

eating well while on the go

When traveling, everyone must forgo their fresh, healthy food options for fast(er) food. And for those of us trying to maintain a strict diet (health required or otherwise), it seems almost impossible to stay within our limits.

For almost two years after I was diagnosed with Lupus, I did not travel beyond the four hour drive to Tahoe and back. I thought it would be difficult if not impossible to find safe, low sodium food when far from the comfort of my own kitchen. But over time, I found some simple tricks (and readily available food items) that make traveling with a full belly easy and attainable. Below are some of these staple, low sodium snacks that keep me satiated while on my journeys and enable a jet-setting lifestyle.  Bali, here I come.


Fruit – any coffee/cafe/breakfast establishment will have whole fruit options (bananas, apples, oranges) or cups of fresh fruit (think grapes, cantaloupes, and pineapple). I often buy extra fruit to cram into my bag for in-flight snacking.  Bananas are especially good and filling.

Baked Potato – this low sodium starch can be found at some airport restaurants. Also, keep your eye out for a Wendy’s as they have a baked potato on their menu.  It makes a delicious, low sodium, chive-filled treat.

Hard Boiled Eggs – another easy find at any coffee/cafe/breakfast spot. On a side note – when road tripping – hard boiled eggs are also found in most gas stations. So if you are really hungry and hankering for a protein fix, this is a great option.

Steamed rice – if there is a Japanese or Chinese restaurant in the airport food court, chances are they have steamed rice on the menu. Just make sure it is not “sushi rice” which usually has salt in it and ask if they add salt to their water when steaming.

Frosted Mini-Wheats – believe it or not, they have only 5mg of sodium and are a really filling snack.  Pure gold.


Granola – there are a lot of low sodium options available but my current favorite is Erin Baker’s Oatmeal Raisin Granola – only 0mg sodium. The granola has a nice chunky texture and fits easily in a purse or suitcase. One bag will last you a long weekend at minimum – just keep other sneaky hands from grabbing fistfuls for themselves.

Corn Tortillas – check the nutrition label, but most corn tortillas (not wheat or flour) are low sodium. Because of their flat shape they pack well and add substance to a breakfast or lunch dish (like a veggie salad or an egg scramble). Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to stumble upon an avocado and then you’ll be really happy you brought those doughy discs with you.

Just Peas/Corn/Fruit
– I know I’ve posted about these freeze dried treats before, but they have a wonderful flavor and are great snack to have on hand. As an added plus, you are getting your daily dose of veggies and fruit…now how’s that for eating well on the go!

Dried Fruit/Nuts/Sunflower seeds
– before I leave for a trip, I hit the bins at Whole Foods and fill up on dried strawberries, figs, apple rings, and sunflower seeds. What is especially great about traveling with these snacks is that you can eat them to curb midday tummy rumblings and you can use them to brighten up salads or other dishes. Their dual purpose makes these snacks a packing priority.

Tuna Fish – okay, so it can be smelly and there is that whole “mercury” thing, but for a guaranteed tummy filler a can of tuna will get the job done. There are two kinds of low sodium tuna that you can find at grocery stores: BumbleBee and StarKist. Just remember to pack a can opener… and some breath mints.

Popcorn – this suggestion is dependent on proximity to a microwave oven. But, popcorn is such a delicious and filling snack and, when not popped, it is completely flat and negligible in terms of space. So, it never hurts to throw a bag of low sodium popcorn in your suitcase or purse just in case the opportunity to snap, crackle, and pop arises.

Safe Travels and Safe Eating!

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