You’ve packed your clothes, your shoes, your toiletries, your excitement, your itinerary — but have you packed a plan for staying on track with your healthy eating habits?
When traveling for work or pleasure, your normal eating routine can be disrupted. Your pre-planned meal prepped food is not available, and you may not have access to a grocery store or nourishing foods you typically consume. While it may seem difficult to stay consistent, a little pre-travel preparation can help alleviate the last-minute stress eating decisions.
A little planning goes a long way. To start, try packing your carry-on with healthy, non-perishable snacks to get you to your destination. Once you arrive, hit the local grocery store to keep more snacks and meals on hand that align with your health needs and wants. If your accommodations include a kitchen, plan to prepare some meals at home.
What to Eat
Whenever possible while planning for restaurants and excursions, be sure to select options that support your lifestyle and budget. Sometimes we have limited food options while traveling, whether it be a late hour abroad or at the airport, being at the whim of a pre-planned work itinerary or just not having viable options available when you need them. If circumstances dictate that fast food is your only alternative, be mindful of your choices. As you’re able to, opt for grilled meats, salads, fruits and vegetables. If those menu items are unavailable, eat what you must and let go of the guilt. Be wary of portion sizes and skip extras like the salt and soda.
How to Plan Meals
Eating healthy on vacation is possible with some foresight and planning. Stay on track with your health goals while you travel to maintain the progress you’ve made. Also remember that you’re on vacation and an indulgence in the local cuisine or an extra dessert isn’t going to be the complete derailment of progress. At the end of the day, your health and enjoyment of your trip is what matters most!
Lily Prado, a NASM-certified personal trainer and ISSA-certified nutrition coach at North Star Fitness, has a travel cheat sheet of seven tips to help clients stay on track with their goals and progress when they travel:
1. Pack Some Protein
Protein powder is easy to pack. Individual packets of almond or peanut butter are also very good to have on hand. Don’t forget your shaker bottle.
2. Opt for Some Fruits and Nuts
Apples and oranges are my favorites for travel because you don’t have to refrigerate them and can literally eat them anywhere. They won’t get crushed in your bag or make a mess either.
3. Stay Hydrated
It’s easy to forget to drink water and stay hydrated while you are away. Bring a refillable water bottle with you.
4. Use the Mini Fridge in Your Hotel Room to Your Advantage
Once you have arrived at your destination, visit a local grocery store and buy a few more healthy snacks for your stay.
5. Avoid the Free Continental Breakfast
Continental breakfasts can consist of mostly unhealthy carbs. Try to not start your day with sugary cereals, pastries, waffles, pancakes, etc. It is tempting because it is complimentary but it might not be worth the calories and sugar.
6. Do Your Homework
You probably did your homework before reaching your destination regarding what you want to do and see once you arrive. Did you research restaurants too? It’s a must. See what your options are before you get there — have a plan and a back-up plan. Make reservations ahead of time, if recommended.
7. Indulge in Moderation
After all, you are on vacation. Plan to have one small daily indulgence on your trip. Don’t deny yourself a treat. Plan around it. Eat mindfully the majority of the time and allow yourself the food you’ve been looking forward to. Moderation — not deprivation —is key.