Time for a Vacay? Tips for Eating Right While You Travel

Understandably, people like to treat themselves when vacation time comes around. But if you are including food choices on your list of indulgences, it could jeopardize your healthy eating habits. Whether you are trying to lose weight, stay in shape, stave off disease, or simply want to feel good, eating right is your best option. Once you break your usual habits, it can be very difficult to return to your old, nutritious ways. It’s not easy to eat well when you are away from home, but with these essential tips, your next big trip will leave you healthier and more relaxed than ever.

1. Prepare snacks to carry with you

homemade granola bars

You can control the ingredients in your food if you pack snacks. | iStock.com

When you travel, you don’t always have access to healthy foods at meal times or when you need a pick-me-up. Keep healthy snacks in the car or in your backpack so they are never far away, no matter where your adventure takes you. The more snacks you can prepare at home before you depart, the better. Homemade granola bars and trail mixes are easy, and you can check out these recipes for road warriors from The Cheat Sheet or another great list of travel snacks by The Kitchn. If you run out of time, grabbing a few items at the grocery store works too, such as apples, almonds, dates, peanut butter, vegetables, and hummus.

2. Bring tools for easy cooking

rice cooker

Rice cookers are perfect for making meals on the road. | iStock.com

Don’t be afraid to cook your own meals while on vacation. Even if you are eager to try out the local cuisine, setting a reasonable limit on it will save you money and encourage you to eat better. To make things easier, bring along a small rice cooker, crock pot, and/or blender. When kitchen access is lacking or limited, it’s a nice challenge to be creative in discovering simple and healthy options. BuzzFeed published a list that includes some great hotel room hacks for eating right, such as boiling eggs in a coffee pot.

3. Know your food options in advance


Research meal options for eating healthy while traveling. | iStock.com

Don’t forget to research the best restaurants and supermarkets for healthy eating in the cities where you will be staying or passing through. Grocery store salad bars a great go-to in a pinch, since they offer a fresh meal with no preparation needed. While they are not a great value in general, these salad bars are useful for travelers with limited time/kitchen access. If you’re embarking on a road trip, you can even look into food options near the highway so you know where to expect the healthy alternatives to fast food restaurants and convenient stores.

4. Eat small meals often

Hummus and veggies

Hummus and veggies are a perfect snack. | iStock.com

All the planning in the world can go out the window when you’re running on empty. To avoid gorging on sweets or empty calories at the nearest restaurant or food mart, eat small meals frequently throughout the day. This will help you stave off extreme hunger and keep your energy up. You might be more active than usual on your vacation, walking around a city all day or visiting landmarks, so bring those healthy snacks along to help you recharge. Some veggies and hummus with a homemade granola bar will make for a surprisingly satisfying mini-meal.

5. Drink plenty of water

Man drinking water

Make sure you stay hydrated. | iStock.com

Your body needs water for pretty much all of its essential functions, so hydration should be a major priority when you are traveling. According to Men’s Fitness, drinking water flushes out toxins, keeps your skin healthy, and even helps you eat less junk food. Sometimes what you think is a hunger craving is actually a sign that you are thirsty. So always carry a water bottle with you, especially on hikes and other active adventures. Drinking large amounts of water is helpful in combating jet lag, and it’s crucial if your travels take you anywhere at a high elevation.