How to eat right, when you're on the road!!

Summer vacation is that special time we look forward to all year long and while it’s fun to unwind and get away from it all, we have to be careful not to drop good eating habits and sabotage our health by over indulging.  We all know that, that is so easy to do too!

Topical BioMedics, makers of Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream, has partnered with Roufia Payman, the director of outpatient nutritional services at Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, N.Y., to provide some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of ‘road food’ and make healthier choices when you’re away from home.

Payman recommends that you don’t just ‘grab and go’ when you’re on the road, but rather take control by planning ahead.

Convenience stores, food courts and fast food restaurants offer a plethora of processed foods and treats that are nutritionally poor and loaded with fat, sugar, salt, chemicals, and calories – not to mention leaving you feeling fatigued and bloated.

Whether you’re flying off on a business trip or driving to a beach house, packing healthy snacks ahead of time should be at the top of your to-do list.

Some simple and perfectly portable choices include:

• Natural peanut butter, raw almond butter and baked wheat/multi-grain crackers or rice cakes. Or pack some road-friendly nut butter sandwiches made with whole wheat or multi-grain bread.

• Nuts, fruit and a high quality natural dry cereal to munch on, or trail mix that is chockfull of your favorite healthy goodies.

• A power protein, or granola bar. Check the label to be sure it doesn’t have any chemicals, hydrogenated oil, or high fructose corn syrup lurking inside. Also watch the calorie count and check the fat and sugar content, and opt for one with the best nutritional profile.

• Pack a little cooler with yogurt, berries, low-fat cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or raw veggies and humus.

• For a punch of protein that doesn’t require refrigeration, take along sardines or single-serving packets of tuna and whole grain pita bread to make a simple, satisfying, and healthy sandwich.

• If you want something crunchy, pop natural popcorn, put it in a container or bag and take it with you.

Here are some foods you should be vigilant to avoid when you’re on the road:

• Refined grains/simple carbohydrates (bagels, hard rolls, or anything else made with white flour).

• Bags of salty, greasy potato or corn chips

• High glycemic foods such as fruit juice, soda, and sugary snacks, and forget about diet soda with its toxic artificial sweeteners.

• Anything with partially hydrogenated oils (this includes most processed/prepackaged baked goods and even nondairy creamer, which is heavy on the chemicals).

• The usual high-calorie, high fat, high carb, nutritionally-void culprits at fast food places (remember the movie ‘Super Size Me?). French fries, burgers, processed and fried chicken patties/ nuggets, and in fact most other menu offerings are big nutritional offenders and should not be consumed.

While snacking on wholesome foods will help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping, avoid eating full meals in the car. Take a break to relax and enjoy your food – it’s better for your digestion and will also enable you to pay attention to satiety signals and realize when you’re full.

Don’t skip meals, and don’t go more than four or five hours without eating. This will keep your energy level up and enable you to resist the temptation to overeat at your next meal.

If you don’t have the time (or the budget) for a lot of sit-down restaurant meals, you can avoid the pitfalls of fast food by visiting a grocery store or – better yet – a farmer’s market. Pack some eating utensils, plates, and cups and enjoy a picnic of fresh green salad, rotisserie chicken, and other healthy choices. If you opt for deli food, ask for mustard or oil and vinegar instead of fatty, high calorie mayo and special sauces.

Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, help flush toxins, and avoid travel/jet lag. Water also helps curbs food cravings and keeps you from eating too much.

Even if you’re in a hurry to get to your destination, be good to yourself by allowing ample time for rest stops. Take breaks to stretch and walk around in the fresh air. You’ll feel more alert and energized when you get back on the road.

Most importantly, don’t leave your good eating habits behind when you arrive at your vacation destination. Payman offers some positive steps you can take to avoid weight gain and enjoy maximum energy.

• Hotel mini bars are filled with all sorts of temptations, from alcoholic beverages and sodas to candy – and often at an inflated price. Refuse the key to save calories and cash.

• Power up with a good breakfast. It gets your day off to a high-energy start and helps fight hunger all day long, especially if you start out with a high quality, lean protein.

Some good choices include a vegetable omelet with whole-wheat toast, or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. Oatmeal and whole grain natural cereals with skim, coconut, or almond milk are also good choices for lasting energy. Smoothies are another great option at breakfast (or actually a meal substitute at any time).

• Read menus carefully to make health wise selections. Focus on vegetables and lean protein – think grilled, broiled, poached, roasted or baked.

• To avoid temptation, refuse the bread basket, or take one roll and ask for the rest to be removed. Start with light, lower calorie foods first, such as soup or salad, to help curb your appetite.

• Most restaurants are very accommodating to special orders. Ask for an entrée without the sauce, or with sauce on the side. Substitute salad or vegetables for potatoes (especially French fries and mashed). If you do want a higher calorie treat, eat just a small portion.

• Speaking of portion control, ask to have half your order packed to go, or split a large entrée and order an extra salad. Also, a little medley of appetizers is a nice way to get variety without the heaviness of a full dinner entrée.

Remember that nutritious, healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation and with a little planning you can enjoy foods that are deliciously good for you.

Looking for some light, healthy, low-calorie recipes to add some sweet and savory flavor to your summer? Download the summer issue of Natural Healing, Natural Wellness at for Payman’s delicious summer recipes for Choco Coco Bananas, Savory Yogurt Dip, Cinnamon Oranges, Asian Rolls with Dipping Sauce, Hoison-Chili Dipping Sauce and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce.

Roufia Payman is a contributing columnist to Natural Healing, Natural Wellness, a newsletter published by Topical BioMedics featuring insight from experts in various health fields. Thanks Roufia!

Topricin is available in pharmacies, natural food stores and other fine retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Fred Meyer, Wegmans, and other retail stores throughout the U.S., as well as direct from the Topical BioMedics’ online store.

To learn more about Topricin, go to