Healthy Eating While Traveling

It's challenging enough to try to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis, but if you're traveling for business or pleasure, you might find that eating healthy is an even more difficult task. In different surroundings, with the combination of new enticements and a somewhat limited control over food choices, you might think eating healthy while traveling is a lost cause. However, there are some things you can do while traveling to keep your nutrition habits in check.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles    to top

Getting to wherever you're going while traveling can really wreak havoc on your nutritional sense. Chances are that you'll be bored in at least one of three scenarios: waiting to depart, in transit itself, or waiting to arrive. Spending hours in a car, on an airplane, or even on a train usually means trying to do something to kill time, and many people use eating to help pass some of that time. Why do you think airline passengers seem so anxious when the stewardess dispenses those tiny little bags of peanuts? It's something to do! And have you ever thought about the fat and calories you're ingesting for that not-so-satisfying snack? Instead, here are some ideas to help you fight the urge to splurge:

  • Try to do something else during your transit time by planning ahead. Bring a book, magazines, paperwork, or electronic games—or just relax and take a nap.
  • Eat a healthy, full meal before you head off to the airport. Then, pass on the meal when the stewardess offers it, saying you're not hungry.
  • Pack your own healthy, satisfying snacks for the trip. There's no rule that says you can't bring your own low-fat crackers or cookies, pretzels, fruit, or popcorn in your carry-on bag. Also, drink plenty of water while traveling, especially if you're flying. It will help your body fight dehydration, and it will help make your stomach feel full.

Healthy Hints
Did you know that many airlines quietly offer low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, fruit plates and vegetarian meals as an alternative to the regular offering? There's usually no extra charge, but you must alert the airline of your meal preference when you make your reservation—advance notice is always needed.

Dining Out: Restaurants, Room Service, and Hotel Mini-Bars     to top

So you've arrived at your destination and so far have maintained your vow to eat healthy while traveling. Now you just need to get through a week of hotel mini-bars and dining out for every meal, every day. Believe it or not, you can overcome this potential disaster. Here are some ideas to get you through these tempting times:

  • Try to maintain a normal eating schedule—breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a few light snacks in between. Resist the urge to eat every time food is made available to you. Just because it's there doesn't mean you need to eat it.
  • Decline your hotel room mini-bar key at check-in. If it's already there in the room when you check-in, take it down to the front desk and tell them you don't want it in the room with you.
  • Try to eat "normal" meals. That is, if you usually have a bagel for breakfast, skip the breakfast buffet with bacon, eggs, and pancakes, and pick up a bagel and a piece of fruit instead, just like at home.
  • Plan ahead each day of your trip. If you know you're likely to have a heavy meal—a fancy dinner, for instance—plan accordingly by eating light and healthy for the other meals of the day.
  • Avoid the urge to drink beer, wine, or cocktails; instead, use those calories on something else you'd rather splurge on—a special dessert, for example.
  • When dining out, or when ordering room service, control the things you can. Tell the waiter you'll pass on the breadbasket; order condiments—butter, dips, sauces, and salad dressings—on the side or skip them altogether; substitute low fat or fat free sour cream, cheese, or butter if possible.
  • Instead of pouring your salad dressing over your salad or drenching your vegetables in butter, leave those items on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing or butter before using it to snag your next bite—you'll get just enough of a taste of the salad dressing or butter to satisfy you, without all the extra calories.

Healthy Hints
ust because you're traveling doesn't mean your exercise program has to come to a screeching halt, especially if you plan to indulge a bit on your trip.
Take advantage of your new surroundings to take a walk each morning, or use the fancy health club on site to offset the extra calories.

  • Most importantly, take it one day at a time. Just because you have one bad day of over-indulgence doesn't mean it has to be an entire week of over-indulgence. Motivate yourself to get back on track tomorrow.

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