My oldest daughter went on a school trip this past Spring with her seventh grade class to the nether reaches of Central America. It was more than a little unnerving to have her leave the nest and travel so far afield. While some moms found comfort packing anti-malerial medications, bottles of Cipro, and topical antibiotics into their offspring’s luggage, I plied mine with handfuls of probiotics and strict instructions to “eat a lot of yogurt.”

Loading up on yogurt when traveling has been standard operating procedure ever since my husband and I started hauling our crew around the globe when they were little. The “good” bacteria in high quality yogurt, kefir and probiotic drinks can be a powerful tool for staving off tummy troubles. Indeed, keeping the gut healthy is essential in a strong immune system.

When it comes to choosing a yogurt, I’m not talking about the varieties with more sugar and artificial colors than anything else. Cartoon characters and colored sprinkles aren’t as likely to offer much on the nutrition front. Look for ones with less “kid appeal” that boast high levels of bacteria on the label. The words “live” and “active” cultures are good indicators of quality yogurt here in the US.

For the record, my daughter returned safe and sound, without a single bout of “traveler’s tummy.” She was only too delighted to report to her “mother, the nutritionist” how much Coca Cola they all slurpled down during the trip. “We couldn’t drink the water, mom.”