Healthy Eating While Vacationing

By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator

If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:

  • Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
  • Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
  • Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
  • Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
  • If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
  • Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.

With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!

Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at or call 208-459-6003 for more information.

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Cool it.

Got Stress

Zowie! It’s hot out there. There are tried and true ways to keep cool and comfy – from drinking water, to munching on popsicles, to turning on fans. But, there are some ideas you may not have thought of…

  • Put ice packs on your wrists, ankles, or neck
  • Make your own flexible ice packs or try one of these homemade ice packs
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored, cotton clothes
  • Put your socks in the freezer
  • Keep a spray bottle of water in the fridge for a quick spritzing
  • Store lotions and face toners in the fridge for a quick cool down
  • Wear a wet (yes, wet) hat when outdoors
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol – they dehydrate you
  • Chew minty gum and drink cold water – brrrr!
  • Do a quick beverage cool down: wrap the bottle in a wet paper towel; place in the freezer for 15 minutes
  • More on Health Matters Cool it! – Really

Share your ideas on how to stay cool.

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Don’t just sit there. Move something!

Desk Movement

Fidget. Do a desk-top drum roll. Shrug your shoulders. Turn your head left and right. Walk to your neighbor’s cubicle. Do stapler arm curls or chair leg-lifts. Stand on one foot. Dance it out. Just put it in motion. Make it your motto – “Seated for 60? Up for 3!” A general lack of movement or physical inactivity may be as deadly as smoking.  It’s true. Putting your body on “stall” is damaging. Letting it sit and idle all day while working is poisonous to your health. To top it off, if your belly is growing, your work performance may be shrinking. All good reasons to get up and move! A sedentary office job is no excuse. Use the time you sit in a chair to do some discrete exercises. Stop waiting for a trip to the gym,  or an evening walk, or some great inspiration – just start moving! Get your co-workers involved. Share the activity you do to keep yourself moving at work. Make a comment on this blog post and you are automatically entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs WaterPark in Meridian, ID, or one of four sets of two free tickes to Wahooz Fun Zone in Meridian, ID. You must be a State of Idaho employee to win; drawing is 6/24/14 at 10 a.m. MST.

How to play:

Make sure you are registered and logged in to If you are not already registered, go to the column on the right. Click on “register” to get started.

Make a comment on this blog post by answering the question, “What activity do you do to keep on-the-move at work?”… or, if you are just getting started with this idea, “What activity would you like to start to get moving during your work day?” You must be a State of Idaho employee to win tickets. Winners will be posted on Health Matters Stress Center webpage on June 24, 2014.

This is a great way to get ideas and to share what works. Join in the conversation. You could be a winner!

For more ideas on being active, visit Health Tools.

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Wellness Resource Winners

Healthy App

The winners of the Roaring Springs Waterpark and Silverwood Theme Park tickets are

smadsen: Map My Run and My Fitness Pal websites

reganberkley: Eating Well and Cooking Light magazines

sara: Calorie King website


alorenzo: Weight Watchers app and Health Status website

MiKe: My Fitness Pal

Check out the other entries on Wellness Resource Drawing. Try something new!

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Wellness Resource Drawing!

Healthy App

Do you have a favorite wellness resource, website, blog, or app? Maybe it’s a wellness newsletter or a website on walking, or running or biking. Perhaps your favorite wellness resource is an app for healthy cooking or stress reduction…or meditation. Share the name and location (e.g., web URL or app or magazine) of your favorite wellness resource, along with a sentence or two about why you like that resource. You will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of four sets of two FREE tickets to Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, ID, OR one of two FREE individual tickets to Silverwood north of Coeur d’Alene, ID. If you are a North Idaho employee interested in the Silverwood tickets, add the words North Idaho, please to your post.

How to play:

Make sure you are registered and logged in to If you are not already a registered user, please register in the right hand column. Click on the “register” button to get started.

Make a comment on this blog post by answering the question: “What is your favorite wellness resource, website, blog, or app?” Be sure to include a sentence or two about why you like that resource. If you are interested in the Silverwood tickets, add the words North Idaho, please to your comment.

This is a great way to learn what’s new in wellness resources – and what’s tried and true! Winners will be drawn from all comments on Thursday, 8/22/13 @ 2:00 p.m., Mountain Time.

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Contest Winners!

Healthy Choice

The winners of the Roaring Springs Waterpark ticket drawing are…

  • Football214: Cool Cucumber Salsa
  • hawsa: Two-ingredient Homemade Fudgesicles
  • almefam: Kale Chips
  • cathy208: Shrimp Cocktail Salad

Check out their recipes and all the other great entries.  This weekend is a perfect time to try something new!

Didn’t win, but still want to go to Roaring Springs? Watch for the next drawing in August, or go to Happenings to access the State Employee discount to Roaring Springs and other fun events.

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