Staying healthy when traveling takes a bit of planning but is not impossible. I travel out of town and overnight frequently for work. When I first started my job, I treated every meal like a splurge. I thought, “Heck, I’m not paying for my meals and I can eat anywhere I’d like” and so I did. The problem that crept up was my weight and expanding waistline. With large, high calorie restaurant portions at every meal, the pounds piled on. That was nearly 13 years ago. Fast forward to today and I as a veteran traveler. Below are some of my tips and tricks to eating healthy while on the road.
Snacks: There are so many travel-friendly options from protein bars to beef jerky. Throw a few snacks in your travel bag ahead of time. Even if you forget to pack them don’t worry. I’ve seen Quest bars and Edamame at airport kiosks and almost every Starbucks sells packs of roasted almonds and string cheese.
Breakfast: I choose hotels that offer breakfast to save time in the morning. Ordering scrambled eggs, grabbing a piece of fruit, or peeling a couple of hard boiled eggs are all effortless. Just steer clear of the waffle maker. No breakfast where you are staying? I almost always order some variation of eggs with veggies mixed in. Asking for no cheese, subbing for egg whites, or skipping toast and replacing it with fruit are all easy restaurant swaps. When hitting up fast food, I am a McDonald’s devotee. They offer egg whites in all their breakfast items and have sugar free syrups for that much needed vanilla latte in the morning.
Lunch and Dinner: If you didn’t have a snack and you are starving by when lunch or dinner rolls around, uh-oh, danger ahead. In this instance, I have a few standby meals. There is a salad bar in every town. It’s not fancy but I can make my own meal and control portions. If you need it fancy, go to Whole Foods. I’m not suggesting that you eat salad everyday but this is just a “go to” in my play book. Same with Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s or other burger places, you can get any sandwich they offer in a lettuce wrap, saving a couple hundred calories by ditching the bun. Yelp, dear lord, I love the person who invented this phone app. Plug in “healthy food near me” and in about 15 seconds you have a list of places to eat ready to go. Yelp has taken me to places I would have never found on my own which is half the fun of traveling. When I go to a full-service restaurant for a meal, I try to stick with grilled meats or tofu and veggies. When possible I let the server know not to bring a bread or chips basket. Nearly all chain restaurants post nutrition facts online making finding healthy choices easy.
Some travel don'ts: Don’t order dessert, I save that for a night out with the hubby. Don’t drink alone. This means when I travel, I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t always deny myself. I think the 90% healthy food with 10% not so healthy foods is a good guideline. Plan an occasional treat.
Even if you only implement a few of these ideas when traveling, you can maintain your weigh. Eating healthy on the road doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.