Eating Healthy

It’s challenging enough to try to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis, but if you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you might find that eating healthy While Traveling is an even more difficult task. In different surroundings, with the combination of new enticements and somewhat limited control over food choices, you might think to eat healthy while traveling is a lost cause. However, there are some things you can do while traveling to keep your eating habits healthy.

Eating Healthy While Traveling “On the Go”

Getting to wherever you’re going can really wreak havoc on your nutritional good sense. Chances are that you’ll be bored in at least one of three traveling scenarios: waiting to depart, in transit itself, or waiting to arrive; and many people use eating—usually something less than healthy—to help pass some of that traveling time. Here are some ideas to help you fight the urge to splurge while traveling:

  • Try to do something else during your travel time. Plan ahead. Bring a book, a magazine, some paperwork, or an electronic game—or just take a nap.
  • Eat a full, healthy meal before you begin traveling. Then pass on the meal when the flight attendant offers it, or pass by that fast-food restaurant if traveling by car.
  • Pack your own healthy, satisfying snacks for the trip. There’s no rule that says you can’t bring your own low-fat crackers or cookies, pretzels, fruit, or popcorn in your carry-on bag.
  • Drink plenty of water while traveling, especially if you’re flying. It will help your body fight dehydration, and it will help make your stomach feel full. Just remember you may not bring liquids through the airline security screening area.
  • Order an alternative meal. Many airlines offer low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, or vegetarian meals as an alternative to their regular offering. Alert the airline of your meal preference when you make your reservation—advance notice is always needed.

Dining Out: Restaurants, Room Service, and Hotel Minibars

So you’ve arrived at your destination and so far have maintained your vow to eat healthy while traveling. Now you just need to get through a week of dining out for every meal, every day. Believe it or not, you can overcome this potential traveling disaster. Here are some ideas to get you through these tempting times:

  • Try to maintain your normal eating schedule while traveling. Resist the urge to eat every time food is available to you. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to eat it.
  • Decline your hotel room minibar key at check-in. If it’s already there in the room when you check-in, take it down to the front desk and tell them you don’t want it in the room with you.
  • Try to eat “normal” meals. That is, if you usually have a bagel for breakfast, skip the breakfast buffet with bacon, eggs, and pancakes, and pick up a bagel and a piece of fruit instead, just like at home.
  • Plan ahead for each day of your trip. If you know you’re likely to eat a heavy meal—a fancy dinner, for instance—plan accordingly by eating light and healthy for the other meals of that traveling day.
  • Avoid the urge to drink beer, wine, or cocktails; instead, use those calories on something else you’d rather splurge on eating—a special dessert, for example.
  • When dining out or ordering room service, control the things you can. Tell the waiter you’ll pass on the breadbasket; order condiments—butter, dips, sauces, and salad dressings—on the side or skip them altogether; substitute low- or fat-free sour cream, cheese, or butter if possible.
  • Instead of pouring your salad dressing over your salad or drenching your vegetables in butter, order those items on the side. Then dip your fork into the dressing or butter before using it to snag your next bite—you’ll get just enough of a taste of the salad dressing or butter to satisfy you, without all the extra calories.
  • Watch portion sizes. Some of the fun of traveling is eating the local cuisine and splurging on special foods or beverages. By sharing with a traveling companion—or even just leaving some on the plate—you can maintain your healthy dining goals while enjoying your trip.

Most importantly, take it one day at a time. Just because you have one bad day of overindulgence doesn’t mean it has to be an entire week of overindulgence. Motivate yourself to eat healthy at the next meal—travel is more enjoyable when you feel healthy.