It’s time to get away and you want to feel your best. These healthy travel tips will give you the tools and tactics you need for your best vacation yet!
It must have been my fifth trip around the airport corridor. I read every restaurant menu board and scoured all three convenience shops and I couldn’t find a thing to eat. There was plenty of food, but I really didn’t want to start out my vacation eating junk. I vowed to be better prepared next time and, boy, have I come a long way.
Last week, we spoke about the importance of having the right mindset to have a healthy vacation. The way we think about our time away can predict a lot of what happens, helpful or otherwise.
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In addition to examining our thoughts, being prepared can really put us at an advantage!
Below, you’ll discover a bunch of ideas and a bit of gear that will help make eating well and moving consistently while traveling much easier!
Healthy Travel-Friendly Gear
Over the years, I have come across several healthy travel-friendly tools that make being on the road easier. I hope they help you as much as they have me!
- Water bottle with a built-in filter. Rather than spending $4.00 on a bottle of water, you will always have clean agua on hand. This setup works great in airports as you can bring the empty bottle past security and fill it up when you arrive at your terminal. Please note, this is not advised for foreign travel as the filters in these travel bottles will not sufficiently clean your water. In this case, you’ll want to opt for bottled water.
- Blender Bottle is a simple way to mix up protein shakes while on the go. The inner whisk will get all the lumps out and make a simple powder and water shake taste much better!
- Packit Freezable Lunch Bag. This handy little bag can be frozen prior to leaving and will keep your food cool (not cold) without the addition of messy and bulking freezer packs. Plus, it is foldable and very compact for storage while you are away. Great for on the plane!
- Simple Ziploc bags. To easily pack healthy meals for your adventure, consider using Ziploc bags for just about anything (well, besides soup). Nope, it’s not glamorous and yes, it is messy, but you can neatly store several meals + snacks without any fuss. Be sure to bring along disposable utensils too.
- Exercise band with door adapter. While some hotels and cruise ships are equipped with high-end gyms, average accommodations often have less-than-average gym space. A band is a great way to get in a full-body workout without taking up a ton of luggage space. The door adapter is important because it allows you to perform a lat pull down, an easy move to miss out on when you are lacking gym equipment. You can find a ton of workout ideas on Pinterest.
Healthy Travel Food
When on the road, having healthy travel snacks packed is key. Delays and traffic jams, they happen.
This way, if you arrive at an exit where the only meal option is something cooked on a hot dog roller, you’ll have a backup!
Here are a few healthy travel snacks to fill your bag.
1. “No Cooler” Options
If you’re driving from home, consider taking some foods directly from the house, even though they may not be shelf-stable.
Foods like a hard boiled egg, fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, a cheese stick, and (if you are brave like me) last night’s leftovers will last several hours unrefrigerated if they are not in a hot environment.
You may also want to consider freezing some items so that they can thaw en route. Great examples are muffins, mini-quiche, and even mini-meatloaves if you like cold meatloaf.
Other purse-friendly options include:
- Nuts. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans all make a filling and nutritious grab-and-go snack. My suggestion is to portion them out individually in snack size bags to avoid overeating them. Especially the cashews!
- Nut butter or coconut butter packets. Easy, pre-portioned and always tasty.
- Naked Nutrition protein powder (the chocolate is AH-MAZE-ing) in a shaker bottle.
- RXBAR. These bars are my favorite! Real food ingredients that will fill you up and make your tummy happy.
- Quest Protein Bars and snacks. Convenient and, unlike most protein bars, they don’t contain a ton of added fillers.
- Larabars. Bars that are simply dried fruit and nuts. These can often be found in gas stations and airport snack shops.
- Tuna or salmon packets. These can be eaten plain or added to a grab-and-go salad (I’d skip them on a plane…eww!).
2. “I Have a Cooler” Options
If you have a cooler, anything is game! Below I will list some more travel-friendly options, but don’t be shy to pack anything you’d like to have.
