Traveling soon? The holidays are a favorite time to travel or maybe you have a winter getaway vacation planned. No matter where you’re going, you’ll want to take advantage of some quick, easy and healthy ideas that can help you bring and find real food as well as stay on track while you’re traveling. While these tips can all be used right here at home, they are extra-important when you’re on the go. Traveling can easily throw your regular healthy habits off course whether you’re skipping time zones or just simply away from home.
“You do not find the happy life. You make it.” Camilla Eyring Kimball
Traveling has always posed healthy eating challenges for me. When my children were younger, our family took many road trips. In an effort to avoid restaurants that might not be up to my cleanliness standards and because we didn’t often stop for meals in order to get where we were going as quickly as possible, we often chose fast food restaurants or picked up snacks at a gas station quick market.
Over the years and as I have begun to eat a healthier diet and provide healthy diet resources for my coaching clients, I have discovered new ways to approach eating healthfully while traveling. Let’s get to some great strategies that can help you avoid junk food while you’re “on the road.”
BOOK HOTEL ROOMS WITH A MINI-FRIDGE, MICROWAVE AND COFFEE MAKER IF POSSIBILE…
When booking your hotel room, ask if they have rooms with a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee maker. This will help you store some of your healthy snacks and groceries while you’re there.
BRING YOUR OWN HEALTHY SNACKS…
This is important because not only will it keep you from becoming a “hangry junk-seeker,” but it can also hold you off until you’re able to stop at a proper grocery store for say…real food!
Here are a few favorite on-the-go snacks to have on hand in your bag and/or cooler:
- Fresh fruit or boiled eggs, if you’re going to have a cooler, or eat them within a couple of hours. Don’t forget the ice packs.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds (I love walnuts and pumpkin seeds).
- Dried or freeze-dried fruit.
- Bars such as Lara Bars of other “real food bars” of your choice. Read the ingredient’s label to make sure it meets your requirements. Some of these commercial bars have lots of extra sugar and preservatives which will likely make you crave more of them within a couple of hours. This article from VeryWellFit.com lists 7 of the best natural energy bars according to dietician, Anne Cook Carroll. Or better yet, make your own energy bars before leaving home.
- Sliced veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, etc.) with a dip (hummus, guacamole, salad dressing, etc.). You can even buy single-serving packs at some grocery stores.
- Good quality granola cereal (Try the Purely Elizabeth varieties.) or make your own. Here’s my recipe for Healthy Homemade Granola.
- Savory snacks like roasted chickpeas.
- High-quality protein powder to make your own smoothies . If you want to make smoothies on the go, be sure to also pack a mini blender, like a Magic Bullet.
- And don’t forget your drinks. Bring some water with you. Or if you’re flying, choose water in the airport and on the plane.
FIND HEALTHY FOOD AT YOUR DESTINATION
You can always Google your destination and search for grocery stores or healthy restaurants. But there are websites and apps that may be helpful for you.
FindMeGlutenFree – A website that searches for gluten-free restaurants around the US.
HappyCow-This app helps find vegan and vegetarian restaurants near you.
Zomato-Use search filters in this app to find healthy restaurants near you.
These days “There’s an app for that.”
TRY THESE STRATEGIES WHEN DINING OUT…
- Review the menu before you go. You can find the menus for most restaurants online. Make a a plan for your meal ahead of time. This will help you avoid unhealthy choices when you arrive at the restaurant.
- Drink water before you leave for the restaurant and during the meal.
- Enjoy a healthy snack before you leave so you’re not ravenous when you arrive.
- Order sauces and dressings on the side.
- Ask the server for healthier swaps such as vegetables instead of french fries.
- Set aside half of your dinner to take back to your hotel mini-fridge for another day or order one entree for two people. Most serving sizes at restaurants are enough for two people.
ENJOY HOW GREAT YOU FEEL WHEN MAKING HEALTHY CHOICES…
If you’re sticking to your plan and feeling great, success breeds more success.
WHEN YOU VEER OFF COURSE OR JUST WANT TO INDULGE, ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE AND START FRESH…
Vacations and holidays on the road are a great time to try new local foods and indulge in your favorite “not so healthy” foods. If you’re following a healthy diet most of the time, little indulgences here and there should be enjoyed.
Travelling often comes with unnecessary junk food that can derail your healthy lifestyle. Planning ahead and being prepared can be simple and help keep your health goals on track even when you’re out and about!