Do you find it challenging to stay on your regular diet and continue eating healthy while traveling?
It can be tough… the temptations for treats are everywhere and the need for extra sugar and caffeine to boost your energy when you cross time zones can mean lots of extra calories.
But you can actually eat healthy food and not gain weight when you’re traveling.
Taylor L. Cole, APR travel expert for Hotels.com agrees.
“I travel constantly for work and for pleasure and have learned to plan ahead to make sure my diet stays on track,” Taylor says. “Hotels and restaurants can be very flexible when it comes to meal preparation. Room service menus usually have healthy eating options highlighted, and hotel staff and the concierge are great resources on the best local spots to meet your dietary preferences.”
As professional dietitian Ilene Gilbert P.Dt. says…
“Though you may be faced with food courts and unfamiliar restaurants, healthy eating while traveling is definitely possible, and can be very enjoyable. In fact, with the many food choices available to you it can actually be easier on a trip to stick to a diet or to find fresh, tasty and healthy foods.”
15 ways to make sure your nutrition doesn’t suffer during vacation or business travel:
- Plan ahead. There are a lot of stresses associated with modern travel – but the food you eat doesn’t have to be one of them! Try packing portable snacks that pack a lot of nutrition – among them Greek yogurt, almonds and walnuts. Consider dried fruit such as figs or dates, but if sugar is an issue, skip these.
- What if you are hungry in the middle of the morning and all you see are muffins and cookies at the hotel coffee shop? Grab a large skinny latte or cappuccino; the protein and carbohydrates from the milk will keep you going.
- Most chain restaurants, including fast food chains, offer healthy alternatives, which can include wraps and salads with vinaigrette on the side. Also, many hotels offer free breakfast with lots of choices.
- Often, you can order a sandwich or six inch sub on whole wheat bread. Ask for no butter or dressing on the bread and, if you skip the cheese, you can reduce the total fat and calories. Add a veggie or bean soup for a fast lunch but try to avoid cream soups.
- If the only place you find yourself near at lunch is a grocery store or sushi shop get a sushi box, no tempura. Add a seaweed salad, and use only half the soy sauce to keep sodium low.
- In hotel restaurants try to order the grilled or steamed options, not fried. Remember one tablespoon of oil has approximately 150 calories!
- Make sure you stay well hydrated. Instead of diet or regular soft drinks, try lemon or other flavoured sparkling water. They have no calories, no salt and are refreshing.
- It’s not always possible to control the quality of the food, so try to control the portion. Order two appetizers instead of a main course. Avoid 3-course meals. If we pay for it we tend to eat it, even if we are not hungry.
- Share a meal by adding an extra soup or salad.
- Keep an eye on calories from adult beverages. A mixed drink can add up to 300 calories, a glass of wine depending on the size, can be 150 calories.
11. If your hotel doesn’t offer free breakfast, pack a ziploc bag with oats or a protein bar. Pack a few disposable bowls and spoons as well. When you arrive at the hotel, buy a milk at the gift shop and keep it in the minibar. If you don’t have a minibar or fridge in your hotel room, don’t worry. Just fill the ice bucket with ice and put your milk in it to stay cold overnight.
12. At the airport, order a salad with grilled chicken and grab a banana or nuts and water bottle instead of a cookie and soda.
13. If you’re arriving late at night to the hotel, buy extra nuts and water bottles at the airport that you can eat for a late night snack so you’re not tempted to order a dessert from room service.
14. Try to stop by a store to buy healthy snacks that you can keep in your hotel room.
15. Don’t drink your calories. When you’re at a conference or business meetings, soda is often free and readily available. Resist the temptation of a free drink, and choose water, coffee, or tea.
With all the that being said…don’t limit your diet so much that you miss out on the local cuisine or feel like you’ve missed out on the fun of your trip. Healthier choices can still taste good and when you don’t over indulge while traveling you can enjoy your trip and not regret your choices when you get home.
Your healthy lifestyle is something you can take with you everywhere. Your body deserves to be treated right, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll feel better in your clothing!
Written by Susan Carraretto w/ edits by Karen Yoakum