Sunday, May 13

Healthy eats while traveling

Over my years of traveling, I've developed a few strategies for eating healthy while I'm on the go.

To be clear, while vacationing, part of the fun is trying the local delicacies.
(In addition to my intense wanderlust, I also happen to be an adventurous eater.)
If that means eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast and po-boys at lunch, I'm in. If that means trying barnacles for an afternoon snack, then eating bites of jamon on bread at midnight, and washing it all down with cava, I'll gladly oblige.

But those trips are the exception, not the rule. In general, I try to keep things as healthy as possible, especially when I'm on the road for work.

Here are some of the tricks I use to eat well when I'm traveling:

  • Grocery stores are a traveler's best friend. Many markets have a good salad bar (Central Market, in Texas, is one of my favorites). But even without a salad bar, I've been known to make a lovely lunch out of a couple of pieces of fruit, a single-serving yogurt, and a bag of mixed nuts.
  • While TSA has taken away most of my favorite travel food options, I still pack some things with me for the trip.
    • I often bring a snack (a piece of fruit and some almonds, or cheese and whole grain crackers) for the flight so I'm not tempted to spend $4 on a can of airline Pringles. (I did once have an overzealous TSA agent re-screen my lunch bag 3 times because of an apple, but I finally got ticked off, said "just search the damned bag," and haven't had another incident since.)
    • These days even McDonald's sells oatmeal, but why pay $3 when you can pack your own for about 25 cents? I measure 1/4 cup of quick-cooking oats plus flavorings (cinnamon, raisins, walnuts, and ground flax seed) into snack-sized plastic bags. I make these oats the same way I'd make one of those single-serving oatmeal packets. The result: all of the convenience and fewer preservatives (the key: be sure to use quick-cooking oats).
    Homemade single-serving oatmeal packs: cheaper, healthier, and no preservatives.
    • I pack a few bags of my favorite herbal tea. If I can brew a cup of tea in my room, it keeps me from wandering down to the hotel bar for a nightcap or over to the local coffee shop for a beverage (which usually leads to buying a pastry). 
  • For dinner, I often order salad and an appetizer. If I get an entree, I wind up over-eating because I know I'm not going to take the leftovers "home."
  • If I do get an entree for dinner, I will often ask to swap a calorie-dense side (like butter-laden mashed potatoes) for something healthier (like steamed broccoli).
What travel tricks do you use?


  1. These are great ideas- love it! :)

  2. These are great tips! When I'm traveling with someone I often like to get a salad and split an entrée at dinner, but when I'm alone I usually try to get a small plate rather than a full-sized entrée. Sometimes I get seduced by rich foods on the menu, though....


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