Healthy Eating Tips While Traveling And On Vacation
Eating healthy while traveling and on vacation can be tough especially when you have a family to feed. Most of us have been in a situation at a fast food drive-thru after a long day of driving with the family. Everyone is tired, the kids are fussy and hungry and all you want to do is eat and get to your hotel. This is after consuming whatever packaged junk food you decided to take for the trip. So McDonald’s it is!
Guys, I’ve totally been there! Although it was years ago, I understand and can relate. But, the good news is that it totally doesn’t have to be that way with some easy planning and food preparation. Most of us just don’t think about all of the healthy options that are available. Our last long road trip was three years ago when my husband switched duty stations. We drove from Kentucky to California then to Colorado with two adults and four kids. We never made a fast-food stop, and we ate one meal a day (usually dinner) at a sit-down restaurant that we planned ahead by researching so we knew that they would have healthy options. So it is very possible I promise you!! Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure you eat healthy while on vacation or traveling.
- Bring a large cooler to pack food: I can’t tell you how important this is! With a cooler you are able to pack food that needs to be kept cold. You can use the cooler for healthy snacks such as cheese (preferably grass fed or organic), yogurt, and cooked meats. Fill it up with ice and even if you stay at a hotel that doesn't have a refrigerator, all you need to do is replace the ice!
Make a grocery list of healthy items that are great to travel with:
Fruits : Bananas, apples, berries, grapes, avocados
Vegetables: Bell peppers, cucumbers, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes , celery, romaine or bib lettuce (for wraps)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Tuna fish
- Deli meats ( nitrate and hormone/antibiotic free brands such as Applegate Farms, Diestel, and Nieman Ranch)
- Nuts ( try to get one that are raw with no added oils or salt)
- Meat bars such as Wild Zora and Epic bars
- Fruit and Nut bars such as Larabar
- Dried coconut
- Plantain Chips
- Seaweed (my favorite brand is Sea Snax)
- Sweet Potato chips (I like Jackson’s Honest because they are cooked in coconut oil)
- Whole fat grass fed single serve yogurts
- Raw or grass fed cheese ( cheese sticks or you can cut your own cheese and put in bags)
- Nut Butters (almond butter, sunbutter)
- Grass Fed Whey protein can be a great way to get in some extra protein if you are able to tolerate dairy
- Bottled water
- Kombucha, coconut water or La Croix Sparkling water are all great alternatives for juice or soda
- Buy lots of ziplock bags, a roll of paper towels, bring at least one sharp knife to cut with and some plastic utensils and I bring some glass or plastic containers for food as well.
3. Food Prep:
- Wash and dry your fruits and veggies and cut the ones that need to be cut up such as bell peppers or cucumbers. Put everything into ziplock bags or containers. I like to bring fruits that don’t need to be cut and can be eaten easily like the ones I have listed for you.
- The veggies I like to bring I always wash, cut up, and put in bags. I bring lettuce for lettuce wraps (meat, avocado, cheese wrapped in lettuce makes for an easy meal in the hotel room) I will wash and dry the leaves and store them in a large ziplock bag with paper towels to absorb moisture.
- I have a delicious avocado tuna salad which uses avocado instead of mayonnaise which isan easy dish to prepare ahead of time and and store in a container for the trip.
- Hard boil a dozen or more eggs and peel them. Then store them in a container or bag. You can even put some seal salt on them as well. This makes for an easy filling snack while on the road.
- If you decide to bring nuts you can get creative and make your own trail mixes by combining different types of nuts, add in some dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, coconut flakes, and even add in some dark chocolate chips. You can make this easy for snack as well by storing in individual bags for easy snacks.
- Cut cheese into cubes and store in a bag
- Nut butter packs are a great snack while in the car. I also always bring a large container of almond butter for healthy snack option if staying at a hotel.
- If you tolerate dairy and bring some grass fed whey protein powder I suggest preparing single portions in zip lock bags, or you can buy the single serving packs from the store.
4. Plan your stops ahead of time:
If you do stop for a sit down meal I suggest you plan out before your trip where you will stop each night and then search healthier options to eat. There are certain chains such as Chipotle that provide much healthier options than somewhere like McDonalds or Taco Bell. Even stopping by a Jimmy Johns and opting for a sandwich wrapped in lettuce ( they will do it if you ask) without all the mayo and dressings is also a better option! By planning ahead you will set yourself up for success instead of ending up in a some small town that only has unhealthy choices to eat.
So that is it! If you follow these 4 simple steps next time you travel or go on vacation you will be nourishing your bodies with healthy food and won’t need to buy any of the junk!! I know this may seem like a long list but I have tried to brake down each step for you to make it easier. It really isn’t that difficult. If I can do it with 4 kids I promise that you can do it too it just takes a little planning and taking some time to prepare your food!