One of my favorite things to do when I travel to a new place is to eat my way through the city, so to speak. Basically, I like to try out the best-rated restaurants and lunch spots on yelp and experience the local cuisine.
That doesn’t, however, mean that I throw away any and all caution to eating healthy while I’m traveling. Essentially, I stick to eating the same way I do when I’m at home – with a focus on protein, healthy fats, and moderate carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables and some grains.
Yes, it can be somewhat tougher eating healthily and sticking to a nutrition plan while away from home, but it’s completely doable if you set yourself up for success. Success in this aspect means a little prep work, a little research, and a little planning.
And before I go into the 5 tips, I have to make known: one thing I don’t do while traveling is stress out about eating. There’s no need to add any additional anxiety/guilt/stress about eating. Relax, it’s vacation!
Problem: The hotel we stayed at in Santa Monica had the most beautiful display of all every kind of pastry you could imagine for breakfast. But that was it. Since I don’t crave dessert upon waking up, this generous complimentary breakfast wasn’t going to work for me.
Solution: Google the nearest Whole Foods/Natural Grocer/Market that sells healthy food. I found a Whole Foods that was 1 mile from our hotel, and proceeded to get my breakfast there every day except for one while we were in Santa Monica. Not only did that provide a lovely walk every morning, but it also provided me a hot bar full of delicious, healthy food of my choice for breakfast:
Tip: bacon weighs like, nothing! This whole plate cost me $5!
Problem: The only food there was in the room was mnm’s and chips (true story – not even a fridge!)
Solution: Bring your own travel-friendly food. I brought along KIND bars, Quest bars, beef and turkey jerky, grain-free macaroons (- which would also make a great Valentine’s Day truffle!) plantain chips, and coconut chips for snacking on the plane and in the room.
Problem: You’re away on business, and will be eating dinners out with colleagues a lot.
Solution: Check out the menu beforehand. There’s a healthy option anywhere you look. If there’s not a healthy option on the menu, figure out how you can ask the server for a modification to make one. Also, try to order it first so you don’t experience any pressure from what others’ are ordering.
Problem: It’s hard to stick with healthy eating/a nutrition routine when the rest of your routine is all out of whack, as well.
Solution: Try to keep routine as much as possible (unless this stresses you out.) This means keep up some form of exercise. You might not be able to hit up your usual Tuesday morning spin class, but could you run some sprints on the hotel treadmill? Lift some dumbbells around? Get in a hotel workout? Do it – even if it’s just 10-20 minutes, and it will set the tone.
The hotel gym where we stayed left much to be desired, but I got in a couple short (15-20 mins) workouts in when I woke up, did some yoga and walked a LOT. Some other routines I practiced: I couldn’t bring along my foam roller, but I brought along The Stick and used that at night. I also tried to read before bed, which helps me get a good night’s rest for the next day!
Problem: There are temptations everywhere!
Solution: Choose which temptations you really, really want to indulge in. For me, it most certainly was not the pastries at the complimentary breakfast. I chose my indulgences. The San Diego beer tasting or splitting a piece of cheesecake for dessert? Sign me UP! Just because there are cheap cookies offered at the conferences you attend, doesn’t mean you need to eat them. Instead, choose something that will really satisfy you, like the local milkshake place across the street that locals love.
Do you have trouble eating healthy while traveling?
What tips can you add to this list?