Feeling extra salty or bloated while on vacation? This post will help you eat healthy while traveling by sharing some of my go-to tips and healthy recipes. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!
If there’s one thing more challenging than eating clean while on a date night, it’s eating clean while traveling.
Oh you guys, I know this so well. Because our family loves to travel. Dustin, I, and the kids have pretty much gone cross country way more than your average Brady bunch. And with traveling comes, well, the eating.
Maintaining a healthy diet while also trying to relax and have fun may seem like an impossible task. I mean at the end of the day, it’s a vacation and you want (and deserve to) indulge.
That’s totally encouraged, but ideally, we can do this without too many dietary regrets. So, today I’m going to be sharing with you some very effective tips and recipes to help you eat healthy while traveling.
Common Dietary Mistakes While Traveling
I’ve found that the most common mistakes that we make while traveling can be summarized by the following three points:
- Skipping breakfasts: Are you also the queen/ king of sleeping in during vacay? While waking up late may encourage you to skip the first meal of the day, don’t! You need that morning meal to keep your metabolism going strong and to stave off food cravings while you explore. A quick bowl of oats or some avocado toast will do just fine.
- Eating at every stop: This one tends to be tricky for me because I LOVE trying new things. Good way around this is to share what you purchase with your family or friends (this is very effective between my 4 kids and Dustin). I also have a guide on How To Eat Healthy At Restaurants which is handy when ordering out.
- Not drinking enough water: Dehydration can make you think that you’re hungry, when in fact…you’re really just thirsty. So make sure you always have a bottle of water with you when traveling. If you’re not a fan of plain water, you can fruit it up with these 5 Easy Infused Water Recipes!
How Do You Pack Healthy Food for Travel?
Packing healthy food for travel involves some planning ahead and the right containers. But don’t worry, this investment of time and resources will pay off again and again (in both your health and your wallet). It’s worth it! Here are some things that help me effectively pack for a healthy day:
- Stackable containers: My kids love these! Not only are they durable but they also attach to each other…which makes both fun and easy to pack. All you have to do is pull them up by the handle and you have different compartments full of different healthy snacks.
- Bento boxes: If you want to pack an entire healthy meal, a bento box is your best bet. They are divided into different sections so you can throw in an entrée, a sauce, and a side without the entire thing mixing together.
- Ziploc bags: I swear that Ziploc bags are literally gifts that keep on giving! Not only are they space savers, resealable and reusable (I always try to reuse mine to reduce waste), but they’re also transparent. This certainly helps when you’re searching for the perfect snack in your bag full of guides and museum tickets.
*Learn more and get my Ultimate Guide to the Best Meal Prep Containers!
How Can I Eat Healthy At An Airport?
Traveling is fun but the food options at the airport…not so much. Would you rather risk getting pulled aside by the TSA to throw out your yogurt, or go to an overpriced Sbarro? To be honest I’ve experienced both and thought this experience was inevitable. But I’m telling you now that THERE IS A WAY to cooperate with the TSA. Or find healthy options in the airport. Here’s what I do now…
- Search in advance for healthy restaurants: Almost all airports have the restaurants listed online. All you have to do is Google a bit and see what they have on their menu. You can also find reviews on Yelp.
- Bring your own snacks and food: Now this might seem a little risky because of the TSA’s tough reputation but I’m 100% sure they will allow this homemade Banana Nut Bread. The main thing you want to avoid is liquid foods (like yogurt and smoothies), especially if it’s they’re over 3oz. Solids are fine, according to the TSA website.
Can I Eat Cheap and Healthy While Traveling?
It is completely possible to eat cheap and healthy while traveling. As a family, try picking only one meal to “splurge” on when you’re out for the day. Instead of eating every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in an overpriced restaurant, pack up two meals.
This will usually involve a few trips to the local grocery store…but I actually find that quite comforting when away from home! Once we reach the hotel room at our destination, I restock as needed and pack the fridge with healthy goodies like veggies, ingredients for a good-for-you trail mix, and easily transported fruits like bananas and blueberries.
Doing this will keep you from overspending on food and also keep the travel weight off. Get my Grocery Shopping Tips: A Guide To Saving Time & Money At The Grocery Store
What Are The Best Foods for Traveling?
If you want to look extra glowy for your photos, these snacks will keep you healthy and happy while traveling!
1. Sandwiches and Wraps
Sandwiches are the easiest meal to assemble in 5-minutes. Additionally, they’re convenient to store and super versatile for handing out to the fam on a long road trip. You can stick with your classics or try something new! A little jar of homemade strawberry chia jam and peanut butter is nice to have on hand when hunger strikes. Wanna try my Avocado, Turkey and Hummus Wrap? It’s high in protein and fiber!
Please also know that not all deli meats are healthy. They are OK in moderation but make sure you’re not getting a high serving of nitrates each time! You might find my post about the 10 Best Packaged Deli Meats helpful (it also lists which ones you should avoid).
If you’re starting to feel a little drained, reach for the fresh fruits! I’m not suggesting you haul around an entire watermelon, but it’s great to have some bananas, apples, and oranges close by. You can also chop up a fresh fruit salad and get it through the TSA —-> as long as there’s not a ton of liquid (keep it under 3 OZ).
You know how airline schedules can be. It’s not always easy to stop for a meal anyway, so pack snacks that everyone loves and you’re good to go!
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds! Nuts and seeds! There’s a reason I’m cheering for these two. The ultimate energy booster, nuts and seeds are unperishable and energy champions. They’re easy to pack, and full of protein, healthy fat, AND fiber, making them the perfect snack for your trip. For a sweet option with flavors that everyone adores, try my 5-Minute Maple Almonds.
Yep, healthy eating and sweet delights can go hand in hand. No added sugar in this recipe, maple syrup adds sweetness instead of the processed sugar you’ll get in packaged stuff.
4. Lean protein
As someone who’s pretty much hungry all the time…I need filling snacks. That’s where protein comes in! And is key when you’re wondering how to eat healthy while traveling. To stay full and energized, you could pack up some hard boiled eggs, a decent brand of protein bar, organic beef jerky, or whole grain crackers with a healthy nut butter.
Get the full rundown on my favorite high protein snacks here. Many of them are easily packed and transported, removing the need to stop at convenience stores. Bonus!
5. Granola Bars
Granola bars have saved my family from a hangry meltdown countless times…just be sure to take note of the nutrition labels (there are a lot of hidden sugars in popular store bought brands). Ultimately, I usually make them at home. My Homemade Granola Bar recipe is free of refined sugar, full of protein, delicious, and good for you!
More Travel Friendly Snacks
In a nutshell, I like to take my healthy eating habits (and plenty of water) along with me when I travel! These recipes will get you through a journey in the car or an adventure on the plane. Wherever you may be!
- How to Make Hummus + 4 Easy Hummus Recipes
- Flaxseed Apricot Bars
- How to Make Homemade Granola Bars
- No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Spinach, Egg White and Zucchini Lunch Wraps
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