For the past month I have been traveling for work and weddings, home just for a day or two and then off again. Airplane, bus, train or car, you name it I have been on it this past month. One of the most common issues I hear from my clients who travel is “you can’t eat healthy when you are on the road”. As I was traveling I kept that statement in mind and challenged myself to prove them wrong and to come up with some new travel tips and foods.
Whenever traveling fast food chains are what most of us feel we must resort to. Pass a McDonald’s rest stop on the MassPike; Johnny Rockets, Dunkin Donuts and California Pizza Kitchen are the first things you see when you enter your terminal at Logan airport, or pizza place and pretzel stand appear to be the only option at a bus terminal! In actuality there are plenty of healthy options that don’t include fast food. And to be honest there are plenty of fast food chains that offer healthy alternatives, you just have to have the willpower to order them in front of those glistening french fries! What happens to most of us, including myself is we use traveling as an excuse. It is our excuse to indulge, treat ourselves and as the advertisers planned it, we can’t see past the bright red and yellow neon signs to find other options.
Well your travel food guide pyramid does not have to look like this anymore. The times are changing, and so is what the consumer is demanding for snacks and meals offered. The “2012 Snacking Consumer Trend Report” found two fifths (40%) of consumers acknowledge they’re snacking more on healthier items than they did two years ago. The challenge is in the planning and looking for better options out there.
Try these tips and foods when traveling:
#1. Pack your own snack/meals.
- Pack a cooler for road trips – fresh fruit, waters/seltzers, hummus, vegetable sticks, multigrain pita chips, whole wheat wraps, Greek yogurts, string cheese etc
- Pack portable foods in your bag/purse: 100 calorie packs of nuts, protein bars, Snack Attack Packs, tuna packs, trail mixes etc
- Bring a water bottle to fill up while traveling so you stay well hydrated
#2. Make a mental plan.
- Each night before traveling/while away think about the day ahead
- where do you plan on getting your meals from?
- what meals are social and what meals are on your own?
- look online/smartphones to find whats restaurants are available and look at their menus for the best options
- what are you going to order for drinks (water, seltzer, alcohol?)
#3. Realize everywhere you go there is a healthy option, it is up to you to look for it and choose it.
- Look beyond the neon signs, there is often small “mom & pop” type restaurants and cafes that have healthy, home cooked meals
- Think Green when you want to order lean – look for vegetable based meals
- Use Harvard’s Health Guides Tips when ordering
- Check out Fitness Magazine 24 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Foods
#4. Let your Smartphone be your guide. There are many apps out there that are fee and inexpensive that can help you find healthy food choice near you.
- Eat Well for Business Travel: Insights on how to eat well around the world, including airports, business meetings, client dinners and many other places where business travelers often have trouble making healthy choices.
- Healthy Fast food: lets you make good choices while enjoying a visit to your favorite fast food restaurant.
- Good Food Near You: Type your location into this app and it’ll list healthy choices from nearby eateries
- VegOut: vegan, vegetarian or are simply seeking a veggie-friendly restaurant, VegOut will find a suitable eatery in your desired location, sorted by distance
- GateGuru: serves as the leading light to locate the best food, shopping and service options within any airport at the touch of a button
- Fooducate: apps uses an algorithm based on information on a product’s package: the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list and provides a letter grade.
- Locavore: will make searching for in-season, local food a breeze by pinpointing farms, farmers’ markets, and CSAs nearest you
- Happy Cow: Find vegetarian friendly restaurants near by.
#5. Convenience stores carry convenient yet healthy snacks.
- Pharmacies (CVS/Walgreens), 7-11, airport kiosks etc all carry healthy snacks at the front of the stores now
- You will find: hummus packs, tuna & crackers, fruit bowls, cheese & cracker packs,
seltzers, yogurts, nuts, string cheese etc
- Stock up and bring back to hotel rooms, on the plane or in the car
I am not going to lie, eating healthy while traveling take a little bit of effort and planning! However the pay off is amazing. Imagine returning home from your trip at the same weight, feeling good and still on track with your health goals, when has that ever happened? My Healthy Snacks, Will Travel Guide is a great starter for tips and snack/meal ideas. They key to all of this is a plan and commitment to yourself that you are going to look past the neon fast food signs to see there is a world of healthy and delicious food when you travel. My challenge for you is the next time your travel follow the Healthy Snacks, Will Travel Guide and share with me and our reader via facebook or twitter pictures, tips and stories of your adventures of eating healthy foods while traveling.