Eating Healthy While Traveling – Part 2


For me, one of the most exciting parts of traveling to new places is the opportunity to explore my destination’s unique food scene. Dining out when I’m away from home is part of the experience—it’s a fun way to break up my routine and feel more in touch with the location around me, whether I’m far from home or just a few hours away. However, I’ve found that several days of going out to eat for three meals a day can be taxing, both physically and financially. Here are some strategies I’ve learned for negotiating the tricky restaurant scene and eating healthy while traveling.


Consider a simpler breakfast

First and foremost, allow me to say: I am a huge breakfast fan and would never suggest skimping on “the most important meal of the day.” But if I know I’ve got big things planned for lunch and dinner, I’ve found that a good strategy for eating healthy while traveling is to take breakfast back into my own hands. Stocking up on a few easy items like quick-cooking oats, bananas, single serving Greek yogurt, and nuts can make a simple and filing breakfast parfait within easy reach. These staples will set you back less than a couple mimosas and won’t weigh you down for the day’s activities. Plus, one of the biggest struggles with eating in restaurants is the lack of control over ingredients—not just the visually obvious ones but also things like oils, sweeteners, and salt—and this gives me at least one opportunity each day to know exactly what I’m getting, which is important for eating healthy while traveling or not.


Make one meal a salad (or another veggie-heavy dish)

I’m not one for deprivation, and this is especially true when I travel. But feeling good is also important to me, and I know that if I get the richest, most outrageous, “house special” item on the menu every time I enter a restaurant, it will not end well and my hopes of eating healthy while traveling will be dashed upon the rocks. Especially if I’m traveling for an extended period of time, I find it helpful to focus on eating clean for either lunch or dinner, which leaves a little more wiggle room to experiment. When I get a good dose of greens and lean protein, I feel better about the meals that may fall outside of my typical nutrition profile but are high on fun and local flavor. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring, either; so many restaurants have interesting salad combinations that I very rarely feel like I missed out on something else.


Think about how you’ll feel

I remember when I was a kid (and eating healthy while traveling was NOT a priority), one of the MOST fabulous parts of going on a trip was getting to stop at McDonald’s/Wendy’s/Steak & Shake/you-get-the-idea and ordering a burger/nuggets/fries/chocolate shake/fill-in-any-and-all-junk-food here. What was stellar back in those days would leave me needing a good long nap if I ate it now. I may be dramatizing a bit here, but the takeaway rings true: something may sound good to eat, but when you think about how it’s going to make you feel, it becomes less appealing. I’m not saying that you should never indulge, but I am saying that you should think about the quality and frequency of your indulgences if you’re trying to eat healthy while traveling.

Feeling crappy when you’re traveling is a tough situation—you want to feel energized and alive so you can take in your surroundings. So throw yourself a bone and balance the treats with good eats. It will leave you feeling better all-around when you return to reality at home.

If you missed it, be sure to take a gander at Eating Healthy While Traveling – Part 1!