Traveling can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, you’re thrilled to be seeing new places and immersing in unique cultures, but figuring out how to eat healthy on the road can be downright stressful. Needless to say, indulging in local delicacies can shake up your routine.
Although you should always give yourself the chance to sample these once-in-a-lifetime flavours, you can also ensure you’re eating healthily the rest of the time you’re traveling. These seven tricks will help you do it.
1. Scope Out the Hotel
When you’re on a business trip, you might not have much say in the place where you stay. However, you can still do some pre-travel research to see if your lodging has the amenities you need to eat well while you’re there.
If you get to choose where you stay, though, look for a few details that will help keep you on track. For example, if your room has a mini-fridge, you can store quick breakfast bites and healthy snacks inside. You can also check to see if there’s a grocery store near your hotel, so you can stock up on these foods.
Perhaps you have a go-to chain restaurant with a healthy, quick breakfast or lunch. You could even choose your hotel based on its proximity to that feature, too.
2. Research the Breakfast Options
To that end, you should look into the hotel’s complimentary breakfast, too, if that’s included in the price of your stay. Knowing what’s on the menu can help you scope out the healthiest options and keep you from resorting to the pastry basket. Don’t be afraid to ask for a customized option to make your morning meal healthier, either — plenty of hotels will accommodate you with eggs your way or a veggie-filled omelet.
Sometimes, you might be better off avoiding the breakfast buffet altogether. This is especially true if you feel like you might give in to temptation, or if you feel as though there aren’t enough healthy alternatives on the table. You might try bringing your breakfasts, as previously suggested, or stopping by another eatery for a healthier start to your day.
3. Prep for the Plane
Another place where it’s easy to falter is the airport. When you feel your tummy rumbling in the terminal, you’ll be surprised to find healthy food is either incredibly expensive or non-existent. Plus, the light snack airlines provide on the plane won’t hold you over if you’re already hungry, either.
So, pack some healthy airplane snacks ahead of time in preparation for the inevitable hungry feeling. To that end, be sure you have enough to get you through your long-haul flight, too — that way, you can maintain your snack and meal schedule even 30,000 feet in the air.
4. Drink Water Throughout
There’s no shame in letting loose a little while you’re traveling — we shouldn’t be shy to indulge in a few drinks each night, especially if the area is known for a certain a wine, spirit or cocktail.
However, alcoholic beverages can be extremely dehydrating, especially if you’re not drinking plenty of water to replenish your stores. And, if you’ve already skipped the H2O on the plane, then you’re probably starting out your journey on a hydration deficit since air travel is known to be dehydrating.
Often, thirst is mislabeled as hunger, which can cause us to eat more. That’s why drinking water is such a vital part of everyone’s healthy eating to-do list, especially while you’re on the road.
5. Order Smart When You’re Out
You’re traveling, which means you either don’t have access to a kitchen, or you don’t feel like cooking your meals after a long day sight-seeing or attending meetings. Going out to eat is the perfect cap for all this activity, but it’s so easy to give in to temptation when you’re ordering from a restaurant’s menu.
There are plenty of ways to ensure you’re eating well while dining in a restaurant. For instance, you can check out the menu beforehand and pinpoint dishes that fit your lifestyle. That way, you can order without perusing — and potentially falling victim to a too-good-to-pass-up temptation you’ll later regret.
On top of that, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how a dish is prepared to make sure there aren’t any hidden unsavory ingredients. Don’t be shy to ask for a customized meal, either — you might request grilled chicken instead of fried chicken in your salad, for example. This swap usually will be simple for the eatery to accommodate, and it’ll make you feel much better about your meal.
6. Go Green
When you’re out to eat or filling up your plate at a conference luncheon, you can make a simple, healthy choice when it comes to your side dish — go green. Loading your plate with veggies will give you plenty to munch on, so you don’t feel as though you’re depriving yourself of all the goodies on offer. But at the same time, you’ll feel good about the fact that you’ve piled your plate high because the majority of it has a high nutritional value.
This is an excellent strategy if you feel like indulging a bit at a meal. For example, you can have a pasta dish as your main, but ordering a salad to start or a side of green veggies — and eating those first — can stave off your hunger, so you don’t overdo it.
7. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Finally, it’s vital that you remember where you are — you’re not at home, and you’re certainly not in your regular routine. Sure, you want to maintain your healthy lifestyle as much as possible, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you break from the norm while you’re traveling. Indulging every once in a while is what life’s all about — especially life on the road.
With these seven tips, you can feel good about the choices you make while you’re in far-flung locales, whether for business or pleasure. And, when you get home, you might not feel the travel fatigue you’re used to. Instead, you’ll resume your regularly scheduled programming because you didn’t stray too far — even if you were far away.