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How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

by Mara Welty October 22, 2023 7 min read

 How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

 Packing for a vacation can present its challenges, from fitting your hardy collection of must-read and inevitably hard-cover books into your carry-on to your one-too-many pairs of shoes that make zipping up your suitcase — let’s face it — impossible. 

The complexity only increases when you factor in packing meals for the journey, too. When traveling by plane, your options are limited to granola bars, pre-packaged snacks and in-flight meal offerings, which might not always align with individual preferences or dietary requirements.

When traveling by car, you may have a few more options. Although the salty snacks and sweet treats that beckon you from gas station aisles certainly aren't the most nutritious choices, you can also consider packing a cooler with wholesome snacks to keep you energized and satisfied.

Before you embark on your journey, set yourself up for success by reviewing our helpful tips on how to eat healthy while traveling.

#1 Prepare Ahead of Time

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, taking the time to research the food options available at your destination can greatly enhance your ability to have better meal timing, eat healthily while traveling, and stick your healthy morning routine. Here's why this step is so valuable and some specific ways to go about it:

Understanding local cuisine 

Researching the local cuisine of your destination helps you familiarize yourself with the types of dishes commonly available. This can aid in making informed choices that align with your dietary preferences and restrictions. For example, if you’re bound for Nashville, Tennessee, you can read up on ways to avoid the temptation of hot chicken and fried green tomatoes. Rather, find local eateries that specialize in plant-based cuisines, healthy bowls and protein-heavy salads to keep you satiated while you walk the iconic Broadway thoroughfare. 

Identify local markets andgrocery store 

To save money and bolster your diet with nutrient-dense foods while on the road, know where you can purchase fresh produce and whole grains. For those lucky enough to have accommodations with a kitchen or kitchenette, cooking your own meals can be a game-changer. By preparing your own dishes, you gain full control over the ingredients, portion sizes and cooking methods, ensuring that you stay on track with your healthy eating goals.

Consider cultural and language differences 

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, learn some food-related vocabulary to help you identify healthy choices on local menus and communicate your dietary restrictions, if needed. Also, be aware of the mealtime customs of your destination. Some countries may close shops in the afternoon and reopen later in the night for dinner service. You’ll want to stay informed to adjust your eating schedule accordingly — and stock up on healthy snack options to curb feelings of hunger during hours of siesta.

Research airline meal options 

Airline meals definitely don’t have a reputation for being the most delicious or nutritious. Prior to boarding, research what the flight crew will be serving on the flight. If you’re unsatisfied with the options and have enough time before boarding, you may want to visit a few of the airport markets to stock up on nutritious and filling snacks, such as nut mixes, Greek yogurt, hummus packs, string cheese and whole grain crackers or protein bar. You can also bring along a protein powder to supplement your on-the-go nutrition. While you might need to wait until you pass through security to add water, having a single-serve packet or a small container of protein powder can be a convenient way to ensure you have access to a protein-rich option. When opting for in-flight offerings, choose high-protein options like chicken or fish.

#2 Snack Smart

Whether you find yourself soaring 40,000 feet in the air or cruising along the open road, smart snacking is a pivotal strategy for maintaining on-the-go nutrition. 

To that end, it's wise to pack your bags with high-protein foods that stand in contrast to their high-carb and high-sugar counterparts. While the latter may temporarily satisfy cravings, they often leave you yearning for more and fail to offer the sustained energy you need. In contrast, protein-rich choices can help stabilize blood sugar levels and help you feel full longer.

Nutritious and portable snacks include:

Fresh fruits and vegetables 

If you can keep your fruits and vegetables in a cool area, they’re ideal for travel. Pack your zip-lock bags with plenty of high-protein goodies, like dried apricots, kiwi, blackberries, oranges, bananas and peaches, in addition to edamame and broccoli. This assortment can also aid digestion and support skin health.

Nuts and seeds

Buying a trail mix from an airport teller or crafting your own high-protein nut and seed mix for a road trip provides you with a convenient and tasty option when looking for sustained sustenance. More specifically, you’ll want to include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts and peanuts, as well as pumpkin seeds. This mix can help increase satiety and keep you energized for layovers or rest stops to come.

Granola and protein bars 

Compact and convenient, these bars house a wealth of nutrients within every bite, often including nuts, seeds, dried fruit and nut butter.

Whole grain crackers 

Healthy cracker choices are typically those that are made with a healthy grain like quinoa or bran, as well as flax, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. They deliver much-needed fats, fiber and protein along your journey.

