10 Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation
If you are leaving your home for an exciting vacation, it doesn’t mean that you have to leave your healthy eating habits at home as well. A vacation may deliver lots of benefits for helping you to unwind, rejuvenate, celebrate, see new places, and try new foods. However, if you want to continue staying healthy even during your travel, you need to focus on eating healthy, especially in exotic countries where the local foods are completely different from your normal diet. Whether you are planning a road trip or flying overseas, preparing healthy travel snacks beforehand can be a huge help in retaining eating habits and prevent you from overeating (as well as keep some extra cash in your wallet). Here is how you can do this.
Bringing travel food for your vacation
The teams of Wellness Mama and WebMD have joined their efforts to give some expert tips on how to eat healthy on the road starting from preparation and going through the whole vacation. First things first – you need to prepare homemade airplane or road trip food:
- If you can’t stand airplane food, you are not alone. Also, don’t expect to get any decent homemade food in your hotel as well. If you prefer cooking food on your own, before choosing a hotel, check if there are any grocery stores nearby and make sure to check out kitchen options for your hotel room. Opt for farmer’s markets, if it is possible, to get healthier, more organic and less expensive travel snacks and food products.
- Pack all the food you bring with you in zip lock bags to prevent the spread of bacteria, airplane bacteria, and to keep the foods inside fresher.
- If you can’t cook, consider visiting a grocery store to buy a few go-to meals. Try choosing balanced meals that may work as full-time road trip food, not snacks. If you have an overnight vacation, aim for hotel rooms with fridges and microwaves to eat hot meals and store your homemade dishes.
Eating healthier while on the road: top 30 options
Even a teenager knows that the healthiest meals are to be rich in protein, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, complex carbs, and followed by some healthy drinks. The experts from WellnessMama.Com offer no less than 30 different options for healthy road trip snacks in all these important food groups:
Get some protein to stay active and full longer!
To charge your hungry body with essential amino acids and fiber, you need to eat protein-rich foods. While on the road, you may choose from snacks like:
- String (or any other wrapped) cheese;
- Cottage cheese;
- Plain Greek yogurt;
- Hard-boiled (not fried or semi-boiled) eggs;
- Any nuts and seeds;
- Any nut and seed butter;
- Any bar made from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits;
- Low-sodium cold cuts;
- Single-serving hummus packs;
- Any jerky (fish, turkey, beef, or chicken);
- Pouches of tuna if your stomach okay with it;
- Any protein powder that can be added to water or coffee.
Stay green with those tasty veggies!
Eating vegetables important for many reasons. One of the most important of them is that they provide essential Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K making it possible for you to survive jetlag or boost the immune system while traveling. Easy vegetable travel options are:
- Any sliced fresh veggies that you may eat with creamy dips;
- Freeze-dried veggies;
- Any organic veggie juice, preferably fresh and low in sodium;
- Vegetable juice powder that you may add to your bottled water. Just don’t forget to shake before drinking;
- Vegetable salad – even if you are not a great cook, a simple salad with some veggies, cheese, nuts, and dried fruit is still a better option than fast food;
- Hot broth-based soups with vegetables (not creamy ones!) taken in the comfort of your hotel room can be good for your stomach as well.
No sugar, opt for fruits instead!
Forget about sugar while on vacation. Eating too much sugar can make you anxious or jittery and worsen jetlag symptoms. Instead, opt for fruits like:
- Fresh, peeled and washed fruit in ziplock bags;
- Dried or freeze-dried fruit;
- Fruit-and-seed bars, free from gluten.
Healthy fats that don’t add fat!
Our bodies need fat, preferably the healthy one. According to Dr. Josh Axe, there are 5 essential food sources of healthy, unsaturated fats that we need to consume with food daily:
- Olive or olive oil (alternatively coconut oil);
- Chia seeds or ground flaxseed;
- Ghee or clarified butter;
- Omega-3 fatty acids (found in any wild-caught fish).
Complex carbs can be your best road “buddies”!
Also known as dietary starch, complex carbohydrates are built of sugar molecules bound together like a coil. These carbs are rich in life-essential fiber, minerals, and vitamins. The healthiest snacks with complex carbs are:
- Oats – with hot water or stirred into yogurt;
- Popcorn – it is low in calories, a whole grain and can provide the filling fiber;
- Whole-grain bread with any nut butter;
- Look for any whole-grain crackers with, at least, 4 grams of fiber;
- Baked potato that is rich in Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. You may eat it with cheese and broccoli.
Drink in a healthy way!
Being hydrated is important, especially under the stress that your body experiences while traveling. Try drinking plenty of water and seltzer, but consider taking it slow with coffee – because too much caffeine may, in fact, increase dehydration. And make you pee every 10 minutes. Also, make sure to add some vanilla protein powder to your coffee to get some healthy benefits out of it.
10 expert tips for eating healthy on vacation
The following 10 simple “eating healthy” tips given by the experts from CNN and Men’s Fitness may actually save you from a lot of trouble because food poisoning and overeating are the most common digestive problems for people on vacation:
- Consider packing a cooler during your road trip. That way your homemade food and drink will remain fresh and store longer, especially fruits, vegetables, and peanut butter;
- Eating light right before starting a trip may prevent you from visiting a fast-food restaurant and eating that greasy burger;
- Stay away from sodas and tap water, especially abroad. Instead, pack your travel bag with bottled water. Your aim is to be hydrated, especially during hot weather;
- During a flight or road trip, occupy your mind instead of eating one bag of chips after another. Read, solve the crossword puzzles, or just sleep to suppress your unnecessary food cravings – your waistline can only benefit from this decision;
- If you are wondering how to eat healthy on vacation, try avoiding too exotic foods or components, or, at least, taste the new dishes in small sizes;
- Instead of having a full-time meal on the road (leave it for a hotel), consider eating a handful of dried fruits or nuts. This kind of snack can be eaten every 2-3 hours.
- Forget about drinking alcohol. Yes, you may want to relax while being on vacation, but for your health’s sake, stick to 2-3 cocktails, no more.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your meals. If you are sitting in a fancy foreign restaurant and have no idea what you are going to eat, don’t be shy to ask your waiter about the content of the meal. Also, your right is to ask for grilled food, not fried.
- Check the airline menu thoroughly. If it happens that you had no time to prepare sandwiches at home, it doesn’t mean that you have to starve while on the plane. Many airplanes offer protein-rich foods like hummus, whole-grain crackers, and olives.
- The same rule can be applied to hotel buffets offering the all-inclusive breakfast. If you don’t want to take a risk, try eating things like mushrooms or eggs, some fruit and avoid any sugary cereals.
If you have a weak stomach or some food allergies, it may be preferable to you to consume only those foods and drinks that you know won’t irritate your stomach. Also, don’t forget to pack some pills to beat diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, acid reflux, or constipation. The chance is high that you won’t need them, but who knows? Someone else you meet on vacation, who is less knowledgeable or prepared than you, may require them.