How can I eat healthy while traveling?
This article was originally published in July 2014
Eating healthy while on the road, in a hotel, or at the airport is a challenge because of limited options at food courts and restaurants. But with some special planning and packing, eating healthy on the road can be done! Try to follow the same basic guidelines of an “everyday” healthy diet — eat breakfast, eat often throughout the day to prevent hunger attacks, and eat as much fruit and vegetables as you possibly can.
Instant oatmeal, granola, cold cereals, bagels, hard-boiled eggs, tea and hot chocolate all pack easily. Try to get some protein and fiber into each meal to keep you feeling full.
Eat often throughout the day
Nutrition bars, crackers, string cheese, nut butters, trail mix, granola, baby carrots, sliced apples and dried fruits all travel well. You can pack a lot of healthy calories into your carry-on bag beforehand, to keep you from selecting less healthy (and more expensive) versions of these snacks during your trip.
Pack some produce
Dried fruits are easily available, and actually count double-time toward your daily fruit recommendation because they are more concentrated. Think dried cherries, apples, pears, mangos, papaya, pineapples and raisins. Fresh apples and oranges pack well — bananas are good too, but need to be eaten quickly. Carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli, and fresh peas travel well when precut and placed in ziplock bags. Avocados are a perfect travel food. Cut into one with a plastic knife, season with a little salt and pepper (from the condiments bar at any airport), and then dig in with a spoon for 350 calories of good fats, loads of fiber and tons of potassium.
Planning for a healthy trip
Pack your first day’s worth of meals.
Bring a sandwich, a quinoa salad, some pre-cut veggies/fruits, and a couple of hard-boiled eggs so that you will be able to stay satisfied without purchasing overpriced airplane food.
Bring your thermos.
It’s always easy to get hot water from the food bar, and you can use that for a variety of lightweight, easy-to-pack foods. Instant oatmeal makes a quick, nutritious breakfast and dehydrated soups can make a nice lunch or snack while you are waiting for your next flight.
Staying in a hotel?
Ask about getting a fridge and/or a microwave in your room to improve the quality of the foods you are eating, and to save you money from fewer meals eaten at restaurants. If you are staying with friends/family, offer to prepare dinner one night instead of going out to eat.
Always pack a superfood.
Depending on where you are traveling, it’s likely your diet quality will suffer as a result of fewer options for healthy foods, so pack your own superfoods to boost the nutritional quality of each meal.
Grab some hempseeds.
These seeds are lightweight, neutral-tasting, and full of protein, good fats and minerals. Sprinkle them on top of restaurant meals, such as salads, rice bowls, even tacos to boost the nutritional content.