Eating healthy while traveling can be a daunting task for anyone beginning a transition to a healthier diet. Some may decide to put good choices aside when they take a trip, fly, or go camping for a week. Because I have two trips in July where I’ll be traveling in a car for 2 days to attend a personal development course in BC, and then to New Zealand for work, I thought I would take the opportunity to share how I manage eating healthy while traveling and staying on track.
First thing I do is stock up on things I can take with me, non-perishables. Things like: trail mix, dried fruit (make sure to get non-sulphured, non-radiated brands), raw nuts, power bars (I eat only Sunrider ones), herbal teas (again Sunrider), etc. Be careful if going over the border – you have to make sure they are all in the original, sealed packages. If any are opened they could be confiscated. You can’t take fresh fruit and veggies over a border either – but you can take it with you to eat on the plane – just dump any in the trash before you hit customs.
Airplanes have very poor food choices, so it’s important to have healthy snacks like raw almonds better suited to support your health. Depending on the length of the flight, you might consider a nutritional shake as well.
Stocking Up After Arriving
Once I get where I’m going, depending on my accommodation situation, I usually hit the grocery store first – looking for an organic one nearby. If I’m in a hotel, I order a small fridge for my room and gladly pay the extra fee if they charge one for it. Last one I got was $20 a day – but is worth it to me for my health. If I’m at a “bread and breakfast” or Homestay situation, I make sure there are kitchen facilities before I book it. So my healthy travel eating starts when I am making my travel arrangements – way in advance of actually getting there. Planning ahead is key.
I also bring a good veggie rinse with me so I can wash my produce well, especially if I can’t get organic. Sunrider manufactures a fantastic fruit and vegetable rinse that I’ve used for years.
I usually make a list for groceries that looks like this:
- organic granola or oatmeal
- almond or soy milk (preferably almond)
- fresh fruit, enough for the week or period I’m there. Things like bananas, apples, apricots, oranges that are easily eaten without a knife. I also get kiwi fruits, berries and ones that go well in smoothies.
- fresh bunch of spinach
- a bag of baby carrots and/or snap peas
- hummus if I can find it
- large jugs of bottled water, distilled preferably
- a bottle of organic pure apple juice
- salad stuffs or mixed greens
- limes (for salads)
- either a small bottle of olive oil or Braggs or both (depending on length of stay and kitchen facilities)
- veggies I can easily cook if I have a kitchen (sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, chard, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini (or in NZ as they call it there, a courgette), mushrooms)
- hemp hearts if they have them
- raw pumpkin seeds if they got those
- raw nuts like almonds, brazil or walnuts
- organic eggs if having cooking facilities
- brown rice
A Sample Healthy Day While Traveling
Each morning I make my own breakfast which would consist of oatmeal and eggs if I can cook – fruit (eating the fruit 30 first, then digesting for 30 minutes before eating granola) and granola with almond milk. Herbal tea and water.
I then make a green smoothie of 2-3 fresh fruits, 1/3 an avocado, hemp hearts, handful of spinach, 1 cup almond milk, a few raw almonds – fill blender to top with purified water. I sweeten it with a few drops of Stevia if need be. I take a jug with me that holds 32 oz (900ml) and I fill that with smoothie and take with me for morning snack time, or sipping on during the day. I also take a power bar with me and some carrots.
Lunch is usually on the go or out, so next week I’ll talk about eating out at restaurants and how to read menus and make good choices.
If dinner is in and I have a kitchen, I’ll steam some veggies, make some rice and eat them with just Braggs on them. I snack on veggies or maybe some rye crackers and hummus in the evening and have more water and herbal tea.
So when asked the question “How to eat healthy when traveling”, I find the best answer is to plan ahead. Ask questions about where you are staying and make choices on the location based on the facilities available. Be willing to pay a little more to get a fridge or kitchenette so you can do some food storage and preparation – even if it’s only breakfast.
Worst case scenario – if you’ve got no kitchen or fridge – fill up the bathroom sink with ice every night, and again in the morning and put your food in there if it needs to be kept cold. Leave a note so the cleaning ladies don’t drain it. Tell them – sink drained = no tip! They’ll get the hint.
Next week, I’ll continue the series on how to eat healthy while traveling.
Until then – be well and be happy!
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