I speak at various chef conferences and women’s groups throughout the year, which means I travel quite a bit. In fact, I just got back from a weekend trip to Rhode Island. Traveling can take a toll on your health not only because the lack of sleep, but the lack of healthy food that is available. If you’re like me, you’re probably always in a rush to get to your gate and destination and so food is probably something you really need to plan for. Since I can’t always be cooking gourmet meals while I’m traveling, so I’m sharing my best tips for eating healthy while traveling:
- Decide Which Foods You Can Indulge In – Before you leave on your trip, decide what foods are a “no go” and what foods are okay to compromise on. Maybe you should skip that doughnut but having a coffee is okay. Be prepared with any temptations that might come your way by already knowing whether or not you will say “yes” or “no.”
- Pack Healthy Snacks Ahead of Time – If you ever travel with me, you will see that I pack a giant ziploc bag full of goodies I take with me when I travel in my carry on. No one likes to be stuck in an airport, hungry with nothing healthy to eat. I pack a lot of granola bars, Bob’s Oat Bars are my favorite gluten-free bars ( you can find these at Central Market or HEB). Why granola bars? They offer a little bit of natural sugar, fiber and they provide me with protein to keep me full longer. Just make sure you buy a quality granola bar that uses natural sugar and limits the syrup and junk put into it. Raw nuts like almonds also make a hardy snack, along with fresh fruit like apples, bananas, grapes or “cuties.”
- Bring a refillable water bottle – This might seem obvious, but it’s too easy to get dehydrated when you’re traveling because water isn’t always readily available. My tip is to bring your own refillable water bottle and fill up at the airport where you can. Some airports will have refilling stations or you can even find a drinking fountain. It will save you a few bucks to bring your own. If you don’t have the room to carry a water bottle, make sure to purchase one before you hop on the plane. Don’t rely on getting water while you’re flying. Have your own plan to hydrate. Avoid alcohol and soft drinks – they dehydrate you!
- Look at dining options ahead of time – As a chef, I love to eat, so I am always checking out what restaurants and dining options they have near or at my hotel. Find some places to eat ahead of time that have healthy options for you. More and more restaurants have gluten-free options. Call ahead and find out! Make sure you check out the breakfast options ahead of time to ensure they have something you can eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you wouldn’t want to skip it simply because they don’t have something you can eat and enjoy. If you have to, stop at a grocery store and stock up your mini fridge with some healthy options to grab in the morning.
- Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry – I’m not the type who needs to be reminded to eat, but for others, traveling long hours can distract you from nourishing your body. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, because then a burger and fries is going to sound good and it will be harder to resist. Eating small snacks every 3 hours helps me stay full and energized. Because let’s face it, traveling is exhausting!
As you can tell, a lot of eating healthy happens before you travel. All it takes is a little planning! Happy and healthy travels!