Healthy eating and travel: can it work?

I’ve been traveling for the past week, and I’m still going. I’m not sure if travel and healthy eating can go in the same sentence, but I’m going to try to make some sense of the whole thing.

Situation #1: You hardly travel and decide to live your life and not care about what you’re eating.

Situation #2: You travel frequently, but maintain some balance but fall into the trap of “it’s not like I’m HERE every day” so you can enjoy so local cuisine.

Situation #3: You don’t care either way.  This person is probably not reading this blog post.

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I do believe there can be healthy eating and traveling. I do believe in the 80/20 lifestyle. When I go on a serious vacation, I don’t care about what I’m eating. I do trust myself to live that type of life and get back on the healthy eating habits.

I do travel frequently, and it’s hard to fall to into the trap of “I don’t come here every day.” It’s just a choice that you have to feel comfortable making. Last week, while at Mom 2.0 Summit, I decided to live a life without counting calories. If the food was free, I was going to eat it. Luckily, the food selection was pretty healthy, but there was quite a bit of alcohol. I did drink it and had a good time with old and new friends. Quinoa salad, wraps, chicken sausage, grilled chicken, and salmon were some of the menu items.

This trip I said things were going to be different. It’s all about making better choices that will allow you to splurge later. When I decided to go to Cincinnati, the one place I wanted to eat was Hofbräuhaus. I’ve run Flying Pig before, but I was very early pregnant and couldn’t enjoy the food OR BEER. If I’m eating healthy for the week, going there really won’t do any damage in my life.

You have to decide how you’re going to handle the food while you traveling. It’s okay to have the local cuisine while traveling and you should enjoy it. It is always about choices.

Road tripping

Here are on my tips for eating healthy while traveling:

1. Make a plan. Are there a few things you are looking forward to during the trip? Do you plan on drinking a lot of alcohol? These are all things you need to figure out before you go so you can decide where you will splurge and where you will cut back.

I know when I’m drinking “more” then I like to eat a bit healthier, so my body doesn’t rebel against me in the end. If I’m going to go off the diet for a bit, I make sure I drink more water to stay hydrated and not feel so bloated.

2. Prep some snacks with you. If you plan out your snacks and already have them ready, you probably won’t be eating a huge amount of food when you’re off plan. On this road trip, there were snacks for everyone that really didn’t need a cooler. It’s kind of a pain to keep up with a cooler with fresh fruit. I packed dried fruit, Clif Bars, peanut butter crackers (for Tiny Tot), string cheese, grapes, turkey jerky, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs.

3. Plan ahead. Know the places you want to eat and what’s on the menu. When you plan ahead, you’re not searching for food and willing to settle for anything to eat because you are hungry. Also, you can scope out the healthier choices on the menu.

4. If you do have to stop at a fast food place on the road, some restaurants are better than others. You can order your food the way you want it so don’t be afraid to make your personalizations. I also like to go to places that offer more sides than just french fries.

My favorite places to stop:

Chick-fil-a: there are many options here for salads, wraps, grilled chicken and options with sides besides something fried.
Taco Bell offers a great power bowl option that you can customize to your nutritional needs.
Subway: this is a go-to because you can get any sandwich as a salad or you can eat off the Fresh Fit menu.
Chipotle: the food is fresh, and you can customize to your nutritional needs.

These are just a few places that are common in the areas around where I travel. I know fast food restaurants vary from region to region.

My plan while traveling in the car is to always be prepared. That includes knowing what time you’re going to stop to eat or your options when you get there. Plus, prepping the car with snacks and water is always helpful for when you’re in a jam or just get the car munchies. If there’s a healthy snack to reach for, you’re going to eat it and feel better about yourself.

It’s also important to know your destination so take the time to look up menus and find places you are interested in eating. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying foods off your regular eating habits. I suggest that you practice some balance between splurge meals and a more balanced diet.

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying healthy while traveling?

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