How to Eat Healthy While on the Road

  • Now that summer is over and the school year is back in full swing, you might find yourself traveling more for work or taking a weekend road trip with the family. So how do you eat healthy when you are on the road? Here are a few tips that might help.


    Be Prepared

    If you are traveling for your job and know you are going to be stuck in your car or on an airplane, the best thing that you can do is to pack healthy snacks so you don’t get stuck with having to eat chips, crackers, and other packaged snacks when you get hungry. Some of my favorite things to pack are protein bars, high-fiber/high-protein granola bars, and nuts.  Since they don’t need to be refrigerated, you can keep these in your briefcase, backpack, or luggage and grab them when you are feeling hungry between meals. 

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    If you are going on a flight that’s during mealtime, consider packing a lunch before you leave your house to take on the plane.  You can take any food from home, except liquids, through airport security. I often carry an empty water bottle with me through security and then fill it up at the water fountain before I board the plane.  If you don’t have time to pack anything, consider grabbing a healthy meal at the airport before takeoff.


    Do Your Research

    If you are taking a road trip, plan mealtimes accordingly.  If you know you will be on the road during a meal, pack a lunch from home. This will not only save money and time spent on the road, but you will have a much healthier meal.  If you don’t have a cooler, opt for a sandwich with peanut butter and non-perishable snacks such as fruit, whole-grain crackers, and nuts.


    If you plan on grabbing food on the road, do your research on which fast food chains have the healthiest options. Grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, subs, and wraps are better than the typical burger and fries.  Avoid ordering the combo meal; stick with a sandwich and water to decrease the calories, fat, and sugar.


    Surviving Conferences and Meetings

    It’s exciting to have the opportunity to attend a professional meeting, but the long hours of sitting in a conference can be grueling. We aren’t as active and often overeat sweets and other snacks because they are readily available.  Know which types of meals and snacks are going to be served before you go so that you can plan accordingly.  Try to grab a light breakfast before the meeting starts or pack something. Good choices are protein bars, eggs, oatmeal, high-fiber cereals with low-fat milk, or Greek yogurt and fruit.  These are much better choices than the typical doughnuts, pastries, and bagels that are served. Keep snacks with you to munch on throughout the day.


    If lunch is “on your own,” consider using that time to go for a quick walk instead of sitting in a restaurant.  Sometimes it’s hard to fit in exercise at a conference, but if you think about going for four, 15-minute walks throughout the day, you will have logged four miles! 


    If you are going to a dinner meeting with colleagues, suggest a restaurant that you know has healthier options.  Order an appetizer or salad as your meal, or ask a co-worker if they would be interested in splitting an entrée. Keep your choices simple: grilled chicken, fish, or a salad and avoid the high-calorie sides, such as potatoes or French fries. Ask for a salad or vegetable instead.


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    Lastly, if you will be away for an extended time, try to stay at a hotel that has a refrigerator or kitchen. You can stock your fridge early that week with bottled water, cheese, fruit, and yogurt so that you have plenty of healthy food on hand.


    The Bottom Line

    Traveling can certainly take us out of our eating and workout routine.  But with a little advance planning, you can stay on track by eating healthy and staying active!

Published On: October 07, 2014