8 Steps To Eat Healthy While Traveling
Business travel can certainly take a toll on us but, our friend Jennifer Kanikula aka, ‘The SoFull Traveler’ has some excellent advice on how to eat healthy while traveling. Read on to learn Jennifer’s eight steps.
After sharing my blog with fellow travelers, I received a few requests to discuss the topic of healthy eating while traveling. This is definitely a difficult area for many travelers, including myself. A traveling lifestyle with many changing and unpredictable variables isn’t conducive to following a routine, healthy diet. However, I hope I can provide some helpful tips to make healthy eating while traveling not only possible, but simple.
1. Pack snacks. Have healthy snacks readily available so that when a burst of hunger or thirst strikes, you don’t jump at the first ice cream stand to satisfy your craving. See my list of 10 healthy snacks for travelers to get some ideas!
2. Cook for yourself when possible. Part of traveling is dining out and trying new foods so I am in no way discouraging this, but chances are, you’ll be consuming unnecessary calories and spending more money when you’re dining out. When you have the ability to cook for yourself, you have more control over what you’re consuming and have the option to prepare something healthy. I always look for an accommodation in the place I’m visiting that includes a kitchen so I can prepare the majority of meals myself and save a few for a night out.
3. Stay hydrated. Chances are, you’re doing a lot of walking or exploring when you’re traveling and hunger can often be confused with thirst. Staying hydrated will keep your energy levels up and avoid unnecessary snacking.
4. Fill Up. Don’t start a trip on an empty stomach. Not that you need to stuff your face before heading out, but leaving the house/apartment/hotel/hostel on an empty stomach without any food packed will generally lead to snacking on whatever is available at that time, healthy or not.
5. Consider splitting serving sizes, if possible. One of the best parts of traveling is trying countries authentic cuisine. Even as a dietitian I would never discourage trying new foods, healthy or not. But if you’re trying a certain food, especially one that’s deemed unhealthy, simply to try the food, consider splitting this with someone you’re traveling with. If you’re a solo traveler, you can always split the item and divvy it up between days.
6. Make savvy street food selections. Trying street food and visiting food markets are very common experiences while traveling. In these situations, I always keep a simple rule in mind: fruits and vegetables first, avoid fried foods and limit the bread when possible. For example, I would choose a Thai veggie bowl with grilled sesame chicken instead of sweet and sour chicken (which is often deep fried) on top of a bed of fried rice. There are still plenty of healthy(ish) items at these locations and chances are, they will all be extremely tasty so don’t convince yourself you’re missing out.
7. Airport Solutions. When traveling, we often spend far too much time in airports. I’ve never found eating in an airport to be super easy especially as a budget traveler. However, my friend Amanda with Health Nut Nomad has some pro tips for eating healthy in the airport that may solve some of your airport frustrations!
8. Treat yourself. Traveling is going to offer you a lot of food options. Not allowing yourself to try something because it’s technically not the healthiest option is going to make you crave it more. I’m not encouraging you to indulge at every opportunity, but if there’s something you really want to try, allow yourself that experience and make up for it elsewhere (ex: choose to make yourself dinner that night of something lighter/healthier, make sure you’re reaching your step goals for the day, skip the glass of wine at lunch, etc.)
Healthy eating while traveling doesn’t have to be a game changer or a trip ruiner. It might actually enhance your experience! So enjoy your adventures but fuel up appropriately when possible.