How to Eat Healthfully While Traveling
Traveling can be an amazing experience – but we don’t want to sabotage our health goals! Here are some tips to use next time you travel.
How to Manage Food and Traveling
1. First, Get Yourself Hydrated
Long plane rides can easily make us dehydrated. At the airport, on the flight, and when you land, be sure to drink plenty of water (I know you may have to pee on the plane – but I think it is worth the annoyance! Seriously!). Being dehydrated can make us bloated and constipated, loopy, and crabby. On my most recent trip to Italy, I was dehydrated for the first 2 days, and I had constant headaches, my mouth was very dry, etc. It was no bueno. Drink up!
2. Plan Where You Want to Eat Out Ahead of Time
You likely don’t want to blow a TON of money while you’re traveling, so check TripAdvisor and other rating sites to find what the town you’re visiting is known for food-wise. Decide on one (or two if you’re feeling fancy!) places to eat out per day, and try to stick with snack type foods, and/ or foods you can carry around with you the rest of the day.
3. Enjoy Yourself
You’re on vacation, you’re experiencing new places, enjoy yourself! However, research does show that we enjoy the first and last bites of whatever we’re eating the most, so let’s minimize those middle bites. Share an entrée or stick with an appetizer of the food you’re excited to try, particularly if it’s more decadent or higher in starchy carbohydrates. Remember, starchy foods are grains like bread, rice, pasta, and starchy veg like potatoes, beans, peas, and corn.
4. Stick with Plain Food
Sauces and dressings often hide hundreds of calories – and it’s pretty impossible to know what’s in them. Unless this is the one meal per day where you’re indulging a bit more, try to stick with foods without these.
5. Know That Fat is Cooked In
My “rule of thumb” or “#thatformula for lunches & dinners is to make them with:
2 cups of non-starchy vegetables – e.g. carrots, peppers, cucumbers
1 “normal” amount of protein – e.g. 2 eggs, 4oz deli slices, 1 chicken breast
100-200 calories of fats – e.g. cheese, avocado
However, when you’re eating out, fat is usually cooked into the meal. Restaurants do this because – fat tastes good, and they know it. Therefore, unless you’re getting something like a salad where you can really see each ingredient that’s in your meal, if you’re following the above formula, you don’t have to look out for the 100-200 calories of fats, because they’re typically already cooked in.
6. Stick with 1 Starchy Food per Day
This is my general “rule of thumb” for weight management – 1 starchy food per day (starchy foods include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and starchy veg like potatoes, peas, beans, and corn). When you’re on vacation, following this rule of thumb is (typically) totally doable. If you’re having pizza at night, stick with an omelet for breakfast, and a salad with chicken and avocado for lunch (for example).
7. Share an Entrée (or 2) or Have an Appetizer for a Main Course
This method can save you lots of $$. AND if you focus on foods with veggies, proteins, and fats, you’ll be comfortably full, but not overly stuffed!
Some of my go-to’s ordering out:
Sushi wrapped in cucumber “Naruto”
Chicken, shrimp, or steak Caesar salad without croutons
8. Keep Snacks with You so You Don’t Have to Eat Out All the Time
This truly saves me every time I travel. My go-to’s I either pack ahead of time or pick up once I land are:
Nuts (roasted salted are fine in my book)
Hard boiled eggs
String cheese or round cheese in wax
9. If possible, Bring an Insulated Lunch Bag
You may want to bring an insulated lunch bag so that, for example, if you’re taking some food from your hotel’s breakfast to keri with you for a snack (like hard boiled eggs, string cheese) etc. it’ll keep.
11. If you Get Stuck, Try One of These
And by stuck I mean constipated. This pretty much always happens to me when I’m outside my routine or in a stressful situation. Try:
Drinking more water
Having beans or legumes at your next meal
Caffeine (in the morning) can help
A high fiber granola bar (e.g. FiberOne)
Getting some additional exercise- go to the hotel gym or take a walk or run outside
12. Alcohol – stick with Types with Non-Added Sugar
I generally recommend sticking to alcohol drinks without added sugars – light beer, wine, vodka or other hard alcohol with seltzer or a no-calorie mixer (like Diet Coke), prosecco, etc.
13. Get Back on Saturday or Work from Home on Monday
Here’s an excellent trick that helps many of my clients. If possible, get home on a Saturday or work from home on Monday so that you have some extra time to grocery shop and meal prep for the week ahead.
Regardless, stock up on some extra frozen veggies (like broccoli, spinach), and some extra frozen protein (like beef burger patties) before you leave for your trip so you have something in your house when you come back.