How to find healthy food while traveling

I love to travel.  Tell me I get to plan a vacation, and I’m in heaven!  I love the sightseeing, the change in schedule, and the chance to see new things and meet new people.  However, I’ve discovered that since we have changed our eating habits, eating while traveling can do a real number on me.  If I’m not careful I end up feeling awful and that is no way to enjoy a long anticipated trip!

Windy Ocean

So, I’ve come up with a number of solutions.  Today I thought I’d share with you some of my best.  Follow these and you’ll ensure you eat well (and stay healthy) while you travel.

1.  Plan ahead.  This is definitely the number one tip.  Before I take a trip, I spend a half hour doing a little research to find great places to eat, places to shop and even farmer’s markets to purchase fresh local produce.   Make sure you write down names, addresses, and phone numbers – nothing is more frustrating than knowing you found something but not remembering where (been there, done that)  I’ll usually check the following sites:

    • Local Harvest – great site for finding farmer’s markets, pick your own farms, restaurants, etc.
    • Google search – simply type in the location and “healthy restaurants” and see what pops up
    • Yelp and/or UrbanSpoon (I love the farm-to-table option at Urban Spoon – that’s MY kinda food!)

2.  Don’t eat every meal at a restaurant.  If you can, try to eat at least two meals a day in your condo or hotel room, or even as a picnic (by picking up some healthy grocery items).  You’ll save money, and calories and feel so much better eating fresher, simply prepared food versus heavy restaurant food.  When we travel, we almost always get a condo and eat breakfast and lunch or dinner there.  Anything you eat at home can easily be prepared in a condo kitchen!  Need some ideas?  How about omelets for breakfast, a salad and simple sandwiches for lunch, or even homemade pizza, Mexican food, or grilling for dinner?  You’ll still enjoy restaurant meals most days, so you’re not missing out on anything – just setting yourself up for feeling so much better the entire trip.

3.  Load up on veggies and fruits.  You won’t feel bad by eating lots of fruits and veggies.  But I know it can be hard to find them when you are traveling.  That’s why I start most mornings on vacation with my favorite green smoothie.  I load up on fruit to keep on hand for snacks, plus, every time we go to dinner at a restaurant, I’ll add a side of sautéed spinach or grilled veggies just to up my veggie total for the day!


4.  Bring some food with you.  Think about what you eat on a regular basis at home that makes you feel great, and bring it along.  I’ll typically bring a little bag of snacks for the car ride (carrot sticks, fruit, honey peanut balls, water), my favorite coffee, and ingredients for some of my easy yet healthy meals – especially the ingredients I know I’ll use but might be more expensive or hard to find somewhere else.  You’ll be amazed how much you can pack into a small cooler that will make your life easier!

5.  Remember it IS vacation.  If you follow these tips, and stay active, even with a few cocktail or dessert splurges, you’ll feel great all week and not suffer from the dreaded vacation eating guilt!