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Healthy Travel Tips

Today, I thought it would be fun to discuss how I manage to eat healthy while traveling.

It’s certainly NOT something that came naturally to me.

When I started traveling for work, I would indulge in all my favorite foods, as if I were on vacation! Not surprisingly, I also found myself feeling lethargic, bloated, and often coming home with an extra 5 lbs to show for it. And since I travel somewhat often, that wasn’t a habit I could afford to keep up.

Instead, I’ve found that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables keeps me awake and focused during the workday, and helps me fight off pesky colds, which can be easily caught while traveling!

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Here are  a few “Healthy Travel Tips” that help keep me on track:

1. Start your day with a nourishing breakfast.

I’m not a big breakfast lover, but when I’m trapped at the office, I always like to have a little something to give me energy in the morning. If you have access to a blender (this Tribest Personal Blender would be great for traveling!), I like to make a green smoothie in the morning–> which I either will drink immediately, or I’ll bring it to work with me to enjoy when I’m finally feeling hungry:

It’s also a great conversation starter with co-workers! (Before you know it, maybe you’ll be making green smoothies for your office, too!)

If you don’t have time or energy for smoothie-making, fresh fruit, individually packaged raw almonds, or Larabars all make great morning fuel!


2. Always have healthy snacks on hand.

It may look ridiculous, but I always keep my desk stocked with a bag of raw almonds, a Larabar, and a bar of dark chocolate. It’s always better to be prepared, rather than to be subject to sub-par vending machine snacks when your hunger unexpectedly strikes.

(Whole Foods sells these “Lunch Buddies” individually packaged raw almonds– perfectly-portioned for snacking!)

3. Pack your Lunch.

Rather than dining out, I’ll often head to the grocery store on my first day of travel and pick up groceries so I can prepare meals at home! Salads are easy to pack for lunch, as long as you keep the dressing in a separate container. I actually make a bottle of dressing for the whole week, then leave it in my office fridge to use each day!

(Cherry Chocolate Pudding also stores well in the fridge, in case you were wondering.)

I was lucky enough to enjoy some fresh heirloom veggies from my friend’s farm last week, so my salads featured some BEAUTIFUL produce:

As well as plenty of pudding.

I didn’t share with my co-workers this time, but maybe I’ll be more generous during my next trip…

4. Make smart choices when dining out.

When traveling for work, it’s almost impossible to avoid eating out all together! Business lunches and dinners, as well as social meals out with friends are a fun part of traveling for me–> and there are ways to do it without ruining your health efforts.

Salads are usually a smart choice, as long as you order the dressing on the side…

This is the Roasted Vegetable Salad from the California Pizza Kitchen–> check out the BOWL of dressing they gave me on the side! Geez!

This salad was incredibly filling, and the dark chocolate in my purse made a perfect dessert.

5. Indulge in local specialties.

I think this may be the most important rule of all–> don’t be too restrictive!! Mental health is important while traveling, too. Since I stuck to healthy choices for most of the week, I definitely didn’t mind enjoying a few special treats that are unique to the Kansas City area!

During this particular trip, I visited my favorite local bakery, Cupcake a la Mode:

This amaretto cupcake tastes just like my wedding cake–> so it’s pretty much my favorite flavor of all time. 

Reader Feedback: Do you have to travel for work? What healthy travel/office tips do you have?? Many of these tips apply to “office culture” in general… when I regularly worked in an office, I often brought my lunch to work and would try to keep healthy snacks at my desk, too!

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Comments

erin m. @ {{well in l.a.}}

Great tips for traveling. I always pack some go-to fitness equipment (jump rope, running shoes, TRX) so that I can indulge a little on the road and enjoy! I grew up in MO and moved to SoCal this fall – nice to ‘meet’ a fellow blogger striving for health in this crazy city :)!

    erin m. @ {{well in l.a.}}

    …and by fall I mean January… time to walk away from the computer!

Ilisa

This is a great article. Thanks for all of the great info! If you are interested in more tips on how to stay healthy while traveling, you might want to check out this great resource: http://www.thehealthyroadwarrior.com. It offers great information around eating on the road, workouts, flying, getting enough sleep, managing stress and more. I love the info they give! Check it out!

Holly @ couchpotatoathlete

Thank you for the tips! I totally agree with you about indulging in local favorites — why would I go eat at McDonalds while traveling when I could eat at a great place that is not near my house? And wherever I go, I have a small container or cooler full of snacks that I can eat: trail mix packs, lara bars, clif bars, bottles of water, etc.

Mary (A Merry Life)

I don’t travel for work but I definitely do travel a lot and try to eat well. I find that steering clear of fast food for local places is a good idea and stopping at grocery stores for some healthy options works well too. 🙂

jen

how do you make your avo pudding so voluminous? Mine always comes out looking like it yields a lot less! although its still super yum!

Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter

I love all of your tips! I always have to have food with me wherever I go because my blood sugar can crash, then everything goes pretty downhill from there. I have been loving how starbucks offers their oatmeals. When I’m at an airport (or roadtrip) its such a great, healthy breakfast. Top it with a banana or buy those travel-sized packs of nut butter!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

“only got a total of 10 hours of sleep for the entire weekend!!”–uumm, that’s my normal life. Parenthood, work, blogger, real life, 5 hrs a nite is a good nite. Welcome to my life!

LOL

Tips…just use common sense! Eat as much fresh raw as you can and as little crap, but dont forget to indulge in the local fare, you are so right about that! Great post!

katecooks

aw those wedding photos rocked! your travel tips sound like my daily office habits. but then when i travel, i definitely stray and have my fair share of indulgences. hopefully it balances out 🙂

Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans

Great tips. I don’t travel for work but they could come in handy for travel in general.

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo)

Love this post- I feel that I could have written it myself- I agree with all of your tips and tricks.

Like another commenter above, I often pack a jump rope and exercise bands and (sigh) my blender if I can (it’s a little one). I also carry thousands of calories of snacks with me at all times- a bit embarrassing- but I’ll have an energy bar, some soy or regular nuts, some of the tootsie roll midgees (my version of dark choc), sugarfree gum, beef or seitan jerkey, nut butter packets. And if I’m able I’ll take fresh fruits/veggies/LF cheese and always my lunch for the plane.

Thanks for the great info! Nice to see how other people struggle with these things too- traveling is definitely a challenge.

And like you, I always sample the local delicacies- I wish I could do it sans guilt, but oh well 🙂

Nicole

I also like raw almonds. They have a high vitamin E content and also vegetable protein and fiber. Additionally almonds contain minerals such magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron.Almonds decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar, but also provide antioxidants.

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