If you travel nearly as much as I do, you know that eating healthy while traveling isn’t always easy. It’s tempting to pick up something in a rush like a pre-made sandwich or large vanilla macchiato but often these contain hidden health saboteurs that can knock any good diet off its tracks fast. Not only that, but discerning what’s healthy from what’s not can be especially tricky if there are no labels. This week I’m sharing my favorite go-to snacks and meal options when taking a plane, train or automobile!
Why It’s So Hard to Eat Healthy While Traveling
Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes – but gaining weight isn’t. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fall into the overeating trap when on the road. Even if you don’t overeat, it’s also easy to pick options that seem waistline-friendly but contain hidden unhealthy fats, sugars or processed carbohydrates.
Frequenting airports also means convenient food at your fingertips. Though there are lots of healthy options hidden in with the more common choices, it’s not always easy to buy what’s best when you are running to catch a plane or forgot to pack a snack – and you’re left with whatever they give you in-flight.
That being said, there are lots of ways to stay on track with your nutritional goals while traveling for work or play. With the right know-how you can face any fried food pub or sugar-loaded cafe with ease.
6 Tips to Eating Healthy While Traveling
1. Check Your Mindset
This is by far the most important factor. That common phrase “it’s mind over matter” couldn’t be more applicable! So many of us drop our eating healthy habits when we leave the comforts and routines of home. Whether you are traveling for work or taking that long-needed vacation, many of us go into “vacation brain” as soon as we reach the airport. Indulging in sugary treats, a calorie-laden customized coffee or a basket of french fries before take-off seems justified… until you start making concessions at every meal.
Setting the conscious intention to choose healthy meal options before you leave the house, and everyday you are away from home, sets you up for success!
2. Pack Your Own Snacks
Almonds, orange slices, dried fruits…these are all great and easy snacks to carry on-board to avoid the salt-laden treats they plan on providing. Skip the soda and grab a water after moving through security. It’s easiest to let our nutrition slip when we are feeling hungry and have nothing with us. That’s when reaching for something easy and often unhealthy wins! Avoid any unhealthy food hangovers by stocking up beforehand.
3. When In Doubt, Drink H2O
Already overindulged? Water works wonders by flushing the system and resetting your cravings. Plus, most of us are actually dehydrated but think we are hungry instead. When we are reaching for another potato chip we should be reaching for a cup of water. I’d recommend drinking an extra liter of water whenever you are flying to ward off any dehydration side effects.
4. Count Calories
If there aren’t any labels, look for calorie information. These days most companies are required to at least list the amount of calories in food or beverages, some even include fat and sugar amounts. If you aren’t sure what to order, take a peek at the nutritional printout and take note of what can fill you up the healthiest way possible. Avoid lots of sugar or fat, as well as most white breads and pastries; you’ll want the most nutritionally dense options with the least amount of calories.
5. There’s An App for That
Take the guessing out and have an app like InBloom or Clean Plates do the work for you! These apps find nearby restaurants based on your dietary preferences. Whether you’re in Los Angeles for the week or Austin for the weekend, these apps can help you stick to your eating goals with ease.
6. Keep It Simple
Skip the overly customized coffee and stick with a simple coffee instead. Avoid condiments (think ketchup and mayo). Opt for healthy fats (avocado or olive oil) and ditch saturated varieties (basically anything fried). Ask for grilled meat instead of beer battered and don’t forget to order a side salad (dressing on the side). Though we all love to indulge once in awhile, it’s best to keep your orders simple for best success.
Your Turn: what’s your favorite way to eat healthy while traveling? Share below!