- Hardboiled eggs
- Cheese sticks
- Whole wheat muffins
- Single serve hummus and baby carrots
- Nut butter and fruit
- Turkey and veggie wrap
- Single serve guacamole and mini peppers
- Deli meat
- Greek yogurt
- Single serve cottage cheese
3. Healthy Travel & Eating Out
In How to Eat Healthy on Vacation (You Need This Mindset), I discussed the importance of how we approach our meals out. Here’s a quick recap:
- Balance your meals. Aim for some protein, starch, veggies, and a bit of fat.
- Choose only the best. When ordering indulgent foods, opt for those that are truly “worth it.”
- Listen to your body’s cues. Regardless of what and how you are eating, your hunger and fullness cues will give you a huge advantage as you eat.
- Eat your meals mindfully. Pay attention to the taste and experience. Don’t gobble your food.
You are on vacation and you WILL be eating out. Enjoy it but do so with your goals in mind!
How Will You Travel?
In this section, I am going to give you specific tips for your mode of transportation. Healthy travel via land, sea, or air– I’ve got you covered.
On The Road
Road trips are fun but pit stop food is not always that great. Be sure to fill up a cooler with plenty of healthy travel snacks and take a few moments to scope out upcoming exits on a maps app.
If you are gas station bound, keep your eyes open for fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, oats that you can easily add hot water to at the coffee bar, and protein bars.
Consider having some tasty, no-calorie, naturally sweetened drinks on hand such as Sobe´Life Water or Vitamin Water Zero. This way, if the munchies hit (and we both know they will!) you will have the treat to look forward to. Chewing gum is a great alternative too.
Also, audiobooks are a great way to pass the time while you are on the road. Your time will go by faster and there will be less of a pull to entertain yourself with food. Most libraries offer free audio books for your phone through the Overdrive app.
Ah, one place you do not have to worry about having available food is a cruise ship! Morning, noon, and night- there is food. Lots and lots of food.
Believe it or not, I have actually found cruises a very EASY place to eat well. Buffets have lots of healthy travel options available and waiters are always willing to accommodate your preferences.
Do not hesitate to ask for what you want. If you want two servings of sea scallops, you can have them.
The only “complaint” I have about cruise fare are the beverages. Included drinks are typically water, iced tea, hot tea, and coffee. There are often plenty of fresh fruits to flavor your water but, after a while, they can become tiresome.
Did you know that you can take a case of water or your favorite drink onto a cruise ship? We also take packets of water flavoring and even herbal tea bags to make hot or iced tea.
It’s just a nice way to add some variety to your day without having to purchase an overpriced, soda-centric beverage plan from the cruise line.
Cruise ships often have great gyms and walking tracks to help keep your activity levels up. We also opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
In The Air
Traveling by air is the most common way to get away. Unfortunately, flying isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Early arrivals to accommodate security checks, overbooked flights and delays mean that planning for the plane can be rather unpredictable.
To avoid being caught off guard, always pack food for the entire day, especially if a connecting airport has a poor food selection. You can do a simple Google search before heading out to see what your airport offers.
Otherwise, feel free to pack any solid foods. Meaning, anything from sandwiches to salads is game; just avoid packing liquids.
Before you head back home, consider picking up some healthy travel eats to take on the plane with you, if you know the airport is lacking.
A Hotel Stay
Similar to a cruise ship, hotels are (usually) happy to accommodate their guest’s requests. Before you leave home, take a moment to check the hotel’s website to see if they offer an in-room mini refrigerator and microwave.
If not, call ahead to request one. There may be a small fee, but it is well worth it to have the option to keep healthy travel foods on hand.
We often plan on eating breakfast in our room and stock the fridge with some fruits and vegetables for snacks. This way, I don’t feel pressured to eat everything on my plate when dining out, knowing that I have some filling options to eat if I get hungry later.
Hotel gyms really vary. I find that most focus on cardio machines, which is pretty lacking in my book. Depending on our itinerary, I will hunt down a local gym and get a pass or rely on an exercise band for resistance exercise.
If our trip includes a lot of activity, I may opt to skip formal exercise altogether.
Your Healthy Travel Tactics
I hope that you have found these ideas helpful and that they give you some food for thought as you prepare to embark on your getaway.
It is a good reminder that being healthy travel isn’t just about making healthy choices– it is about making healthy choices EASY. By preparing in advance you can make a vacation time that treats your mind and body well.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.