A lot of our conditioning around food comes from living a hyper-busy life. Think about it: if you had 12 hours per day with nothing to do, you might start making new types of food from scratch instead of reaching for fast food and instant meal solutions.
One of the most busy times is during travel, when food is either an inconvenience or turns into a massive drain of energy. If you plan on traveling this summer on vacation, for work, or to visit friends and family then this article is for you.
8 Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling
Here are my 8 best tips for staying and eating healthy while away from home!
1. Don’t Eat All the Things on the Plane
Flights, especially the long ones, can be extremely boring. And unless you’re trained plane sleeper, eating is something we often look forward to while being on a plane.
But food and drinks offered on planes are typically not the healthiest. They are not designed to be nutritious, instead they are prepared such that they fill you up.
I would recommend to bring some healthy snacks from home, like nuts and dried fruits, that you can snack on, and to drink lots of water while in the air.
2. Bring Travel-Friendly Food From Home
One thing that is predictable about travel is the uncertainty. You never know when you’re going to get a chance to refuel (your car or your body) and that means preparation is key.
Although I recommend keeping snacking to a minimum, it’s better to have your own snacks on hand than to react to your hunger and eat something really unhealthy.
Here are some travel-friendly foods to pack:
- Baby carrots
- Sliced veggies: celery, cucumber, bell peppers
- Dried nuts and seeds in a trail mix
- Dehydrated green smoothies
- Fruit: apples, berries, citrus
3. When in Doubt, Eat Less
One thing I noticed when I travel is that people seem to eat more. Either because the plane / train is trying to sell lots of snacks, or because there’s nothing to do.
I’ve been there before: between a long flight, a never ending bus ride, or a 10 hour car ride… there’s not much to do unless you’re the one driving. So you dig into the snacks in an effort to stay awake or keep your energy up.
What does all of this increased snacking lead to? First, it causes major stomach traffic jams because you’re eating different foods in quick succession. It also leads to major bloating and constipation. It’s no wonder travel messes with our regular bowel movement schedules.
That’s why I recommend you keep your snacks and meals to within a few hours of each other. Bring a book or take a nap instead of entertaining yourself with food.
4. Do Your Research
You can always do research about nearby restaurants and juice bars before you leave. If you leave it to the last minute or plan to do it once you arrive, you’re a lot less likely to follow through.
Make sure that the local listings are accurate, since restaurants and stores open and close without necessarily updating their sites.
A great site that can help with your research is Happy Cow, an online service that lists local cafes and restaurants that serve vegan, vegetarian and healthy food.
5. Go to the Local Grocery Store
One of the first things I like to do when I land is to find a grocery store. You can research these before you leave and find the closest one to your hotel.
Most of the time you can grab a few staples, something green, and be on your way in less than 20 minutes. It makes a huge difference when you have your go-to fruits and veggies for breakfast or snacks.
6. Drink Lots of Water
Good hydration is always important, but drinking water becomes exponentially more essential when you’re traveling.
That’s because we tend to be more rushed, to be thrown out of our routine, and to forget to hydrate. It also happens that you never know when you’re going to have access to a source of drinkable water, so always carry a reusable water bottle with you.
They may make you empty your water bottle before you board the plane but at least you’ll have it when you land and you can use it throughout your trip.
Trust me when I say that drinking more water can make the difference between getting sick or feeling tired. Water is definitely more important than food in this way.
7. Focus on Water Rich Foods
If you’re going to be veering off your usual way of eating, make sure you’re compensating with lots of water rich foods.
That means if you’re having something a little dehydrating like some wine or coffee, then follow it up with some fresh coconut milk or a green juice. (Both are great hangover cures too!)
Instead of having something salty like salted peanuts, reach for sliced veggies that you can much on.
8. Sleep and Rest Generously
This isn’t so much about food as it is about giving your body what it needs, but it does tie in to what you eat.
You see, if you don’t get enough sleep then you’re going to be reaching for something sugary or caffeinated to kickstart your body. That’s not the way to go, because it leads to a vicious cycle of sugar ups and downs and will definitely not leave you feeling refreshed.
So make sure you get some good shut eye while you’re traveling.