Staying healthy while traveling can often prove to be challenging. But with a little planning and fore site, it really doesn’t have to be.
Travel a lot for work or planning a little road trip for fun? Whether you’re hitting the road for a weekend trip, a weeklong trip or are a dedicated traveler on the road for months for pleasure or for work, here are some easy tips that can support you in maintaining a healthy diet while traveling.
If you’re traveling on a plane to another destination over Thanksgiving or Christmas, then check out the list of specific food recommendations. If you think there’s not going to be a lot of healthy food options where you’re going, having some back up snacks with you will support you on your journeys!
Pretty much all of the following helpful tips fall under one larger category: being prepared, planning ahead and staying organized.
4 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
1. Map Out Fresh Food Access Points
Start by looking at where you’re going to be traveling to and for how long. What you decide to pack in terms of food, will depend on where you’re going. I’ve done lots of trips where we had very little access to fresh food, so I needed to pack extra backup foods. (These backup foods are what I consider to be the next best thing after fresh foods, Fresh is best, but if you don’t have access, then healthy dried foods that keep for longer will go a long way in supporting your health on the road.
The power of the internet makes everything easier. Depending on where you’re driving through and/or staying, look up local farmers markets online for that area or try to find a local health food store, or map out the locations of Whole Foods and stock up the coolers when you’re passing through.
Also check out www.happycow.com for a potential list of some healthy restaurants you might want to visit along the way. This is a great resource for vegetarian, vegan, raw food restaurants and other healthy “alternative” restaurant, complete with reviews to help you decide.
Even if you’re not traveling long distances, become familiar with the farmers markets and health food stores and healthy restaurants around where you live.
2. Pack Kitchen Essentials
I always pack at least 2 coolers with me on road trips. Other kitchen essentials that I pack include: a cutting board, plate, small bowl, jar (very multi-functional but great for whipping together salad dressings on the fly), and basic cutlery (I love bamboo to-go ware) and a big bowl for salads and a decent knife with sheath guard. I also pack a small plastic bin with some dish soap if we need to be doing our own dishes at campsites, and a couple of tea towels or a roll of paper towels. With this list, you’re good to go: you can easily stop and pick up some whole food ingredients and whip something together like an easy dip, a salad and dressing or a fruit salad. If you really want to go all out, you could even pack with a little bullet blender and stop and make your own smoothies!
3. Pre-make Enough Food for the First Few Days
If you’re only going for a few days on the road, take the time to plan out your meals and pack enough for those few days. Make a big smoothie for the first day on the road and pack a pre-made salad and dressing. Bring enough fruit with you and restock along the way if you need to.
When packing fruit, try to pack a combination of ripe fruit as well as less-ripe fruit that will ripen over the course of the next few days or even over the course of the next week. If you’re going for more than a few days, green bananas are great to bring, and you can eat them as they ripen. So are oranges, apples, green papayas. Fruits like berries and grapes will tend to go off the fastest, but I can never resist buying fresh berries from local farmers markets!
4. Pack Healthy Foods
Here are some food-specific recommendations when it comes to packing foods for traveling:
- Stock healthy snacks like raw dehydrated power bars or bliss balls that keep for at least a couple of weeks in the cooler.
- Pack a raw dehydrated granola for an easy breakfast move while on the go.
- Pack some dried fruits like dried persimmons, prunes (which will at least help keep you regular!) dried figs, dates, or mulberries for a quick healthy snack.
- I love to pack my favorites wraps (sundried tomato wraps and plantain tortillas) as well as dried nori to roll up meals on the go.
- If you’re traveling somewhere that might not have a lot of fresh produce, consider packing a healthy green powder or some superfood powders like Moringa, Spirulina or Chlorella to add to water or smoothies.
- I also like to pack a jar of tahini as well as either fresh lemons, organic lemon juice (I like the Santa Cruz brand) or a small thing of organic balsamic vinegar.
Wherever you’re off too, have a wonderful time! Explore the fresh fruits and vegetables that are local to the area you’re traveling to!
If you’re looking to get away in the New Year, check out our private Raw Food Vacations here in Hawaii.
Live Free, Laura D. Author of Mindful Eating for Dummies as well as Unhooked, A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food.