On the Road
Don't Let Travel Derail Your Healthy Eating Habits
Vacation season is upon us. No matter where you’re headed this summer, be sure to take your healthy eating habits with you. “When traveling, many people have trouble finding healthy options because we are surrounded by items that are unhealthy and non-nourishing to us,” says UVA dietetic intern Abigail Ginther.
So what is a healthy traveler to do? Plan ahead. Here are some easy tips to help you eat healthy on the go:
Before You Leave: Pack snacks or meal replacements.
Try fresh fruit like bananas, apples and oranges (super portable); oatmeal packets (just add hot water); nuts and dried fruit; nut butters (some brands offer individual packets); protein bars or fruit and nut bars; raw veggies (chopped carrots, celery, broccoli, etc.); and sandwiches made at home for the day you’re traveling.
Take along a water bottle and keep it full.
Staying hydrated is really important when you travel and can help stave off hunger.
Research the restaurants nearby.
Check out their menus online to find out which restaurants offer healthy options that look good to you.
Find the closest grocery store.
On the first day of a trip, buy fresh veggies, fruit, cereal, 1 percent or skim milk and other items you can prepare in your hotel. Yogurt and cottage cheese are great if you have a mini fridge in your room.
Bring your workout gear.
At the very least, bring sneakers so you can walk around the area you’re visiting. You’ll get in a workout and get to see the surroundings by foot. Wearing workout gear on the plane (including sneakers) can be comfy and frees up room in your suitcase.
During Your Travels: Quick/fast
food can be a good option.
Some fast food chains do offer healthier items. Look for things like veggie trays, protein plates, fruit cups and salads. Most of their websites have all of the nutrition information, so you can check out the choices before you go.
Eat healthy while dining out.
Choose items on the menu with a good mix of high fiber carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat. If the entrée isn’t as healthy as you like, make modifications to the dishes; for example, ask for no cheese, steamed instead of sautéed veggies or for your protein to be baked or broiled without butter/oil.
Mind the alcohol.
Sometimes putting our feet up corresponds with drinking an extra cocktail or two. The heart-healthy effects of alcohol are lost when you consume too much. Stick to one drink or less per day for women and two or less per day for men.
Wake up early enough to get in a quick workout and eat breakfast.
Being active can help you stay on track with your goals and eat healthfully. It will also make you feel better throughout the day.
Keys to Success:
Do your best to eat healthy and stay active but don’t make yourself crazy. Sometimes you won’t have control over the situation (i.e. your family picks a restaurant that only serves fried food). Just do your best and move on.
Don’t deprive yourself.
If you’re in Chicago, which is known for its deep-dish pizza, then go for it! Just pick and choose when to splurge.
Don’t get down on yourself.
You’re likely to have a few indulgences or unhealthy meals while traveling. Truly enjoy them and then hop back on the healthy train for your next meal!
SMART Goal: Keep a bag of trail mix or piece of fruit in your bag so you always have a healthy option when hunger strikes to keep you going until your next meal.