Eating Healthy While Traveling: A Traveler’s Guide to Staying Lean

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Being away from home for work or fun can be exciting, but it also means you don’t have access to the best food choices all the time. It is possible to eat healthy though even when you aren’t in your kitchen. It will take some planning but it can be done!

You may be on a different schedule and in a different time zone, but don’t go hungry. Pay attention to signals. You can eat several smaller meals when you are on the go or add in some extra snacks when you don’t have time to sit down and eat a meal. Try to avoid fast food as they don’t have too many healthy options available. 

Bring along a reusable water bottle for each traveler. It is easy to refill them at various locations. It will cost less than buying bottles for everyone when you stop. Plus, it is a good way to do your part to reduce waste in the environment. 

Here are 7 rules for eating healthy while traveling. Let’s dive right in!

1. Pack a Cooler

When you travel by car, you can take along more food items than if you fly. Pack a cooler with drinks, lean meats, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables. Find spots along the route you travel to enjoy the scenery and a picnic. When you travel with your family, take along some healthy but fun items for the kids. 

Squeezable pouches of yogurt and apple sauce can be easy to eat when you stop or in the car. Cut up fruit before you leave home and put it into bags for to enjoy throughout the day. The bite-sized pieces will be easier for them to handle while traveling.

2. Pack Snacks

Put some healthy snacks in your bag to take along with you. Nuts, beef jerky, and other items are healthy for you. They will take the edge off your hunger. It will reduce the chances of you reaching for something full of sugar or calories due to convenience when you are on the go.  When you grab snacks at the airport or a convenient store, look for those that are good for you.

Many locations have fresh fruit or vegetable snack packs. Crackers and peanut butter can give you some extra protein. Try to avoid unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, and donuts. They are easy to find but don’t offer much nutritional value. Buying snacks while traveling can be expensive. Try to take along your own to cut down on the cost.

If you must buy them out of town, try to shop at a grocery store where prices are lower than a convenience store. Avoid hotel lobbies too as the markup on the items tends to be high. Eating healthy when you travel doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. Paying for snacks on an airplane is usually overpriced too.

3. Get Your Greens

Consume plenty of greens when you travel. Getting a good salad at a restaurant or from room service is easy. Watch out for the extras with the salad though. Some of the dressing options are full of sugar and calories. This can change the overall value you get from eating such a food choice. Opt for a salad as a meal or as a side to your main dish.

Consume some type of vegetables every time you eat a meal when you travel. Eat more of the vegetables on your plate and less of the potatoes and other sides high in carbs. You will still feel full and satisfied when you finish. Yet you will avoid the extra calories and the carbs being stored as fat. Try to eat plenty of protein and good fats at your meals to keep energy levels up

Also consider traveling with a supergreens supplement as insurance!

4. Do Your Homework

Do your homework in advance before you travel. This allows you to see what is offered around there. Many of the restaurants have their menus online. Look at the healthier options they offer. Make sure you pay attention to portion control. Often, restaurant portions are significantly more than what we serve at home.

Consider getting a child’s plate or a lunch portion rather than a dinner portion. Don’t be shy about asking for a box to take some of the food with you. If you travel with others, consider sharing entrees to cut down on how much is wasted if you can’t take it with you. Don’t feel obligated to eat all they put on your plate! 

Plan when you can. If you know your dinner will be a luxury meal with plenty of food, try to eat lighter earlier in the day. You don’t want to be hungry but you don’t want to overeat either. Doing so allows you to show up for dinner hungry and to enjoy it without feeling guilty. If you travel to a new country, you may not know what food choices they offer.

Try to conduct some research before you go. Understand the common dishes they offer and the ingredients found in them. Ask questions before you order food too. When you have the option for sides with your main meal, choose items that are good for you rather than unhealthy carbs. For example, don’t fill up on bread! Ditch it altogether.

5. Watch the Empty Calories

Be mindful of empty calories when you travel. While you may like to try new foods, don’t eat several large meals per day. Drink plenty of water rather than sugary drinks or lattes. Don’t overlook the calories in alcoholic beverages too. Treat yourself to dessert now and then but not every night. Some of those desserts have as many calories as an entrée!

Be aware of what you put into your body when you travel. Consume food that gives you energy. Otherwise, you may be tired and sluggish throughout the day. If you have a packed agenda, enough energy to enjoy it all is essential. The temperatures can vary from place to place. Increasing your intake of water reduces the risk of dehydration.

