Tips And Tricks For Eating Healthy While Traveling
A lot of my patients have told me about their travel plans in the New Year. One of the biggest complaints I hear from them is how difficult they find it to stay on track with healthy eating while traveling.
So many people view getting out of town as free rein to eat whatever they want. And while it may not be the end of the world to indulge for a meal or two, consuming mass quantities of processed foods, carbohydrates, and alcohol at every single meal will have you feeling a lot more than just homesick.
Indulging in too much processed food, carbohydrates, and alcohol can cause inflammation, high blood pressure, and constipation. These symptoms are bad enough to deal with when you’re in the comfort of your own home, but if they hit while you’re away, you may have a recipe for disaster.
Plan ahead to stay on track.
If you’re driving to your destination then you really don’t have an excuse not to eat healthy foods. Without the constraints of air travel rules and regulations and without suitcase space being at a premium, you can pack a cooler for the road and stock the fridge when you reach your destination.
Pack up lots of your favorite kombucha and green juice.
Kombucha is fermented, which means it’s loaded with probiotics that help with inflammation and digestion. It also contains vitamin B and iron which may enhance oxygen flow by increasing hemoglobin in the blood, giving you an energy boost (and one that would be preferable over consuming more coffee!).
Green juices are great for supporting your immune system while traveling. They’re loaded with nutrients and provide a healthy dose of vitamin C.
If air travel is on the itinerary, you may not be able to take kombucha and green juice but you can pack a shaker and shake or smoothie powder (this one is my favorite and the sample sizes are perfect to take along on your travels). Fill the shaker with water once you’re through security and mix up a healthy shake whenever you need it.
Healthy snacks for air or car travel
If you’re craving something crunchy, don’t be tempted by the convenience and allure of vending machine Cheetos or peanut butter crackers!
Opt for nut chips or organic rice cakes instead. (Adding a little almond butter to organic rice cakes is one of my favorite satisfying snacks!)
And before leaving home, head to your nearest health food store (or order online) and stock up on raw, organic nuts and seeds - but make sure they have nothing on them! Flavored or salted nuts are usually processed with hydrogenated oils which contain trans fats that can lead to arterial plaque buildup, among other things.
Dates are a fantastic, whole food alternative to any of the processed, sugar-laden snack you might reach for. Plus, they’re high in fiber and antioxidants and are just as sweet as any candy.
My family is also a big fan of Granny Smith apples dipped in raw, organic cashew butter, and since it’s not something we usually eat at home, it feels like a treat. Granny Smith apples are the lowest glycemic index apple which will help when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable.
Grab a bag of cut carrots and your favorite hummus for a satisfying snack on the go. Hummus is a great, protein-packed alternative to other unhealthy dips. Made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon, it’s loaded with healthy fat and fiber.
Olives are another great snack. They’re easily portable if you’re out and about and are a great source of heart-healthy fat and antioxidants. My family loves these handy travel pack olives.
Once you’ve reached your destination
Whether you’re a guest in someone’s home or staying in a hotel, feel NO SHAME for maintaining your healthy diet while traveling! Prioritizing your health is something you should be proud of!
Drinking hot water and tea are great ways to help those toxins flush out and help soothe your digestive tract, especially when enjoyed first thing in the morning. Plus, you can find hot water anywhere!
A good rule of thumb for healthy eating whether you’re traveling or not is to opt out of carbs and processed foods and opt in to whole foods.
This can feel tricky, especially if you’re staying in someone else’s home, but one of my favorite things to do in this situation is offer to help prepare a dish. “I make amazing brussels sprouts” or “I have this great salad recipe” allow you to be a wonderful, helpful house guest while also reaping the benefits in the form of having at least one, healthy, whole foods dish to enjoy. And even if you’re just a guest at someone’s home for dinner, I always let the host know that I’m bringing a salad to pass for this very same reason!
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the change in routine, different foods, and different environmental factors can cause constipation. If that happens, I highly recommend taking a plant-based, multiform magnesium supplement daily, and increasing the dose if you still can’t go.
Eating healthy foods can be more challenging when you’re away from home, but with a little planning, “I can’t eat healthy when I travel” is no longer a valid argument. Take a vacation from work and the everyday stressors in your life, but don’t take a vacation from healthy eating.