Toll Free: (855) 808-MAUI (6284)

A Guide to Eating Healthy While Traveling

17 Sep 2019

There are many scientifically-proven health benefits of travel that focus on the positive impacts a trip has on your health and well-being. While traveling can make you happy, get your creative juices flowing, and relieve stress, it can also make it difficult to maintain the healthy eating habits you follow at home. Your daily schedule disappears when you travel, which is exciting but can also make it tough to focus on eating the right foods at the right times.

When you’re traveling, you may also be confronted with more decadent indulgences or a lack of access to the usual healthy foods you eat at home. Follow these tips so you can stay healthy and enjoy all the benefits of traveling on your next vacation.

 

Come Prepared

Travel days can be long and stressful. The last thing you want to worry about is what food options will be available as you try to reach your destination. Being prepared with your own snacks is the best way to control what you’ll be putting in your body while traveling.

If you’re piling in the car for a road trip, pack some snacks for you and your passengers that will keep your energy level high and your mind focused. While you’ll likely pass several rest areas, fast food joints, and convenience stores, the healthy food choices available in these places may be limited. 

More often than not, these spots largely offer processed foods or products that are high in carbohydrates and fats. These snacks may fill you up, but may cause you to crash and feel lethargic after you’ve eaten them. Some of the best healthy road trip snacks you can pack from home include the following:

  • Beef jerky

  • Carrot sticks

  • Grapes

  • Protein bars

  • Mixed nuts

  • Roasted chickpeas

  • Cheese sticks

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Dried fruit

  • Dark chocolate

  • Vegetable chips

  • Cereal

If you’re off to the airport to catch a flight, grab a few snacks from home that travel easily, such as granola bars, dried fruits, or peanut butter pretzels. With some healthy snack options in your bag, you can ensure you’ll be fueling up on calories that’ll make you feel good instead of tired.

 

Research, Research, Research

You may have already obsessively researched shopping and tourist attractions in your destination. You may have even done some investigating to make sure your hotel has a hairdryer. But did you research the local cuisine? It’s important to review the types of food that will be available to you at your destination if you want to eat healthy on your trip. This is also a crucial step in the planning process if you or a traveling buddy have food preferences, allergies, or dietary restrictions.

For example, if you’re a vegetarian heading to the second largest Hawaiian island, be sure to look over the best vegetarian restaurants in Maui before you head out. You’ll be more relaxed as you travel to your destination knowing there are plenty of tasty options waiting for you. It can also help reassure you that you won’t have to miss out on local fare just because you want to eat healthy or have certain dietary restrictions.

 

Hydrate

A travel day can be extremely dehydrating, especially if you’re traveling by plane. According to Dr. Matthew Goldman, MD from the Cleveland Clinic, about 50% of the air that circulates in a plane’s cabin comes from the outside air at high altitudes. This air has significantly less humidity in it than the air we’re used to breathing, which can dry out your body, eyes, nose, and throat. Pack an empty water vessel with you so you can keep it filled and continue hydrating throughout the day.

Once you get to your destination, continue hydrating as much as you can. Your increased activity levels, change in cuisine, and tendency to spend more time outside than you usually do can cause you to feel the effects of dehydration easier. If you don't drink enough water, you can get a headache, feel tired easily, or begin to feel dizzy and weak, which can ruin your vacation. 

 

Hit the Grocery Store

Whether you’re staying in one of the best resorts in Maui or a cabin nestled in the Smoky Mountains, it’s a good idea to take a trip to the local grocery store and stock up on snacks. Even if you’re traveling to an all-inclusive resort that includes your food and drink, a trip to the grocery store can save you from late-night cravings. Some of these resorts only offer food at certain times or may only offer a “late-night” food menu in the middle of the night. These menus may only include fried foods or other unhealthy options that can leave you feeling some regret in the morning.

If you can grab a few healthy snacks that you enjoy and keep them in your room, you’ll have a way to satisfy your late-night or early-morning cravings. This eliminates the stress of finding a local establishment that’s open and serves healthy food last-minute. 

 

Relax and Enjoy Yourself

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology tested how deviations from the pursuit of a goal affected the long-term outcome of that goal. It concluded that a few planned deviations, or instances of “being bad,” actually improved the likelihood of reaching a goal and sticking with positive lifestyle changes. In other words, don’t get upset if you eat an unhealthy meal or two while on vacation. In the long-run, these small, planned slip-ups might be good for achieving your health goals.

Your vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing. You should use these tips to ensure your body feels great while you explore and enjoy your destination. However, don’t let the pressure of eating healthy ruin your vacation. Enjoy local cuisine, don’t deprive yourself of items you want to try, and have an enjoyable and stress-free adventure.