How to Eat Healthy When Traveling (aka How to Avoid Crappy Food)
Next week is a big travel week for a lot of us in the USA. Thanksgiving may mean a simple road-trip that is only a couple of hours to flying across country to see family and friends. Traveling poses a challenge for anyone who is trying to eat healthy. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, eating healthy is HARD when you are not able to stick to your normal routine.
Between airport delays, being dependent on someone else organizing meals or eating at restaurants that are not focused on healthy eating, it can be exhausting trying to find good, healthy food to eat. This can cause us to cave in and eat something that we normally don't eat only to find out it doesn't agree with us. Causing a whole other host of issues for us when we are off our normal routine.
So how can we travel and still eat healthy? Below I share 5 tips that you can follow to stay on track with your healthy routine.
TIP #1 CARRY HEALTHY SNACKS
Ok - you may be thinking - duh - but I can't tell you how many times a healthy snack has saved me until I can find real food. There are prepackaged nut packs, dried fruit & nut packs, as well as protein bars that travel well. It does require some planning to pack healthy snacks. You may have to buy them prior to traveling and then packing them appropriately so airport security doesn't confiscate them. A couple of recommendations that I really like are Fast Bar, Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bar and Clif Bar Whole Lotta Bars.
TIP #2 LOOK FOR HEALTHY AIRPORT OPTIONS
Stuck with a lay-over or a delay? This is when I start wandering around the airport in search of something healthy. Sometimes, there is an Asian food stand or even a burger place that have a veggie burger in the food court.
Both of these can be healthier options when you don't have a choice but to eat in the airport. I look to load up on veggies and gluten-free options. You may also be able to find a salad place that allows you to pick your own toppings so you can avoid high calorie non-nutritious ingredients.
Recently, I was in Midway Chicago airport on a lay-over and I found a veggie burger and I added avocado on top. It was really good! Start wandering the airport (after you found your gate) if you are stuck at the airport. You may be surprised with some of the options you can find.
TIP #3 ASK FOR HEALTHY OPTIONS
Maybe you are plant-based or Keto or gluten-free or follow any number of different eating options. Make sure you tell whoever you are traveling with or going to see how you eat. It isn't rude to tell them ahead of time. In fact, most hosts like to know so they can either make sure there is an option that you can eat or they can tell you what is on the menu so you can make or buy your own options to bring with you.
Whenever I go on a business trip, whoever the organizer is, I always ask for vegetarian options. I follow a plant-based lifestyle. By asking for vegetarian options it helps ensure that I will have something healthy to eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner. You'd be amazed how many times the "non-vegetarians" often go for the vegetarian options as well.
TIP #4 LOOK FOR HEALTHY DRINKS
Sometimes you may not want something to eat but you know you need to stay hydrated. There are so many healthy drinks available now and I was pleasantly surprised to find healthy options in the airport. KEVITA Kombucha and Honest Tea are some of my favorite beverages to get at the airport if I need something more than water.
Not only does buying healthy drinks help me stay on track with my routine but there are other benefits when you are mingling with a lot of germs in a very public place. Plus there are health benefits when drinking these better for you drinks.
For example, Kombucha is widely known for it's ability to help keep your digestive system on track, but it also provides immune system support and can boost your energy. (Source: WideOpenEats) When I see Honest Tea, I look for the green tea since green tea promotes a healthy metabolism and promotes calm and relaxation. Who couldn't use some calm when traveling?
TIP #5 LOOK FOR SMALL PORTIONS
What if you can't find a healthy meal and you are really hungry? My next tip is to find something to eat that is a small portion. Instead of ordering a huge burger with fries, maybe sliders are an option? Or maybe you can get an appetizer size of a meal? Smaller portions can help reduce the impact of the meal you may have to eat simply because there isn't another option around.
If you can't find a smaller portion, ask your travel buddy if they want to split a meal. I am not shy about is trying to split a meal with someone - even if I am at a business dinner. You'd be amazed how many times someone else is not looking forward to a BIG meal that they will never finish. Plus, sharing meals helps avoid food waste. Most of the times when I am traveling I do not have a place to take left-overs. I always feel really bad about not finishing the meal.
I hope the above tips inspire you to think about how to eat healthy when traveling. If you try any of the above, leave me a comment below on what worked and did not work for you. I love hearing your feedback and experiences with the tips I share.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist helping people like you create healthy habits that fit within their lifestyle.
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