Around the holidays every year, people travel a lot. Whether to visit family, escape the colder months to migrate somewhere warm, or traveling for work, it can feel as though your holiday trip is messing up more than your morning routine; it’s also messing up your diet.
Personally, since starting my biz, I have loved to travel. Now that I’ve gotten a few traveling trips under my belt, I’ve learned a lot about eating healthy while on vacation and on the road. Unsurprisingly, most of my tips come back to preparation and awareness.
Before I started consciously eating healthy while traveling, I would just eat whatever was available. Sometimes, I would be lucky and find a great smoothie place, but other times it meant taco bell or a mall sandwich store.
Between just eating whatever was around and severely under-hydrating, I always found myself feeling sluggish, irritable, and bloated by the second day of my vacation or work trip. No matter if you’re giving a company presentation or spending time with your family- no one has time to be feeling low-energy and foggy!
I knew that adopting a healthier lifestyle would also mean learning to eat healthier while traveling. Especially now, since starting my own online personal training and nutrition business, I love the freedom of traveling with my family. This means that I can’t be eating nonsense all vacation! This article is all of my best advice for busy people looking to stay healthy and feel their best while traveling.
- Healthy Travel Snacks
- Eating Healthy Staying in a Hotel
- Ways to Eat Healthier When Eating Out
- Tips for Eating Healthy on the Road
1 Healthy Travel Snacks
When traveling for work or vacation, you’ll want to have healthy snacks on hand for the arduous hours with only a McDonalds nearby. In the way of snacks, I find it best to choose high protein foods that are easy to eat with one hand (should it be necessary) and non-perishable (or, at least, long-lasting).
Here are some great ideas for healthy travel snacks for a car trip:
- Beef jerky
- Fruit & sliced veggies
- Protein shake
- Protein bars
**To see a complete list of healthy carbs, fats, and protein with simple meal ideas make sure to download my FREE Nutrition Guide : CLICK HERE When it comes to snacks, I always want to make sure that the added sugar is low and regularly focus on adequate fiber, water, and protein. This will help you stay full, keep the bloat at bay, and ensure that you still get all the nutrients you need while you’re away from the comfort of home.
2 Eating Healthy Staying in a Hotel
When staying in a hotel, it can be so easy to say, “screw a diet,” and put off eating healthy for the duration of your trip. More often than not, eating out for every meal will lead to digestive discomfort, bloating, low energy, and even poor sleep.
To make sure that you’re not inadvertently overindulging when staying in a hotel, there are some things that you can do.
- Research what’s around. Does your hotel room have a mini-fridge? Microwave? Room service? Is the closest restaurant a pizza shop, or is there a healthier option close by? When you know what amenities are in your room or near your accommodations, you can easily plan what you need.
- Stock up at the store. Most busy professionals rely on company lunches and restaurants to fuel them while traveling instead of utilizing the local grocery stores. Most rooms have mini-fridges that can hold food like hard-boiled eggs, salads, fruit, veggies, and non-dairy milk. Basing most of your diet on these foods while you travel will help keep you on track so that you’re not over-indulging by eating at restaurants.
- Prioritize protein. No matter what sort of trip you’re on, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. This will keep you full, feed your muscles, and ensure that you aren’t overeating other macro-nutrients (which is easy to do when you’re on the road).
When it comes to eating healthy while staying in a hotel, think about the 80/20 rule. You still want your diet to consist of 80% whole foods (foods that aren’t heavily processed) and 20% foods you enjoy. It simply means being prepared with the stuff you need and indulging in the food that’s convenient and otherwise satisfying.
3 How to Eat Healthier When Eating Out
Look, I know that eating out is a part of traveling, likely a part that you don’t want to miss out on or give up. Eating out is socializing with colleagues, having drinks with friends, or making memories with family. You don’t have to worry about eating healthy every single meal (see the 80/20 rule above) but eating healthy while you’re eating out doesn’t have to mean deprivation or starvation.
Ways to eat healthier when eating out:
- Get in your greens. I start most of my meals at restaurants with a salad. This ensures I get in a serving of greens; it fills me up a little, so I don’t overeat other macro-nutrients and helps my digestive system continue to feel good.
- Get the sauce on the side. Most restaurants over-serve on the sauces (which naturally makes sense- this is where the flavor is!). Instead of getting your meal smothered in sauce, order the sauces on the side to dip your food in, which will ultimately mean fewer calories.
- Portion control yourself. Most restaurants give portions of carbs and fat that are double what most people need to be eating each meal. Instead of waiting for the restaurant to bring your plate over before portioning your food, ask them to box half before serving it. This way, you can take your time eating what’s in front of you, and if you still want more when you’re done, you can eat whatever you have saved!
- Double up on protein. I said it once, and I’ll repeat it, protein is what restaurants will always serve the least of. It’s the most expensive part of a plate of food. If you can afford to, ask your server for a double portion of protein (or get added protein on your salad) so that you can be sure that your meal leaves you full and satisfied.
When eating out, it’s essential to be aware of your plate and what you’re eating. If you’re struggling to make a healthy choice, allow yourself one area of each meal to indulge in. For example, if I eat out at dinner, my indulgence may be wine or a creamy sauce or dessert, but I wouldn’t have all three in a single sitting.
4 Tips for Eating Healthy on the Road
Now, if all of this sounds overwhelming, it’s okay to focus on the basics. Here are my 5 ultimate tips for eating healthy on the road:
- Drink plenty of water. Water will help flush out extra sodium and keep you full and keep you energized. Traveling makes you puffy, sodium in food at restaurants will keep you bloated, and fewer veggies will clog up your system.
- Prioritize protein. When traveling, protein is the hardest macronutrient to come by. By planning ahead, you will ensure that you’re getting enough protein to keep you full; it will also help you save money by not over-spending in an attempt to get full from empty carbs and fat.
- Keep your snacks handy. There is nothing worse than trip delays causing hangry-ness. My favorite protein, whole food snacks are: Bobo Protein Bars (a minimally processed/ limited ingredient vegan protein bar), Beef Jerky (look for low/no sugar), Huel Vegan Protein Powder, Watermelon, and Pre-Made Chicken sandwiches . No matter how your vacation or trip went, get right back on track. Listen, you probably won’t have a week of perfect eating while on vacation, and that is totally okay! Know that indulgence is likely part of traveling, whether for work or fun. At the end of the day, what you do the other 350 days of the year is paramount to your health. As soon as you get home from your trip, get right back on track by eating your veggies and hitting your protein goals without the guilt.
Working on all of these different aspects of my traveling and nutrition has been challenging but rewarding. I don’t feel the need to restrict while I’m on vacation and, instead, focus on prioritizing the foods that will help me feel my best for most of the trip.
I don’t have to fight against bloat, indigestion, or brain fog from switching up my diet too much. I have more energy which means I get work done and schedule more activities with my family. Finally, I have the flexibility to enjoy the food I want on vacation without guilt because I know that 80% of the food I’m eating is nutrient-dense and packed with protein, so when I do indulge, I don’t feel guilty about it.
Eating healthy while traveling also makes it easy to get right back on track when you get home!
If you’re interested in getting a personalized nutrition strategy for vacations, traveling, or just your regular, busy life, book a call with me by CLICKING HERE so we can get started on your personalized nutrition plan!
Remember to #staynourished, and I’ll see the next blog post.