With the school year coming to an end and travel restrictions loosening up, many of us are making travel plans for the summer.
Experiencing new cultures, sight-seeing, shaking up your regular routine, and spending time with friends and family are just a few reasons people hit the road. Food is a big factor in travel too; in fact, it can make or break your trip in some cases. Trying new foods and enjoying the fresh, local flavors is something a lot of people look forward to. On the other hand, overindulging in rich foods can really take the zen out of your adventure. Even mild discomfort caused by unhealthy meals and snacks can put a damper on things.
While no one expects you to stick to your regular diet 100% while you’re traveling, there are some strategies you can employ to minimize the bad-for-you foods so you can enjoy your trip to its fullest.
Even if you’re not a snacker in your normal, day-to-day life, snacks will be a lifesaver while you’re away from home. All that adventuring burns a lot of calories and you may find yourself needing to refuel more often. Failing to keep hunger at bay may result in hanger—and no one wants to be around for that.
So pack plenty of healthy snacks before you leave, or make a trip to the nearest grocery store as soon as you arrive at your destination. Some good options include:
Other fruits like grapes, berries, oranges, and bananas
Carrots, celery, and other ready-to-eat vegetables
Whole-grain crackers and pretzels
Snack bars (Pro tip: Many snack bars aren’t much healthier than candy bars, so pay special attention to the label. Look for whole grains, nuts, and fruits in the ingredients list, with few added sugars.)
Your snack supply should be larger than your estimated needs, so that you don’t have to buy a few chocolate bars somewhere at the last minute.
Cook for yourself when you can
If you’re the type who goes on vacation to escape meal planning, cooking, and clean-up, feel free to skip this section. You won’t get any judgment here.
If you are willing (and have the option) to stay in for the occasional meal, this is your chance to enjoy cheaper, more nutritious food in a quieter, more relaxed setting.
Start your day with a healthy (and filling!) breakfast. This is good advice for any day, but it’s especially helpful when you’re on vacation.
Keep it simple. It doesn’t get any easier than sandwiches. Keep whole-wheat bread, lean meats like turkey and chicken, and veggies on hand so you’ll be able to whip some sandwiches together at any time.
Make it a group activity. There’s something about traveling that makes mundane tasks like chopping up vegetables more fun. Many hands make light work, so get as many people involved as you have kitchen space for. If you’re aching for the familiarity of home, make a favorite family recipe to bring the essence of home to your new surroundings. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try something new!
Make smart choices at restaurants
Avoiding restaurants entirely will likely be more trouble than it’s worth, if not impossible. There’s no reason to skip every restaurant in town, especially if you’re smart about the food you order. Here are a few tips:
Order a vegetable with every meal. And no, French fries don’t count.
Split a meal with a travel buddy. Most restaurant meals are oversized, anyway. If you consistently try to eat everything on your plate, you’ll be in for some uncomfortable hours ahead.
Seek out items that are grilled, baked, or steamed rather than fried or sauteed.
Salad is an option on just about every menu. Order a vinaigrette-based dressing if available. Just be sure to pair it with some protein and/or complex carbs to ensure you won’t be hungry an hour later.
Research restaurants in your area and book a table before heading out the door. Some restaurants—especially fast food—aren’t going to have many healthy options. Scoping out what’s available beforehand will make it easier to fill up on the good stuff.
You won’t always be able to make perfect food choices while eating out—and that’s okay. Many people take Unicity Balance once or twice a day to support their digestion and weight management on the go. This becomes even more important when you’re away from home and don’t have as much control over the foods you eat.
Unicity Balance is a pre-meal drink with a patented fiber matrix that includes bioactive plant compounds, polysaccharides, and micronutrients. Packaged in single-serving sachets, Balance easily goes wherever you go—something that’ll really come in handy while you’re traveling. (Just make sure to take it 10–15 minutes before your meals.)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It’s easy to forget to drink water while you’re out and about, but staying hydrated while traveling is more important than ever. Being dehydrated can really drain your energy levels and make you miserable in other ways, and no one wants that while they’re on vacation. Carry around a reusable water bottle so you can drink and refill as needed.
If you need a break from water, avoid soda and sugary drinks if you can. A drink like Unimate can give you a boost of flavor and mental energy for that all-important afternoon pick-me-up. And, like Balance, it comes in individual sachets, ready to be added to a glass of water at a moment’s notice.
Enjoy the cuisine
Eating healthy while traveling will help you get the most out of your trip. However, don’t let it stop you from trying new foods and enjoying meals you don’t have to prepare. The suggestions in this article aren’t meant to guilt you into staying away from every indulgence. Rather, they will help you balance out the unhealthier food options that will come your way. Striking a balance that works for you will only make your trip even better.