How To Eat Healthy While Traveling
Eating healthily while you’re on the road can be incredibly challenging. There are times when the only place to get food is a gas station or a fast food restaurant, and healthy options are virtually non-existent. However, with some planning ahead, you can stick to a nutritious diet - it just requires some strategy and a little bit of willpower to stay away from junk food. Here’s how to stay healthy while you are traveling for long periods of time.
Pack snacks before you leave.
If you have healthy snacks with you while you are in transit, you are going to be less likely to want to grab junk food from a gas station or airport kiosk. Although you can’t take liquids with you while flying, there’s no rule that says you can’t bring your own food as long as it’s solid - so take advantage of that. Fruit and granola are two tasty and easy snacks that are perfect to keep with you on the go, or you could make yourself a sandwich if you need something more substantial. Energy bars or chews are also very convenient and they’re packed with nutrients, so they’re always good to have handy. Those airport snacks can add up in cost very quickly, so packing your own ahead of time can actually help you save quite a bit of money.
Look for accommodations with a kitchen.
Another great way to stay healthy while traveling - and potentially save quite a bit of money - is to look for accommodations that have a small kitchen inside, or a refrigerator at the very least. Some hotel chains offer suites with this feature, but a more affordable way to find accommodations with a kitchen is often to search for rentals on sites like Airbnb or HomeAway. With a kitchen, you can go to a nearby grocery store and stock up on essentials, and then you can cook your favorite healthy meals instead of having to eat out at a restaurant every single time.
Explore local restaurants instead of fast-food chains.
Many people gravitate towards the familiarity of fast-food chains when traveling, but most of these chains use processed food that isn’t particularly nutritious. When you do have to eat out, try checking out locally owned options instead of fast food. These restaurants are likely to have a bigger selection of foods, and their menu items are likely to be more unique as well. If you want to make sure every restaurant you go to has healthy options, try looking up their menus online before your trip. If you are unsure about any ingredients in the dishes you are eating, you can always ask your waiter, who will likely be more than happy to point you towards the most nutritious items on the menu.
Take advantage of free hotel breakfast if you have it.
If you can’t score accommodations with a kitchen, you should at least look for options that provide a free continental breakfast at your hotel. These breakfast buffets usually have a decent amount of healthy options to choose from, like fruit salad, yogurt, toast, and scrambled eggs. It’s important that you don’t skip breakfast while you are traveling, even on busy days. Breakfast helps to kick-start your metabolism so your body can process food efficiently, so it’s very important for your overall health.
Drink lots of water and keep alcohol to a minimum.
If you want to beat random cravings while you’re traveling, make sure you’re drinking enough water. Water can help prevent frustrating cravings in the middle of the day, and it’s also crucial for preventing jet lag and keeping your immune system strong. The irregular schedule of traveling can make you more likely to get sick, so this is very important. Carrying a reusable bottle of water with you is a great tip to make sure you stay hydrated the entire time. You should also keep alcohol and other dehydrating drinks to a minimum, because they can also make you feel hungrier and tire you out faster.
Focus on fruits and vegetables.
Often the dietary requirement that gets most neglected when people travel is fruits and vegetables. These fresh foods can sometimes be difficult to get on the go, but it’s worth making an effort to find them. Luckily, an increasing number of convenience stores are now offering small packets of fruits and vegetables. Try to focus on getting all of the colors of the rainbow in your diet each day, and if you’re thinking about eating something unhealthy, see if there’s a dish that contains fruits and vegetables on the menu you could substitute it with.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
You want to avoid getting so hungry that you start binge eating to compensate. To prevent that ‘hangry’ feeling, it’s better to eat small meals and snacks throughout the day, instead of just three big meals. Of course, everyone’s metabolism is different, so you should do what feels the most natural for you. However, you will probably notice that you actually feel less hungry when you satisfy yourself with small, healthy snacks that you can carry around with you, like trail mix or a banana.
Look for healthy substitutes for your guilty pleasures.
Everyone has their own guilty pleasure foods, and when you’re on the go, it can feel very tempting to eat them whenever they’re available for a bit of familiarity. Instead, find some healthier alternatives you can look for. For example, if you always go for a burger, try switching to a lean meat by getting a chicken sandwich or a fish filet. If you love pasta, switching it out for rice can make a big difference, and you’ll still get that filling effect. If you’re always craving sweets, look for fruit salads and yogurt parfaits, as well as dark chocolate, which is actually fairly healthy. Making these small switches in your diet while traveling can dramatically lower the number of calories and unhealthy nutrients you are consuming.
Although it can be difficult to eat healthy while traveling, it gets easier if you plan ahead and always keep an eye out for healthy options. When you’re tempted to cave and order fast food, just remember that you’ll feel lighter and have more energy if you go for the healthier option.