Single-serve cheese

High-protein and nutrient-dense cheeses include mozzarella, cheddar and swiss, which you can typically find in single-serve packages for easy packing. Mozzarella also contains probiotics to support digestion, while cheddar is high in vitamin K. 

Hard-boiled eggs 

Hard-boiled eggs are convenient and filling, helping to support healthy cholesterol levels, cell health and mental stamina. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium and iron.

Greek yogurt parfait 

Greek yogurt is a high-protein on-the-go healthy snack that needs very little preparation. It’s high in vitamin B12, calcium and selenium; although, be sure to pick your yogurt smartly. Some options are high in unhealthy fats and sugars. For additional nutrients, top your yogurt with fresh fruits or chia and/or flax seeds to support digestion and deliver a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

Beef jerky or turkey roll-ups 

Beef jerky is an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle repair, growth and overall body functions. It’s also low in fat and provides high satiety. Turkey roll-ups, on the other hand, are an excellent source of lean protein, which can help sustain energy levels and be intermingled with vegetables and cheese to provide additional macro and micronutrients. 

On-the-go tuna

Canned tuna is protein-rich and nearly non-perishable, making it a safe option for on-the-go snacking. It can provide a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D and selenium. 

#3 Make Healthy Eating-Out Choices

When you're on vacation, dining out is almost inevitable. Exploring the local cuisine and trying a new restaurant is a delightful part of the travel experience. However, it's important to approach eating out with a mindful and balanced perspective. Support your health and well-being with:

Lean proteins 

When perusing the menu, opt for dishes that feature lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, fish or lean cuts of beef. These options provide the necessary building blocks for muscle repair and overall bodily functions without excessive saturated fats.

Whole grains 

If available, choose dishes that incorporate whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or whole wheat pasta. These grains offer fiber and sustained energy, keeping you fuller for longer and supporting digestive health.

Vegetables 

Many restaurants offer a variety of vegetable-based dishes or sides. Incorporate a generous portion of vegetables into your meal for added vitamins, minerals and fiber. Salads, roasted veggies and vegetable-based soups are often flavorful and nutritious choices, too.

Mindful portions 

Restaurant portion sizes can often be larger than what you might consume at home. Consider sharing dishes with a friend or opting for appetizer-sized portions. Alternatively, you can ask for a to-go box at the start of the meal and set aside a portion of your meal for later.

To mindfully indulge, beware of excessive sauces and dressing, which may contain unhealthy fats that can negatively impact your cholesterol levels. Oftentimes, vinegar and oil are a safe option. That said, if you’re craving a salad drizzled in ranch, ask for the dressing on the side so that you can control your pour. 

You can also practice mindful eating. Mindful eating involves paying attention to every sense associated with your meal — beyond taste. Chew slowly and take in the sights, sounds and smells around you. Being present and attentive during your meal can also help you pay attention to hunger and fullness cues to prevent mindless overheating.

#4 Stay Hydrated

Last, but certainly not least, drink plenty of water. When flying, air humidity is typically controlled (and lowered). As such, it’s easier to become dehydrated. Before boarding the plane, fill up a large water bottle to quench your thirst throughout the flight, and ask the flight crew for plenty of refills if needed. You’ll also want to limit alcohol intake.

When exploring your destination, carry a reusable water bottle with you to rehydrate when needed. The National Academy of Medicine suggests drinking nine to 13 cups of water daily. If you’re in a hot or humid climate, increase your water intake accordingly. 

Travel Smartly With INVIGOR8

When traveling, you can prioritize your health and nutrition by planning ahead and choosing healthy options, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein-dense selections in your weight loss kit.

For a convenient, all-in-one travel treat that can also provide weight loss support, choose INVIGOR8. This delicious and satisfying organic Superfood powder can help control hunger and give you the boost you need on your journey. It contains natural protein powder ingredients to help support digestive, immune and cognitive health. Also, Be sure to check out ourunflavored collagen peptides as they provide a healthy dosage of vitamin C while promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Stay healthy wherever you go. Make INVIGOR8 your travel companion. 

 

Sources:

  1. Healthline. 19 High-Protein Plant-Based Foods and How to Eat More of Them
  2. Healthline. 30 High Protein Snacks That Are Healthy and Portable
  3. Healthline. 8 High Protein Nuts to Add to Your Diet
  4. Consumer Reports. How to Pick a Healthy Cracker
  5. Healthline. The 9 Healthiest Types of Cheese
  6. Healthline. Top 13 Lean Protein Foods 
  7. WedMD. Health Benefits of Boiled Eggs 
  8. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Water

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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