6. Try Intermittent Fasting

Try intermittent fasting to see if it helps you to eat less when you travel. This concept involves keeping all of your eating within a certain timeframe. For example, don’t eat between 8 pm and 8 am.  This pattern of eating helps your body to digest the food you already consumed. It also prevents snacking in the evenings when you are relaxing at your accommodations.

Find the best pattern of time that works for you. Skipping breakfast and eating lunch and dinner works well for many individuals. If you are one that needs to eat when you get up though, consider not eating after 6 pm. This gives you a longer period of time to fast but still consume some breakfast when you get it. Try to go for a period of 16 hours without food if possible. 

Fasting helps your body to feel better due to the changes taking place. HGH levels are higher with fasting. This helps to boost metabolism, allowing more calories to be burned when you move. It can also help to regular insulin levels. Avoid spikes and dips in insulin due to what you eat to feel your best. 

The process of intermittent fasting allows cells to heal and to regenerate. During this process, old cells are going to use up the older protein in them as fuel. Some experts believe this method of eating helps boost the immune system. Staying healthy when you travel is important.  Overeating can result in bloating and discomfort. Eating unhealthy foods can cause heartburn and other digestion issues.

7. Stay in Accommodations with a Kitchenette

If your travel plans keep you from home for an extended time, consider accommodations with a kitchenette. Depending on where you stay, you may get a full kitchen. This allows you to store fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. You can shop for them locally or you can look into delivery options.

If you have a full kitchen, you can cook many of your meals. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to do so. This will save you money and it helps you to eat food which is good for you. Most of these kitchenettes have some basic cooking items for you to use during your stay. Preparing some or all of your own meals is an excellent option for eating healthy while traveling.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling and Health

There are a few questions commonly asked when it comes to eating healthy while traveling. They include:

How can I eat healthy while flying? 

Try to eat at home before you go to the airport. If you have a short flight you can eat when you land and get to your accommodations. For a long flight, they may include a meal for you. Find out what will be served and select a healthy choice. Avoid buying food from their in-flight menu as it is expensive.  Intermittent fasting may be a good choice when you fly. Make sure you consume plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated. 

What is the best food to bring on a plane? 

Bring some food items with you for the flight in your bag. Make sure you adhere to guidelines so the items aren’t confiscated when you go through security. Avoid items that need to be refrigerated. You don’t want to take a risk of illness due to the spoiling before you consume them. 

Bring along food that is high in protein and low in carbs. This will fill you up for a longer period of time. It also allows you to get full on less. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a good choice. Bring along your own from home or find a good deal on them at a retailer in the airport close to your gate.

Dried food is a good idea and it will stay good for days. Consider granola bars or cereal bars, but read the labels on them. Not all of them are good for you. They can contain lots of goodies that pack in calories and sugar. 

How can I eat healthy on a budget while traveling? 

It is possible to eat healthy when you travel but still stay within a budget. Buying food items to consume or cook in your accommodations is cheaper than dining out for your meals. Intermittent fasting allows you to skip meals and save some money. Many accommodations serve breakfast in the mornings included in your cost to stay there.

Lunch menu items often cost less than dinner prices. Go to a restaurant earlier and enjoy your meal while it is less expensive. You can avoid the dinner crowd that way too. Bring along packaged food items in your luggage rather than buying them on the road. If you do need to purchase them, go to a grocery store or find a store to deliver to your location.

Order water when you dine out. Not only is it good for you, but there is no charge for it. Other drinks including coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol can add up fast. It can put a dent in your budget for food on your trips.

Related: Best Travel Workout Equipment

A Final Word from Energetic Lifestyle

Eating differently when you travel is common. It can be an opportunity to try new foods and to indulge a bit. To help offset the changes, be mindful of ways to burn calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to a given location if possible rather than taking a vehicle. If your accommodations offer a gym, spend a bit of time in there working out each day. Or, bring along some portable workout equipment!

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t eat healthy every day when you travel. Get back on track the following day and move forward. Pay attention to triggers that get in your way of eating well when you are away from home. Work hard to implement options that help you avoid those problems down the road. You will feel better physically and mentally when you eat food that is good for you. 

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Energetic Lifestyle Team

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  • Mark says:

    Thanks for these tips! I could really use them. These are really good healthy meals and cheap!

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