Healthy travel is almost an oxymoron. Healthy travel on a budget is near impossible. In order to help you travel as nutritious as possible, I have put together 30 suggestions to cut out extra calories, fat, and sodium in your diet. Although you might think most of them to be simple and basic – I bet you aren’t practicing 1/2 of them!
- Don’t skip breakfast, turn on your metabolism and get some protein early on in your day.
- Avoid eating while standing. I am always eating on the go when I travel, but even at small food stands I try to find a park bench and sit while I eat.
- Cheese isn’t bad for you, but the fat is – choose lower-fat options and keep your portions small.
- Switch from whole milk to skim. You get the nutrients without the fat.
- Trim the fat from meats before you cook, it’s amazing how much it helps reduce your fat intake. If you are eating out, order lower fat meats.
- Eliminate fried foods…You don’t need them, there is nothing good about them.
- Cream sauces like alfredo and hollandaise are loaded with fat – choose tomato based sauces instead.
- Read the labels and check the sugar and salt content! If you can’t read the labels, order your food as close to its natural state as possible.
- Avoid shopping when you are hungry and always go with a list.
- Vary the foods you eat so you don’t get bored. Always aim to eat more fruit and vegetables with your meals.
- Eat more fish! But stay away from breading or batters on the fish.
- Exchange water for soft drinks…Yes even diet drinks!
- Potatoes aren’t your enemy. A baked potato has no fat and 150 calories. Just don’t load up on the toppings or eat them in their fried form!
- Stay away from pastries, they are loaded with sugar and won’t leave you full.
- Limit your meat intake and pick white meats when possible. Get creative with ways to get your protein through non-meat sources. Ex. Tofu, legumes, and greek yogurt.
- Don’t give up dessert, just plan ahead. 1 square of dark chocolate, fat-free yogurt with fresh fruit or strawberries and bananas.
- Reduce portions. Eat all of your meals on a salad plate and don’t go back for seconds! Avoid the temptation to super size all of your meals.
- Keep a food diary, not forever, but until you get a handle on how many calories you are burning and how many you are putting in.
- Eat more yogurt! It is a protein as well as a carbohydrate, giving you the energy you need to burn the protein. Also, when you travel, it will help with unwanted stomach problems.
- Add more tuna to your diet.
- Avoid any “salad” which is drenched in mayonnaise such as chicken, tuna or egg salad. Or try making your own and using greek yogurt in your recipe instead of the mayo.
- Eat oatmeal – Lots of it!
- Try to avoid buffets. If you do go to one, get a table as far away from the buffet as possible and only go through the line once.
- Stick to broth soups – you will eat less calories and fat.
- Get colorful with your vegetables, try new cooking styles with new veggies every week.
- When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask for things on the side.
- Order off the appetizer menu for a smaller portion, split a meal with your friend or eat only half of your plate and bring the rest home for leftovers.
- Have your go-to fast food restaurants ready so when you have to eat on the go you know what the healthiest option is at each place. Just because you’re eating fast doesn’t mean you have to eat terribly.
- Spicy foods can help curb your appetite and have been known to speed up your metabolism.
- Don’t restrict yourself too much, you have to enjoy what you are eating or you will be miserable!
Start by applying 1 or 2 of the strategies above until they become habit. Eventually many of these will be part of your lifestyle and you will travel healthier when you are on the road!
wonderful tips!!!! i have also learned that when you travel you shouldnt take on a whole new diet. try to keep your normal routine, but just substitute the usual for new, etc. when i moved (ok, so this isnt traveling, but rather locating to a new place), i made the HUGE epic mistake of eating like i was norwegian. i figured that since only 8% of norwegians were obese compared to 30%+ of americans that i would lose tons of weight. BIG mistake. their diet is fatty meat (im not really a meat eater) and potatoes and carbs. they consider potatoes a vegetable. i gained nearly 40lbs here in the past YEAR!
if i had to do things over again, i would keep my old routine, but just replace my morning yogurt and fruit for skyr and fruit. or replace my usual soutwestern salad for dinner with fresh salmon (since norway seems to be pretty good with their fish) and local greens. instead, i went heavy on the traditional foods here which are horrible.
but if you’re wondering how norwegian stay thin on such crap food, it is because they walk to the store, not drive…which kind of goes against everything i had been taught in america 😉
definitely great tips…will use a lot of them in the future when traveling.
Caroline Eaton says
It is really hard, not only with eating healthy but keeping up a fitness routine. I have never eaten so many white carbs/bread/rice/pasta since I have been traveling.
It is taking time to realize what you are putting in your mouth and making an effort to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible. We try to cook in our hostels and apartments as much as possible because we feel we have a little bit more control over what is in the food and the portion we eat.
I don’t expect it to ever get easy, we will always have to be aware of our diet when we travel!
Great list, not just for traveling but just in general.
Caroline Eaton says
True! I think it is smart to try to keep your schedule at home and while you are traveling as similar as possible. There shouldn’t be a drastic change in your diet if possible.
All of these… yes! Some have just become such a part of how we eat that we don’t even consciously practice them. Spicy = always. Breakfast = every morning. Lots of veggies = every meal.
Plus, when we’re trying to save money it is usually cheapest to just cook our own food, which ends up being the healthiest option in most cases!
Caroline Eaton says
We usually cook when we can – but sometimes we feel like we are missing out on the yummy cusines of the country. Thailand we ate out every meal mostly, but in Argentina we rented an apartment and cooked 95% of the time! We will have to go back to get our fill of steak!