Whether you’re watching your wallet or your waistline, here are 7 healthy eating and nutrition tips to try while you’re traveling.
For many of us, the best part about traveling and dining out is not having to cook. The worst part is the damage it can do to our waistlines and wallets. Whether your travel plans are taking you away from home for a day or a week, try a few of these healthy eating and nutrition tips:
Restaurant meals can knock you over when you step on the scale. For a lighter touch, try selecting your main dish from the appetizer menu for at least one meal each day. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how satisfied you feel afterward without feeling stuffed.
Have a go-to order for every situation
Whether you find yourself at a corner market or headed to the drive-thru while traveling, try to go for these choices recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and save your splurges for special meals and events:
- Grocery stores and markets: Pick up pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables, hummus, yogurt, salads and fruit with peels, including oranges and bananas
- Sandwich shops: Choose whole grain bread, extra vegetables and mustard instead of oil or mayo
- Drive-thrus and casual restaurants: Focus on items that are grilled, steamed, broiled or baked instead of fried or sautéed. Consider salads with lean protein and a vinaigrette-based dressing, broth-based soups, oatmeal and eggs with whole grain bread.
And remember, if you’re craving comfort food, just watch your portions—stick to the basics, such as a single burger patty without special sauces, kid-size sides and water instead of soda.
Share your meal
How many times have you gone to a restaurant but only wanted to eat half your entrée? The amount of food you eat at one time is a big factor in managing your weight. Instead of forcing yourself to finish a whole dish, try sharing it with your travel partner. This little tactic can help you and your fellow road warrior practice healthier eating habits and save calories (and money)!
Watch the buffets
All-you-can-eat buffets are one of the simple joys of vacation. Just follow these tips to walk away feeling satisfied without being overstuffed.
- At breakfast, pick whole grain cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk, fruit or yogurt. The omelet station is a great option as well, just go light on the meat and cheese and heavy on the vegetables.
- At lunch or dinner, before grabbing a plate, walk around and decide what foods you want to eat. Then, aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, one-quarter lean protein and one-quarter whole grains.
Combine meal times
We’re going somewhere with this idea, so stay with us: Vacations are supposed to be about relaxing, having fun and—if you’re a night owl—sleeping in. Healthy living includes getting rest and reducing stress. So, instead of waking up at the crack of dawn just to eat before the hotel or cruise ship breakfast service ends, get your beauty rest and go to brunch later!
Stay in a room with a kitchen
Many lodging options have rooms that offer everything from microwave ovens to full‐sized refrigerators and stoves. You can save calories by making one home‐cooked meal a day. You’ll have control over not only ingredients and ways to prepare dishes (sautéed instead of deep‐fried, olive oil instead of butter, whole fruit instead of juice), but also portion sizes, resulting in more healthful (and cheaper) meals than if you ordered room service or fast food.
Bring healthy snacks
No matter where or how you travel, get in the habit of taking your own snacks. Toting your own nibbles lets you decide what, when and how much you and your family eat when you’re away from home.
Some healthy snack ideas:
- whole or dried fruit
- freeze-dried veggies
- nuts in preportioned snack bags
- nut butters in travel packs
- whole grain pretzels, crackers and breadsticks
- trail mix
- snack bars (look for ones with whole grains, nuts and fruit and few added sugars)
Updated September 20, 2021