Without a doubt, the struggle is real. Traveling usually means a mess of unpredictable schedules and dietary temptations. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you’re out of your normal routine. The good news? If you can make healthy food decisions at home, you can do it while traveling.
The secret isn’t really a secret after all. It’s all about pre-planning and having a healthy mindset. While there are simple yet effective tips that will help you eat healthy while traveling, remember not to stress out over food imperfection. To help you along, read on for six simple tips to help you eat healthy while traveling.
1. Plan ahead with a healthy mindset
You know the saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?”Part of the trick is to decide ahead of time what you will and won’t compromise on. You’re working so hard to get healthy, now you want to stay healthy.
Think about lodging. Consider booking where you’ll have a small kitchen so you can eat in at times or at least a hotel room with a mini fridge. If you’re road-tripping, take a cooler with ice packs. If flying, take a reusable water bottle or coffee mug to help you make better beverage choices. Utilize local food markets and grocery stores for healthy options at your destination. No matter how you travel — water, land, or sky — always pack healthy snacks. The bottom line? Plan ahead for success.
2. Splurge strategically
Every location has that one famous food you have to try. How about microbrew beer in Denver? Beignets in New Orleans? Deep dish pizza in Chicago? Pasta in Italy? Shepherd’s pie in Ireland? Lobster on the coast? Over-indulging takes a toll on your mood and energy, and how you’ll feel about yourself when you get home. So how do we find a balance?
By all means indulge yourself but do so in moderation like you would anything else. Choose one meal each day (or one day during your trip) when you’re going to taste all of the local fare, then make healthier food choices the rest of the time. You can still dabble in local cuisine but be strategic. Have that chowder but choose a cup. Try the Texas BBQ, but in a small tasting portion. Enjoy every bite, but don’t overdo it. At the end of the day, it’s all too easy to give in to every single temptation.
Be mindful of portion sizes. The average restaurant meal packs over 1,200+ calories and the average alcoholic drink can easily top 500 calories. Split a large entrée with your travel buddy or take half of it with you for later. Choose lower calorie drinks. Explore the local culture but stick with reasonable portions and lighter drink options.
3. Always pack healthy snacks
To keep your mind and body humming, pack healthy snacks. Some examples are: almonds, raw vegetables and hummus, yogurt, berries, fresh or dried fruit, and hard-boiled eggs. No matter what mode of transportation you use, you can always plan for snacks to avoid getting overly hungry.
Drink lots of water. Your body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh, and help you eat less. It’ll also help you avoid travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and junk-food cravings. To help you choose what to pack for snacks, find the top travel snack reviews from the Best Review Guide.
4. Don’t skip breakfast
When you’re on a busy travel schedule or simply sleeping late, skipping breakfast can be tempting, but it can result in being uncontrollably ravenous later. Smart breakfast choices will give you energy and will set your pace for the day. Choose healthy options with protein for that morning boost we all need.
5. Remember you are the customer
When eating out, don’t be afraid to ask for needed modifications. Whether you have a food allergy or you want a double portion of veggies instead of fries, speak up. If it’s a good restaurant, they’ll work to please you and your dietary preferences.
Wherever you decide to eat, focus on meals that incorporate healthy components like fresh vegetables and lean proteins. Eating the right amount of complete protein for your weight and activity level stabilizes blood sugar (preventing energy lags), enhances concentration, and keeps you lean and strong.
6. Get active
When you’re on vacation, all that activity can add up so count it as such. Strategically plan to balance your active time with some relaxing time. But if you’re traveling for business (or lounging every day on the beach) you may be sitting much of the time. Get out and take a walk or hike. Utilize the hotel gym. Go swimming. For easy ways to slide in some simple workouts, check out these 5 Travel Workouts to balance your food splurges with your activity.
You’ve got the tips you need, so now it’s time to plan to eat healthy while traveling. Remember, if you do fall off the proverbial health food wagon and fall face first into the calorie packed, oh-so-tasty local cuisine, don’t worry about it. Resist the urge to make yourself crazy by counting every calorie, or beat yourself up if you don’t adhere to your typical regimen. Plan ahead to reduce stress and decide to make healthy choices where you can. Most of all, enjoy your trip.
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