Eating healthy when you’re traveling can be a challenge. Restaurant and Fast Food meals, desserts, and processed foods can take a toll on your health and your waistline. And if you are on a specialized diet or have dietary restrictions, it’s even more difficult. There are ways, however, to stay on your diet, eat healthily, and still enjoy delicious foods on your vacation.
Traveling shouldn’t keep you from eating healthy foods, nor should it make you feel deprived or hungry. With a little planning before your trip, you can find delicious healthy options that will suit your dietary needs.
Here are Some Tips I’ve Discovered on Eating Healthy When Traveling
Plan Ahead – Before you leave home, look online for restaurants along your route that cater to your specific, dietary needs. If possible, skip the fast food restaurants. Even their “healthy options” are rarely that healthy. Instead, look for local restaurants that focus on healthy food. Words like Organic, Farm to Table, Vegetarian are all clues that the restaurant will have options that suit your dietary needs.
Check the online menus of restaurants. Look for meals on their menu that you can eat and check to see if they include nutritional data on their website. Many chain restaurants will have that information available online.
Read the online customer reviews of the restaurant. You can learn a lot about the food and service of a restaurant from the comments of their customers.
The more dietary restrictions you have, the more difficult it can be to find restaurants that suit your needs. That’s why it is a good idea to research and plan ahead of time what and where you will eat on your trip.
When you visit a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients in the food and the way it’s prepared. Ask for substitutions or exclusions if needed.
I will admit this is difficult for me to do and something I am working on. I hate to ask these questions. However, it’s medically necessary for me now, so I do it. As I become more assertive in this area, I’m amazed how many restaurants are accommodating to their diner’s dietary needs.
Bring your food with you – One way to ensure you eat good-for-you foods while traveling is to bring your prepared food with you. It’s added time and hassle when preparing for a trip but can make life easier when its time to eat. You will know you are eating the nutritional foods you should eat without any hidden ingredients. Plus it saves you money on your vacation expenses.
When my husband and I travel, we do a combination of the two suggestions above. We search for healthy restaurants along the way and keep a cooler filled with foods we can eat for other meals. We usually will eat one meal a day at a restaurant, and the remaining meals, we eat the foods we bring with us.
Not sure what to take with you? Here are some food choices that are ideal for travel and can be combined to create a variety of light meals and snacks.
Foods that are Good for Road Trips
- Turkey Breast cut into cubes or Deli Meats that are free of Nitrates/Nitrites
- Cubes or Slices of Cheese
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Sliced Vegetables
- Pickles and Olives
- Boiled Eggs
- Egg Salad
- Chicken Salad
- Salad in a Jar
- Peanut Butter and Nut Butters
- Granola or Trail Mix
- Protein Bars
- Beef Jerky – Organic and free of Nitrates
- Small Containers of Yogurt
How We Pack Our Food for Trips
My husband and I recently found the easiest way for us to pack our meals for trips is to divide the food into individual meal prep containers.
What I like about the individual containers is we don’t have to search for all the different foods we want to eat. Instead, we grab just the prepackaged meal we want. It makes clean-up much easier too.
For now, we are using disposable containers but are looking into purchasing reusable ones. We are trying out different sizes now to see which ones fit best for our meal choices and in our cooler.
We fill a couple of resealable freezer bags, about halfway full of ice. We add them to the cooler to keep the food chilled, and to use for ice in our drinks. Then, we restock the ice bags when we get to the hotel.
We bring along enough food for two to three days at a time. If we are traveling for more than that time, we stop at a grocery store and purchase more foods to create additional prepackaged meals.
Traveling shouldn’t mean you don’t eat healthy foods, nor should you feel deprived or hungry. By planning ahead, you can choose delicious, healthy meal options that will suit your dietary likes and needs.
Have you learned any special tips for eating healthy when traveling? Please share them in the comments below.
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And while you’re here, check out these other posts for more tips on making travel easier and more enjoyable.