My strategy for eating clean while traveling is to take a food kit with you. Yes, that's right, BYOF (bring your own food)!
It's easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle when you're at home. But occasionally you might need to travel and having a plan to avoid diet pitfalls will help you tremendously.
When I travel, as soon as I get into town, I hit the nearest grocery store. I'll stock up on fruit, veggies, easy to eat snacks and meals. Since a lot of hotels don't have refrigerators, I buy one of those disposable styrofoam coolers, fill it up with ice from the hotel ice machine, and store all of my food that I want to stay cold.
Now, I know most people aren't going to go through all that. Your next best bet, is to take along a food kit filled with foods that don't need refrigeration.
Here are my food kit suggestions:
Many items you can buy in packages that make it convenient for travel, i.e., vacuumed packed tuna pouches, almond butter packets, individual almond packets, raisins and oatmeal.
For items that don't come in neat little packages, make your own. I made my own packages for the pistachios and protein powder (which were portioned off as one serving per bag).
To save space, I put some seasoning for the tuna in a bag instead of taking the bottle. Also, I took the crackers out of their box, opened the bag to release some air so I could stuff it inside my bowl to prevent them from getting crushed while traveling.
Bringing your own bowl and silverware is convenient so you don't have to bother room service to bring you anything. It's also a good idea to bring a little soap and a sponge to clean your bowl and utensils.
If you're flying with only a carry-on and are worried about getting your silverware through security, just bring plastic silverware instead. Also, in the case of flying with just a carry-on, you might want to skip storing your food in a plastic container. To save luggage space, place the items wherever they can fit in your bag.
- Oatmeal with raisins. (You can use the hotel coffee pot for hot water to make your oatmeal.)
- Crackers with almond butter
- Protein shake (Mix with water. Or if you want to get almond milk or juice, mix with either of those.)
- Tea (Most hotels have coffee and tea, but sometimes we just want what we like, so bring your own.)
- Lemon pepper tuna (If you're not up for eating it plain, ask room service to bring you some lettuce and make a wrap out of it or add it to a salad.)
There you go! A food kit that will help you stay on track while you're away from home. If you wanted to, you could eat only from your food kit while you're traveling (just be sure to load up on veggies once you return home).
But with most travel, there will be social gatherings. With that being the case, try to eat items from your food kit (keep them handy in your purse or bag) until you find yourself at a luncheon or dinner.
At that point, don't go crazy and eat food that will undo all of your good efforts. My number one dining out food option would be to order a large mixed greens salad, topped with grilled chicken and a vinaigrette dressing.
Additional travel tips:
- Make sure you don't skip meals. Eat every 2-3 hours to avoid insulin spikes. Have one of your travel snacks to keep your blood glucose levels stable.
- When dining out, avoid starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.) as much as you can because restaurant portions are always too large. Instead opt for and load up on non-starchy carbs (green vegetables).
- Before heading out to a restaurant, look at the menu online. Pick out your healthy meal choice before even getting to the restaurant. This will help you avoid impulsive bad food choices.
- If you're visiting friends or family, let them know that you're watching what you eat. This way, if they were thinking of making a pie for you or taking you out for ice-cream, they can think of other things to do for you.
- Limit your alcohol. My number one choice would be to have a single glass of red wine. Avoid sugary mixed drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, daiquiris, etc.