Whether you travel for business or you jet set around the globe as a digital nomad, learn how to eat healthy on the road without starving yourself.
Imagine you’re at the top of the Eiffel Tower enjoying the sites, when your stomach emits a deafening growl. Imagine you ate too much before your flight and now the turbulence is making you queasy.
These are unpleasant situations for any traveler. In both cases, you can blame poor food choices.
Eating healthy is tough even when you’re at home. But once you add in unfamiliar places and different foods, finding healthy food can feel impossible.
Luckily, with a few simple tips you can learn how to eat healthy on the road. You don’t have to deprive yourself of enjoying delicious food either. To learn how to eat healthy while traveling, read on.
Limit the Amount of Restaurant Meals You Eat in a Day
The average restaurant dish has about 1,205 calories. That’s more than double the amount of calories you should be eating at any given meal.
If you eat three meals a day from a restaurant or fast food chain, you could wind up eating twice as many calories as you need. As a result, you might feel sluggish, tired, and bloated. It’s difficult to burn off those extra calories, which means you could gain weight.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid eating at restaurants when you’re traveling. And you shouldn’t deny yourself the pleasure of dining out either — the key is moderation. That’s why you should aim to dine at a restaurant only once or twice a day.
If you do eat more than one meal a day from a restaurant, you can still make healthy choices. If you’ve already eaten (or have plans to eat) a big meal at a restaurant, order something lighter. Check out the appetizer menu or order soup and a salad.
Find a Local Supermarket
A great way to eat healthier on the road is to shop at a grocery store, even if you don’t have access to a full kitchen. You can restock your snacks and get ready-made items for simple meals.
For example, you can buy ingredients from a supermarket for a simple breakfast. You can make oatmeal or even scrambled eggs in a mug if you have access to a microwave. If you only have a mini-fridge, a yogurt cup and a banana would make a great breakfast.
Supermarket delis are also a great place to find healthy, pre-made lunch items. Some grocery stores even have salad bars. You can also buy a pack of tortillas, deli meat, cheese, and vegetables to make sandwich wraps for lunch.
If you’re wondering how to eat healthy on a budget during your travels, grocery store shopping is the answer.
Always Carry a Healthy Snack With You
You can always find snacks at gas stations and airport convenience stores, but they’re not always healthy. Potato chips and muffins sound good when you’re hungry. But when you have a sugar crash a few hours later, you’ll realize it wasn’t the best choice.
That’s why you should always keep healthy snacks with you when you’re traveling. Having healthy snacks on hand can keep you from feeling hangry and making impulsive food choices.
If you’re traveling without a cooler, stick to non-perishable snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and protein snack bars. Crackers and nut butter also make a great snack. You can even take fresh carrots and celery if you plan to eat them soon.
For airplane travel, be careful with liquid foods like applesauce or yogurt. Since these foods count as liquids, they’ll go towards your liquid allowance when you go through TSA security. That means they need to be less than 3.4 ounces.
You should also pack more snacks than you think you’ll need. You’ll probably want a snack every 3 or 4 hours, so pack at least three snacks for each day you’ll be gone.
Fresh fruits like apples, pears, and grapes add fiber to your diet, plus they’re easy to eat. For extra protein, pack cheese sticks, trail mix, and jerky.
Eat Foods Rich in Probiotics
One great thing about travel is that you get to try different foods. Unfortunately, those foodie finds can lead to bathroom troubles like constipation and diarrhea.
A great way to keep your GI system in order is to eat probiotic-rich foods. Probiotics are a type of good bacteria that are great for gut health. You can find them in fermented foods like yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
Foods with probiotics can help prevent constipation and diarrhea. It can also strengthen your immune system, which lives mostly in your gut.
If you can’t find foods with probiotics, you can take a supplement instead. Today, you can buy probiotic supplements at most pharmacies and health food stores.
You can also find supplements designed specifically for travelers. For example, MicrobeFormulas offers a kit that can help prevent some of the GI issues that come along with travel.
Drink Plenty of Water
Between the dry air on an airplane and the cost of bottled water, it can be tough to stay hydrated when you’re traveling. If you’re traveling in Europe, you’ll find that many restaurants don’t automatically offer water.
It might feel like a hassle, but staying hydrated is vital to your health. Even slight dehydration can make you feel tired, irritable, or faint. For women, a 1.36% drop in hydration is enough to cause a headache.
The trouble is, thirst can feel a lot like hunger. When you feel hungry, try drinking some water first. If you’re still hungry, eat a snack or start searching for a restaurant.
A great way to stay hydrated is to carry a refillable water bottle. You can refill it when you come across a drinking fountain or before you leave your hotel in the morning. It’s also less wasteful than plastic water bottles.
It’s also a good habit to drink a glass of water before you eat. Not only is a good reminder to stay hydrated, but it can also keep you from overeating.
How to Eat Healthy on the Road and Still Have Fun
Figuring out how to eat healthy on the road can be a challenge.
When you’re trying to get your bearings in a new place, eating healthy is probably the last thing on your mind. That is, until you start feeling tired and bloated. When you don’t feel well, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself.
A few healthy swaps here can make a big difference. You’ll feel better, and you’ll still be able to indulge and have fun.
If you’d like to learn how to be healthy even when you’re not traveling, check out our health and wellness articles.