Eat healthy and keep active

Here are a few tips on how to com­bine fun activ­it­ies and health­ful eat­ing habits to help you and your fam­ily feel great, both on your trip and after your re­turn home.

 Sum­mer months are the per­fect time to squeeze in a fam­ily va­ca­tion. Too of­ten, however, we re­turn from our travels feel­ing ex­hausted and weary from an “un­fit” va­ca­tion. The reas­ons are many: over­eat­ing, try­ing to log too many miles, sporad­ic sleep sched­ules and too little ex­er­cise.

Here are a few tips on how to com­bine fun activ­it­ies and health­ful eat­ing habits to help you and your fam­ily feel great, both on your trip and after your re­turn home. 

• Pack some health­ful snacks for car travel. A small cool­er or ice chest works great to keep bever­ages and per­ish­able items cool and tasty. Pop­corn, pret­zels, fresh or dried fruit, yogurt cups, ba­gels, ve­get­able sticks, 100 per­cent fruit juice, whole-grain crack­ers and string cheese are all sat­is­fy­ing and healthy snack choices. 

• If you’re trav­el­ing by plane, drink plenty of flu­ids be­fore, dur­ing and after your flight. Min­im­ize any bever­ages con­tain­ing caf­feine or al­co­hol, since these can de­hyd­rate you. Bring your own bottle of wa­ter on board, if per­mit­ted.

• Stick with lower fat or light meals, and plan in ad­vance if pos­sible by either eat­ing be­fore get­ting on the road or stop­ping some­where with choices oth­er than just fast food. Try not to skip meals; you’ll be less likely to over­eat later in the day. 

• Res­taur­ant eat­ing can be­come mono­ton­ous and costly, and kids might not al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate the un­fa­mil­i­ar menu op­tions. Why not make a quick trip to the gro­cery store to pick up low-sug­ar break­fast cer­eal, fruit, milk and ba­gels for an easy nu­tri­tious meal you can put to­geth­er any­where. 

• If you’re camp­ing, plan for health­ful meals in ad­vance. Think of My­Plate and in­clude a vari­ety of fruits and ve­get­ables, whole grains, pro­tein and dairy with a long shelf-life, along with products that don’t re­quire re­fri­ger­a­tion. 

• Help your fam­ily meet their daily cal­ci­um re­quire­ments — about three cups of milk, yogurt and cheese. For nu­tri­tious con­veni­ence, bring along grated cheese to add to spa­ghetti, ta­cos and burri­tos; dried milk to add to pan­cake mix; flu­id milk for cer­eal; and yogurt for snacks.

Here are some tips for stay­ing act­ive while on the road:

• Wheth­er you’re camp­ing or stay­ing at a re­sort, take ad­vant­age of the great out­doors and go on a nature walk or hike with the en­tire fam­ily. See who can spot the largest vari­ety of birds along the way. You’ll reap the be­ne­fits of fit­ness and each oth­er’s com­pany. 

• Take along sports equip­ment for the en­tire fam­ily. A bad­min­ton or cro­quet set, a vol­ley­ball or Fris­bee, snorkel­ing gear (for any nearby wa­ter at­trac­tions) and ten­nis rac­quets, all of which add up to fun and ex­er­cise.

• Ask your chil­dren to plan an activ­ity the en­tire fam­ily can do while on va­ca­tion: a kick­ball game, catch, re­lay games or tag. 

• Plan time for ex­er­cise — a mid-day bike ride, morn­ing nature walk or af­ter­noon swim at the hotel pool will help you stay on the fit­ness track. 

• If you’re book­ing your va­ca­tion at a hotel, be sure and ask about avail­able fit­ness fa­cil­it­ies. Many have a pool for swim­ming laps, aer­obics classes, weight-train­ing equip­ment and jog­ging/walk­ing maps of sur­round­ing areas. 

• Pack ex­er­cise cloth­ing, walk­ing or jog­ging shoes, com­fy clothes and a bathing suit. 

• If you’re do­ing a lot of driv­ing, bring your bikes and stop for a ride through the coun­tryside. Don’t for­get to pack your bike hel­mets and sports wa­ter bottles. 

You won’t re­turn home feel­ing the need to take a va­ca­tion if you plan ahead for a happy and healthy trip!

(Ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion provided by Jim Mey­er, Nu­tri­tion Spe­cial­ist in Ralls County, Uni­versity of Mis­souri Ex­ten­sion.) ••

  An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­  

  To see how-to videos, re­cipes and more, Like An­gela Shelf Medear­is, The Kit­chen Diva! on Face­book and go to

Cu­cum­ber and red onion salad

This cool side dish is simple to fix and a nice change from every­day tossed greens.

2 ta­ble­spoons seasoned rice vin­eg­ar

1/4 tea­spoon salt

1/4 tea­spoon Asi­an ses­ame oil

1 (about 12 ounces) Eng­lish (seed­less) cu­cum­ber, un­peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. In me­di­um bowl, with wire whisk, mix vin­eg­ar, salt and ses­ame oil un­til blen­ded.

2. Add cu­cum­ber and red onion, and toss to coat. Serves 4.

• Each serving: About 30 cal­or­ies, 0g total fat, 0mg cho­les­ter­ol, 335mg so­di­um, 8g total carbs, 1g pro­tein.

For thou­sands of triple-tested re­cipes, vis­it our web­site at www.good­house­keep­­cipefind­er/

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