Traveling can send even the healthiest eaters over the junk food edge. Something about leaving our zip code makes us want to replace the five food groups with all things rich, fatty, and fried.
There are three primary reasons we tend to ditch healthy eating while traveling. First, we aren’t always in control of our food options when we’re on the road. Second, travelers often eat at restaurants, which offer fewer healthy options than when cooking at home. Lastly, many people like to eat fattening foods while they’re traveling.
If you want to eat healthy on your next trip, consider the following tips:
1. To avoid compulsive eating on the go, pack healthy foods in your luggage and in your carry-on bag. Foods like dried fruits, low-fat granola bars, and nuts travel well and are easily disposed of. If your travel plans permit, pack fresh fruits to stave off snack attacks.
2. Look for “spa entrees” or other healthy options when dining out. Many restaurants indicate which entrees are heart-healthy. When in doubt, avoid all things fried. Select lean cuts of meat, and substitute potatoes or other starches with brown rice and/or steamed vegetables.
3. Try to maintain the same eating schedule you keep at home. Traveling can send your eating schedule into a tailspin, particularly if you’re used to having small, healthy snacks throughout the day. If your schedule only permits one to two big meals per day, tuck aside raisins or popcorn to munch between meals.
4. Watch out for buffets, which are known health busters. Stick with salad, grilled meats, and fresh fruits.
5. If you’re going to a party, eat a small apple 15 minutes before arriving, particularly if you’re really hungry. