Healthy Eating Tips for Travelers
By Megan Roosevelt, RDN and Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com
One of the most difficult times to eat healthy is when traveling. Traveling can also throw off our schedule, increase stress and interfere with quality sleep. The best way to eat healthy when traveling is to plan ahead! Below are a few key tips to keep in mind that will hopefully help you nourish your body & feel better the next time you travel!
Plan Ahead: If you wait until you are in a new city and hungry to find a healthy meal you are much more likely to eat whatever is easiest and convenient, and not necessarily the most nutritious. Instead, pack healthy options with you for the airplane or car ride, go online & look up restaurants in the area that you can visit or see if there is a grocery store that you can visit for fresh fruit, nuts & other healthy snacks.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great travel food because it’s non-perishable, it’s easy to pack, it’s affordable and super-good-for-you! Bring plain oatmeal package with you & all you have to do is add hot water & you have a mini meal! Coffee shops are also usually easy to find & offer cups, hot water and even fresh fruit such as bananas for toppings! You can also pack additional toppings for your oatmeal such as nut butters, nuts and seeds.
Hot Ginger Water: When we travel, we’re exposed to more germs! One of my favorite healthy travel tricks is to fill my water bottle with fresh ginger & then when I get to the airport, I stop by a coffee shop to fill up with hot water! It’s wonderful to have hot ginger water when traveling! Ginger root contains anti-inflammatory compounds, that among many other benefits can help kill rhinoviruses which are the predominant cause of the common cold. Nutrients in ginger can also help to relieve a sore throat. Helpful hint: You can also use your hot ginger water to make your oatmeal on the airplane!
Water & Nuts: Sometimes while traveling, there are just no good options around, I find many airports to be completely devoid of healthy options. This is why I try to always have water and nuts wherever I go, airplanes/airports are climate controlled dry environments which suck the water right out of our bodies, often hunger can be satisfied simply by drinking 16 ounces of cold water. If water is not enough, a handful of nuts and seeds pack protein, fat and fiber which can fill you up and provide your body with the nutrition it needs to make it through until you can find a full healthy meal.
Whole Fruit*: Apples, bananas & oranges are all pretty easy to travel with and are great snacks! Here are some tips when traveling with fruits:
- Apples are delicious, but be aware that since you eat the skin it needs to be clean. I suggest washing and drying your apple and then wrap it in a paper towel and plastic bag before you leave the house. This keeps it clean and provides a handy bag to wrap the core in if a garbage can is not close by.
- Bananas are one of my favorite on-the-go snacks. Be careful with them on an airplane trip though; they bruise easily and have a pungent smell when peeled. Be aware not to annoy others on the airplane with your banana snack & peel. One positive of a banana while traveling, if you are careful, you can peel and eat it without touching the inside, no germ transfer even if you don’t have a chance to wash your hands.
- Oranges, when in season, are like candy! And they’re my favorite airplane whole fruit snack. They do not bruise very easily, and they smell great when peeled; your seat neighbor will appreciate you peeling an orange over a banana. Oranges are packed with Vitamin C, great for fighting germs. Similar to an apple, travel with it wrapped in a plastic bag and make sure your hands are clean before peeling it.
*Be aware if you are traveling to or from places like Hawaii where produce is sometimes restricted.