How to Eat Healthy When You’re Pregnant and Traveling
Going on a trip while pregnant? Here are the healthy eating tips every mum-to-be should know
30 October 2019
All written work was contributed.
Traveling when you’re pregnant can be a cinch as long as you take adequate precautions
A healthy diet for you and your little one is one of the most important aspects of pregnancy care, so it's best to plan your meals ahead of time before going on the road. Eating healthy will ensure that you get the nutrition you require when you’re on the road, as traveling can take both a physical and mental toll on pregnant mums.
Flying on airplanes often leads to feeling dehydrated and sore in the muscles, and getting enough sleep is just as important as eating a balanced, nutritious meal.
Here are a few simple ways to eat healthy when you’re pregnant and traveling.
1. Have a hearty breakfast
You might find the idea of a hearty breakfast laughable considering your morning sickness. Morning sickness is at its worst early in the morning so you can treat yourself to a hearty late breakfast. A hearty (but healthy) breakfast will set the stage for nutritious choices throughout the rest of your day. This means that you are less likely to stop for a doughnut, burger or other fast food when you’re traveling.
2. Eat before you get hungry
You’re eating for two so it’s normal to feel hungry all the time. Don’t wait until you’re hungry to have your meal as you will probably choose delicious but unhealthy foods. Plan your meal schedule with small meals or snacks every two hours as this will stave off cravings.
If you need to have a meal while you’re on the road, only stop at reputable restaurants.
Opt for plain and healthy meals such as grilled chicken breast with wild rice and steamed veggies. You may not relish bland foods but this will help to prevent nausea and vomiting when you get back on the road after your lunch.
Bring your own brown bag! Don’t be ashamed to brown-bag your lunch, especially if you’re flying. Airlines might describe their meals as “gourmet” but you’ve flown enough times to know that this probably means a dry and tasteless sandwich.
You can enjoy a homemade wrap, panini, or double-decker instead of the regular in-flight meal.
A cold sandwich with watercress, hummus, veggies, and pine nuts will satisfy your tummy and your taste buds. Pack a frozen banana or apple (for dessert) along with your sandwich to keep it cool and fresh.
4. Cut back on the salt
Pregnancy makes your body produce approximately 50% more blood and fluids. This is why swelling (edema) in the limbs and face is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. High salt intake leads to water retention and increases the risk of edema.
This is even more of a problem when you’re travelling as sitting for a long time in an airplane seat or cramped car can exacerbate the problem. It’s obvious that salty snacks such as chips, fries and pretzels have a high salt content but there are also sneaky foods that are high in salt.
Bagels, biscuits, baked beans, sauces and even packaged breakfast cereal contain more salt than you would expect. Check the nutritional labels of everything you eat to limit your salt intake. A high-salt diet can also lead to serious health issues such as high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
5. Snack on fresh fruit throughout the day
Fresh fruit is the perfect pregnancy snack as fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Pack a large bowl of fruit so that you can keep snacking on them every couple of hours. This will also help to satisfy your sugar cravings and reduce your yearning for unhealthy sweet snacks.
Place a few frozen boxes of juice along with your fruit to keep them chilled throughout the day. Make sure that you only consume pasteurized juice as unpasteurized juice can contain harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Fresh fruit contains phytonutrients that promote health and wellness by preventing DNA damage and assisting DNA repair. This will help build your resilience and could even reduce your time-to-pregnancy.
New research indicates that eating fruit during pregnancy could make your child smarter so snack away!
6. Avoid gas-producing foods
Sitting in one position for several hours at a time increases the risk of bloating which is why this is a common complaint on road trips. You are more likely to experience bloating and discomfort since you’re pregnant so it would be wise to eliminate gas-producing foods from your diet.
Beans, legumes and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are among the top gas-producing foods.
Sugar-free candy and gum that contain the sweetener xylitol can also cause intestinal gas so opt for flavorless gum instead – which is also better for your teeth. You should also avoid gas-producing foods if you’re flying as the low pressure of airplane cabins can increase bloating.
7. Never eat from salad bars
When you get pregnant, your doctor will advise you to eat less processed foods and more fresh salads. While fresh salad is great for you, the last thing you want to do is have any salad from salad bars in restaurants, delis, and supermarkets.
This is because a germ called listeria can be passed on through cross-contamination with raw meat resulting in a rare but serious condition known as Listeriosis.
If you get listeria infection, you may not experience any symptoms but it can be transferred to your baby and have devastating consequences.
Listeriosis can lead to...
- Premature birth
About the writer
Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.