Making Healthy Choices while Traveling

5 Tips and Tricks for Making Healthy Choices while Traveling

By Kali Kushner

There's nothing I love more than traveling and exploring new places, I mean c'mon who doesn’t, am I right? Most of us live for that vacation time (which usually only lasts about 2 weeks into the new year for me). My husband and I try to venture out as much as possible but every time we travel there's one thing that’s always constantly nagging at the back of my mind. What in the world am I going to eat? And am I going to be starving the entire trip? Ahhhh and the panic begins to set in.

We all have different diets to fit our needs whether it be for weight loss, a food intolerance, or health reasons, traveling while staying on track can sometimes prove to be difficult. My diet compared to the Standard American Diet is vastly different, I do not consume any dairy, refined carbs, sugar, soy, and (previously meat) because they cause widespread systematic inflammation in my body. So, understandably, traveling used to give me a bit of anxiety because it meant straying away from my whole foods diet, and if I did decide to be strict with it I would be stressing out more on the trip than relaxing! Which is obviously against the whole point of the trip isn't it?

Here are 5 quick tips and tricks to help you keep on track with your diet while traveling:

1- Bring snacks

This one may seem obvious but bringing a cooler full of snacks and drinks is one of the best ways to beat road trip junk food cravings when the only thing you spot for over 60 miles is McDonald's and gas station sushi. You can also get a larger gallon jug of water to refill your water bottle if you're trying to cut back on plastic. I always find it better to overpack on snacks than under pack; things like nuts, bean crisps, hummus (if you're able to pack a cooler), granola, and fresh fruit are just a few healthier options that will work to keep you fuller longer!

2- Research places to eat along the way 

Although it may take some of the spontaneity out of your road trip, knowing where to stop along the way can take some of the guesswork out of where you can get a bite for breakfast or lunch. Plan the time you're leaving and then see what options will be around during lunch hours or whenever you prefer to eat. You can also try to pick a stopping point that offers other things to do while you're there, such as sightseeing, shopping, or even a quick visit to a local museum. That way you can get the most out of your lunch, and if others are traveling with you they may be quick to hop on board to see a spoon museum (and then you can sneak in the healthy lunch you trickster!)

3- Go to local grocery at your destination

The first thing we do when we get to our destination is stop by the local grocery store or farmers market to pick up some goodies for dinner and breakfast. Even out in the hills of West Virginia there's a grocery about less than an hour away. Most places will have at least some type of farmers market where you can pick up some fresh produce and meat, if you don't have one and you're out in the middle of a private island then hopefully you planned ahead.

I find breakfast and dinner foods to be the most practical, we typically wake up, eat breakfast, travel for the most part of the day, grab lunch while we are out, and then come home late for dinner. Of course, everyone's preferences are a little different, just do whatever feels right to you!

4- Make family members and friends aware of dietary restrictions previously

This has been the biggest thing for me! My husband and I get together weekly to visit with his parents and letting them know of my dietary restrictions beforehand has allowed for them to better accommodate by knowing what I can and cannot eat. Sometimes I also will bring my own food pre-made or even bring ingredients to cook my meals using their kitchen (asking of course).

Another instance could be that you're going out of town visiting relatives or just going to be somewhere that you are unfamiliar with. In this case I would again recommending communicating to them your dietary restrictions so they're not taken back or offended when you don't eat their marshmallow sugar crunch chocolate casserole. This way there's no confusion; they know what to expect from you, and you from them.

 

5- Learn the 80/20 rule

Sometimes it's OK to indulge a little every now and then, especially while on vacation. I'm not saying to go completely off the grid from what you normally eat, but just learn to relax, it's okay. You don't have to compromise your morals and values but know that a few French fries or drinking full sugar instead of unsweetened almond milk, won't kill ya. It may not be what you typically consume but if it's just not possible to stay on track due to time, limited options, etc., accept that it's okay!

This is something you have to learn because often times when road tipping (and in life) things are not always in our control. Life is all about balance and all you can do is try your best to maintain the 80/20 rule, stick to your diet 80% of the time, indulge 20% of the time. This will keep you from feeling overly restricted, especially when traveling.

*You can also try out some apps like Yelp, Food Tripping, and Local Eats to see what's near you or along your route while traveling.

Those are my best tips and tricks so far, although simple sometimes we get so stressed out about sticking to a certain lifestyle we forget the smallest things can impact our trip or way of thinking. Got any of your own tips and tricks for traveling? I'd love to hear them, leave a comment below!

 

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