I recently took a road trip to attend a funeral 9 hours away. It got me thinking, what do others do when they travel to stick to their healthy eating? Here are the 3 keys I make sure I do before I travel, whether by car or bus. It allows me not to eat too much junk, then I feel my best while I am away from home.
3 Keys to Healthy Eating While Traveling
Prep Before You Go
Find a Hotel That Has a Fridge Do your research when you are booking your hotel. What will make it easier for you to eat healthy? Having a fridge in your room, so you can keep food cool will help. You can store fruit, cheese and even health meats in your fridge to have at the ready. Munchies happen a lot when I am out of my normal routine, so if I am going to snack, I want to have healthy, perishable food items handy.
Search for Health Food Stores or Grocery Store Near Where You are Staying When you know where the nearest health food store is, you don’t have to take a lot of food with you. A health food store or grocery store is usually one of my first stops when I get to my destination. Most health food stores can be a destination and fun to visit because of their atmosphere. If you can’t find a health food store, at least find the nearest grocery store. You can still purchase relatively healthy, easy foods to have with you.
Search for Restaurants in City on Your Route and Where You are Staying When you are hungry and want to stop it is rare that a gas station will have anything healthy, although I did see apples, bananas, and cheese. I even found a healthy coconut water. Know where the restaurants are and plan your stops to eat at a restaurant that has healthier choices. Many food co-ops have delis where you can find amazing local food and produce to enjoy for a healthy eating meal.
Edited: For my detailed tips for preparation, check out Mikki’s post, “How to Eat Healthy While Traveling”.
Take Food With You
Get a Travel Cooler or insulated Bag Always take a cooler hat way you can take perishable foods with you. Freeze a couple of water bottles to help keep the rest of the food cool. There are many cute insulated bags to purchase if you want to look stylish.
Pack Healthy Snacks When you are on the go, it seems too easy to grab a candy bar or soda, but don’t. Those will just affect your blood sugar levels, and you won’t feel as good. They even promote bloating. Instead, think about what you normally snack on. Things I like to take are fruit (bananas, apples, grapes, and even blueberries in a container), vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, beans, cauliflower, peppers), grass fed beef jerky, nuts in small bags, coconut flakes, dried mulberries, sunflower seeds, energy balls, and protein bars. Travel always makes me feel munchy. Also, when you stop at a rest area, it is a perfect time to stretch and have a small snack.
Take Water Bottle and Extra Water You never know what type of water you will find. Most of the time I can’t stand the taste, let alone what chemicals are in the water. I take filtered or spring water in large containers along with glass water bottles that I can refill when I stop. I can also have it by my bed to drink when I wake. Remember to stick with water unless you find a store that sells Kombucha, Kevita or Coconut Milk. Don’t forget to pay attention to the ingredients. Some of the bottled brands contain high levels of sugars and extra additives.
Pack Tea and Large Mug I love to relax with a cup of tea. I used to just drink the tea that was in the hotel room. It never fails to be caffeinated and not a very good quality. Also, the cups are typically small. I like to make a 14-ounce cup of tea. So I never fail to take tea bags and my mug. It allows me to relax after a long day. Plus I can make my hot breakfast in it in the morning.
Pack a Healthy Breakfast Healthy eating starts in the morning. The final thing I make sure I take is my breakfast. Many hotels have free breakfast, but it usually is all carbs. The yogurt is high sugar. Sometimes you can find hard-boiled eggs and fruit, but that isn’t enough to keep me satisfied. Or breakfasts out can be also loaded with high carbs and bad fats. Now I take small bags with a half a cup of Hot and Nutty Cereal. Find the recipe on Carrie Brown’s sites. Most hotels have hot water available. I just let it soak for about 20 minutes in my mug. Not as cooked as I like at home, but it is still hot, tasty and satisfying.
Take Activated Charcoal This isn’t healthy eating, but an important item to pack. Sometimes no matter how much you plan, you may end up eating foods you normally don’t eat. It can cause stomach distress. I always take activated charcoal to help bind the toxins and move them out of my body quicker.
Ask For What You Need at Restaurants.
Ask Yourself, What is the Healthiest Thing I Can Eat to Nourish My Body Look through the menu while asking what is the best way to nourish yourself at this restaurant. Remember that your body will be out of its normal routine when traveling. Many people get constipated. Don’t add to it by eating poorly. Think, “I want to nourish my body when I eat this meal.” It will help you choose wisely.
Skip the Appetizer Even if It is Free Many sit down restaurants offer free bread, popcorn or other high carb item. Ask them not to bring it. The appetizer menu is usually loaded with simple carbs and unhealthy items. Skip order from that section of the menu.
When You are at a Restaurant Ask for Exactly What You Want. Most people think they have to order off the menu. You don’t’ have to. Almost all restaurants are willing to make substitutions. Ask what they make things out of or cook them in. I find that most waitstaff are more than willing to help you enjoy your meal. If you can’t find an entrée that works for you, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. I have been known to just say, “I want a 1/4 pound hamburger, no bun, lettuce, tomato and a half an avocado, with two side veggies.” Sometimes I have to pay just a little more, but a dollar or two is worth it to me. I have even be known to just order healthy sides. Oh, one last note. You probably will feel funny the first couple of times you do it, but it gets easier. I usually make a joke about me being a difficult customer and from North Dakota. And don’t forget to leave a good tip when the wait person goes out of their way for you.
Ask for Two Vegetable Sides As I mentioned above, don’t be afraid to ask for two sides of healthy vegetables. At home, I will eat veggies with grass-fed butter. Most restaurants don’t have grass-fed butter. I will ask for butter anyway. My healthy eating isn’t perfect, but I figure that is still better than what I could be eating.
If It Won’t Derail You, Allow Yourself a Splurge, but only if it is something you absolutely will enjoy. I truly love cheesecake, but I rarely eat it. However, if I am on a trip I will allow myself to eat a slice. I usually share it with someone. But I only do that if it is a really good restaurant known for good cheesecake that I will love. I am not going to waste my splurge on a bad cheesecake. What is it that you love to eat, but isn’t good for you? Make sure it is something you love. Order it and enjoy.
I would love to hear what you do in order to eat healthy while traveling. What do you do to prep, take with, and order at restaurants. Tell me in the comments, what did I miss?
If you aren’t a member of Savvy Circle, a private Facebook group for women over 40, why aren’t you? Find more tips for healthy eating, sleep, movement and self-care.