Healthy Eating While Traveling

Traveling, that little word that brings fear and anxiety for anyone who is just starting to change their eating habits when looking to make a major lifestyle change. I ask this question; how do we handle fear? We prepare!

The key to eating healthy while traveling for work, with family or taking the kids from one place to the next all weekend long is to prepare for that trip and to have a plan in place. When it comes to day trips with the kids, traveling via airplane for work and settling in at the local hotel or staying over with family and friends during vacation the basic principles of healthy eating still consist of the following:

  • Vegetable
  • Fruit
  • Lean protein
  • Healthy fat

Travel for business

I dealt with the business trips for 5 years and from personal experience they can really wreak havoc on your overall health and nutrition goals that you’ve established for yourself. Don’t get me wrong the trips have plenty of perks such as new travel destinations, expense-account meals and an excuse to get out of the office, but these road trips have a common pitfall in terms of the poor food choices you may make. These include indulgent client dinners and unhealthy airport fare to the temptation of room service. All can quickly derail your healthy lifestyle. Try some of the following tips to help you stay compliant and consistent with your lifestyle choices to reach your new goals you may have set for yourself.

  • Pack a cooler (refreeze the ice packs when you arrive at the hotel, the staff shouldn’t give you any problems)
  • Ask the airline ahead of time for a special meal, or bring a healthy salad with lean protein onboard if available from one of the restaurants outside of the terminal.
  • Search out grocery stores and markets close to the hotel you will be staying in
  • Search out healthy restaurant options close to the hotel you will be staying in
  • Ship a box of healthy food ahead of time; it will be waiting at the hotel when you arrive
  • Request a room with a small fridge for healthy food storage

Pack foods that don’t need to be immediately refrigerated:

  • Homemade nutrition bars
  • Commercial nutrition bars such as Quest bars, Clif Builder bars or Pure Protein bars
  • Ready to Drink shakes such as Gatorade Recover shakes, Boost, Ensure, Muscle Milk shakes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Jerky
  • Greens powder
  • Protein powder
  • Oatmeal packets

Visiting Family or Friends

Whether you’re traveling with others or staying in their homes, you may run into well-meaning food pushers. A key tip is to give relatives and friends a kind heads-up to your expectations when it comes to offering food to your children. Help them find other ways to express love and warmth such as reading a story or taking your child for a special outing.

Food Tips for Summer Travel with Kids

The summer is usually the busiest time of the year for most families with kids. The little ones are out of school and now fill their time by participating in camps, joining recreational teams, and a variety of other activities. This can mean mom and dad become the designated taxi service which can throw off a healthy eating pattern very quickly. I suggest packing some of these travel-friendly foods listed below and to keep perishable items in a cooler with ice, so no one gets sick. If your child is at risk for choking, enjoy your food at a rest stop.

  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Cheese sticks
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sliced bell peppers, cucumbers or other easy-to-eat veggies
  • Applesauce
  • Dried and fresh fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Trail mix
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Low-fat milk boxes
  • 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice
  • Water

Don’t forget portable silverware and plenty of paper towels and wipes!

If you would like more information about how to organize a meal plan for those busy weeks of travel during the summer months or looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle overall through nutrition and fitness schedule a FREE NO OBLIGATION CONSULTATION with one of our registered dietitians at Elite Nutrition and performance.

Sean Vander Veer Elite Nutrition and Performance RD

Sean Vander Veer RD, LD, CPT


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