Eating healthy while traveling isn’t as difficult as you might think. With a little pre-planning, you can not only eat healthier while you’re on vacation, but also feel better and have more energy to enjoy your time away.
Here are five tips we’ve used to eat healthy (and lose a combined 200+ pounds) while traveling.
You can read more about our healthy living and weight loss journey HERE.
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re on vacation. Pack a reusable water bottle with you and fill it regularly to stay hydrated throughout your vacation. If you’re not hydrated, you may think you’re hungry when you’re really just dehydrated. If you’re going to be using a water bottle for multiple days, be sure to also bring along a little bit of dish soap to wash it out.
Pack lots of snacks
Our go-to travel snacks include nuts, grapes, apples, bananas, Halo oranges, raw vegetables, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, berries, sliced turkey and pita bread. By having healthy snacks packed, you’ll avoid grabbing things like chips and candy bars when you’re on the go.
Healthy snacks will also fuel you between meals. We often eat a piece of fruit right before going out to eat so we’re not as hungry and avoid overeating.
Plan ahead for eating healthy while traveling
Just as you plan for your transportation and lodging on vacation, plan some of your meals. If you’re going to be going out to eat, take a look at the restaurant menu online ahead of time. Narrow your options before you go and stick to your plan for eating healthy while traveling.
Also, if you’re traveling with a group, volunteer to place your order first. If everyone else is ordering less healthy options, you might also be inclined to do the same. By ordering first, you don’t have to worry about that social pressure.
Watch your portions and stick to menu items that are steamed, grilled, or baked. Avoid foods that are sauteéd, fried, or covered in cheese.
Beware of salads
Salads can often be some of the highest-calorie items on the menu – seriously. Before ordering a salad, be sure to see what’s on it. Add-ons like candied nuts, dried fruit, croutons, and high fat dressings can add hundreds of calories to what you thought was a low-cal salad entrée. Salads like this one we found in Rochester, Minn., with lean meats, fresh fruit, and a variety of greens are usually a better choice.
Ask for dressing to be served on the side and just dip your fork in it instead of pouring over your greens. Plain old vinegar also makes a flavorful dressing for few, if any, calories.
Remember the grocery store
It’s easy to forget when you’re traveling that there are other options to dining out. Most towns have grocery stores and we’ve made it a habit to check them out as soon as we get to town. We often stock up on a few breakfast items like low-fat Greek yogurt, berries, and fruit. We also pick up a few healthy snack items at the store and purchase large containers of filtered water (a gallon is often less than a dollar) to refill our water bottles.
You can also usually find some pre-packaged meals or sides for eating healthy while traveling. We’ve bought a pre-packaged salad at grocery store and had that with a thin crust pizza that we had delivered. Many stores also have a soup and salad bar.
A few more tips for staying healthy while traveling
Add more movement into your day – When you stop at rest areas, take a lap or two around the outside of the building. If staying in a hotel, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Maybe park far away in the parking lot. With just a little creativity, you can add tons of meaningful movement to your day.
Get plenty of rest – Make sure you plan enough sleep time into your day. When you are tired, your body often tries to compensate by consuming unneeded calories. Plus, it’s not fun to be tired while exploring new places.
Prioritize your favorite foods – It has helped us to loosely plan out our day of meals and prioritize what we each enjoy most. For instance, if we know that we want to indulge in the made-to-order chocolate chip cookies for dessert, we might skip the appetizer. If you choose the lasagna for your entrée, maybe have a lower-calorie broth based soup for an appetizer instead of the cheesy potato and bacon one. The key is to prioritize the foods you like most and enjoy them guilt-free!
What are your tips and tricks for eating healthy while traveling? Let us know in the comments below.