Almost everyone is traveling this time of year. Whether you’re going back home for the holidays, visiting out-of-town relatives, or crashing with the in-laws, you’ve probably been in a car, bus, train, or plane recently. Choosing to go to college halfway across the country has made me all too familiar with the struggles of traveling. But it has also allowed me to learn the best ways to travel, including simple ways to eat a relatively nutritious diet while on the road. Of course, while you’re traveling, your diet is going to be a little off from your normal routine. But that doesn’t mean that the only options are fast food and candy… Being prepared and knowing what to expect is the best thing you can possibly do when planning for travel.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
First things first. It’s very important to stay hydrated while traveling. However you’re getting around, you’re probably a little cramped and stuffy. The air may be dry and it’s good to keep your skin (as well as the rest of your body) hydrated. Plus, not only are disposable plastic water bottles bad for the environment, they tend to be extremely over-priced when traveling.
Portion Out Your Snacks Ahead of Time
When you’re spending a lot of time traveling, it’s easy to mindlessly eat. Especially when you have a huge bag of snacks and none of them are portioned out. As long as you know those foods that you have trouble limiting yourself with and plan accordingly, mindless eating won’t be as much of a problem. It helps a lot to set aside a single portion, rather than bringing the whole bag of something. I like to use either tupperware of my reusable ziploc bags to pack my snacks.
Be Vigilant When Purchasing Food
While you should always keep a look out with the foods you’re buying, it can be especially important when traveling. As we all know, foods on-the-go tend to be extra processed in order to preserve them for long periods of time. This means they’re usually high in salt and/or sugar. Train yourself to look at every nutrition label prior to purchasing on-the-go food products. Particularly keep an eye on sodium and added sugar.
Bring Your Own Silverware
This one is more sustainability-based. Bringing your own silverware can prevent plastic waste every time you want to eat using silverware. You may want to bring a few of each, in case you end up needing them multiple times and don’t have a way to wash them. I really love to use this bamboo silverware and bring them everyday with my lunches. They’re also super handy to keep around while traveling!
Focus On Nutrients
When traveling and in everyday life, we tend to focus too much on calories, when in reality, we should be focusing on nutrients. Foods that are nutrient-dense generally tend to be lower in calories anyway, so it’s a good strategy. They also tend to be less processed. And if you’re worried about getting sick during travel, nutrients are especially important, since they play a huge role in immunity. For instance, rather than choosing a burger on a white bun, go for a turkey sandwich with veggies on wheat bread, or a salad. When I eat like this, I also just feel better overall. Fortunately, as people become more health-conscious, many more nutritious options are becoming available. So it’s easier than ever to pick something healthy off the menu!
Do Your Research
Every train, airport, and highway route is a little bit different. It can be really helpful to do your research prior to taking a trip. Meaning, look up the train menu, the food offerings in the airport, or the restaurants you’re going to pass when on your road trip. This way you’ll know your options ahead of time. If you see that there is almost nothing healthy or nothing that you like, then you may want to consider packing some extra food. If you find that there are lots of offerings that you’re interested in, you may not need to pack as much food as you thought. You might be pleasantly surprised by the food options out there! The key to eating healthy while traveling is being prepared.
Wherever you’re traveling this holiday season, it’s important to stay safe and healthy! And a huge part of health, as we all know, includes the food that we eat. Use these tips while traveling to have a more enjoyable trip and holiday season in general. Safe travels and Merry Christmas!