By Sam P The RD
Travel can really throw your healthy habits off track, but it doesn’t have to. With just a bit of planning, you can be well on your way to feeling just as good coming home from vacation as you felt heading out. As a dietitian working one-on-one with clients, here are some essential tips I like to share:
- Pack travel-friendly snacks and emergency foods.
- Prioritize protein and fat, since both will keep you full and satiated.
- If possible, map out your destination ahead of time and Google things like “farm to table + city”, “healthy food + city” or “gluten free + city.” Feel free to insert your own dietary parameters as needed, including vegetarian, grain free, etc. Google is your friend!
- Stick to some guidelines when you’re eating out. For starters, stick to mostly protein and veggies. Try to limit your consumption of refined carbs (like bread pasta, etc) since they tend to be less filling and much less nutrient dense than other carb options like vegetables or fruit. Even if you’re at a burger joint, you can hold the bun and get a lettuce wrap instead, prioritizing protein without the hit of carbs.
- When eating out, find balance. If you really want fries, then ask for a lettuce-wrapped burger. Really want the bun? Go easy on the fries. Decide what’s worth it for you, and adjust from there.
Options for travel-friendly perishable foods
- Raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Pre-cooked sweet potatoes
- Meats like shrimp, chicken, or beef, pre-cooked and pre-cut into strips. Shredded rotisserie chicken works great here
- Single serving packs of guacamole
- Deli turkey or other deli meat
- Hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages
Options for travel-friendly “no fridge” necessary foods
- Jerky (example brands include Epic Bar, Tanka Bar, Chomps, Nick’s, Paleo Valley,Brooklyn Biltong and The New Primal)
- Bars (Examples include DNX bar, Primal Kitchen, Epic bar, Larabar, Simple Squares, Rx Bars)
- Steve’s Paleo “Crunch” Bars and Kits
- Raw (or raw and sprouted!) nuts and seeds
- Individual packets of almond butter, peanut butter or coconut butter
- Individual packets of coconut oil
- Wild- caught canned salmon or freshwater sardines
- Fruits like apples, bananas, avocados and “cuties” (combine with a fat source)
A few more tips:
- You can order any burger dish by simply asking them to hold the bun and leave any sauces on the side.
- You can order any entrée dish that includes meats like steak, fish, or chicken by simply asking for “double the veggies” as your side instead of any higher-carb sides like rice or potatoes.
- For perishable foods, you can use a cooler or a cooler “shoulder” bag along with gel ice packs to keep foods cold during your travel time. As long as the ice packs are frozen, you should be good to go. If you’re worried about it, take a large ziplock bag through security and get ice from a coffee shop once you’re in the terminal.
What are your favorite healthy travel hacks?
Sam P is a dietician based in Austin, TX, you can find her out walking her dogs or helping her clients find peace of mind about food and nutrition here: http://mindfulbitesrd.com/