Summer break often comes with much anticipated travels. Whether you plan to reach your destination by car or plane, it can often seem difficult to make healthy food choices. After all, highway rest stops are full of fast food restaurants, and airport offerings aren't much better. Vacations also tend to mean eating out a lot more than you may be used to, potentially three times a day. Unfortunately, restaurant food is often heavily laden with fat, sodium, and sugar, with plenty of meals even containing an entire day's worth of calories. The good news is that there is hope for travelers who don't want to sabotage their healthy eating progress while on vacation. With just a bit of creativity and planning, these tips will make your vacation all the better!
Pack healthy snacks before you go.
In addition to fueling your body right, bringing healthy snacks on road trips can save you travel time since you won't need to stop to purchase food. With airlines cutting out meals and snacks and airport food prices so high, snacks from home will also save you money. Make sure that you pack items that don't need to be refrigerated.
Some ideas include freeze dried vegetables, trail mix, unsalted nuts, whole or dried fruit, granola bars (beware of added sugar – check out Lara bars), and freeze dried vegetables. You can also bring travel packs of nut butters and unsalted, whole grain crackers or rice cakes.
If you need to buy food at the airport, a rest stop, or go out to a restaurant during your trip, follow these tips:
You'll be able to get a salad almost anywhere you go. Preferably, you should choose one with lean protein and request a vinaigrette-type salad dressing on the side.
If you find yourself at a sandwich shop, opt for whole grain bread, extra vegetables, and mustard instead of mayonnaise. Avoid the temptation of extra meat and cheese.
At a coffee shop, a fat-free latte or cappuccino is a great choice. Some coffee shops offer fruit cups, oatmeal, and salads to choose from as well.
At any establishment, avoid fried food in favor of baked, grilled, broiled, and steamed options. Monitoring your portion sizes when eating out will make a big difference and prevent overeating. Avoid ordering large sizes, eat slowly and mindfully, and remember that you don't have to finish everything on your plate. If you have a mini fridge at your hotel, you can even take your leftovers to go!
Choose nutritious options at the hotel.
If you can, staying at an Airbnb can be a great way to not only feel like a local, but also have access to a refrigerator, stove, and oven so that you can enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals. If you're at a hotel, however, there are still good choices you can make! For instance, if you have a mini fridge, you can easily stock it with Greek yogurt, hummus, fruit, whole grain bread, and pre-cut vegetables. If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, choose fruit, low-fat yogurt, and oatmeal or whole grain cereal to start your day. Sometimes, a cook is even available to take orders. In that case, consider requesting an egg white omelet with vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Being on vacation doesn't mean that good nutrition and healthy eating have to fall by the wayside. That being said, eating healthy shouldn't get in the way of you enjoying your travels. Think about local foods that you most want to try or restaurants you want to check out in advance, so that you can plan out a few indulgences during your trip. For example, you can't go to Italy without eating gelato or New Orleans without trying their beignets! Still, aim to make most of your meals nutritious. Ultimately, the right food can help fuel your body for all of those sightseeing adventures!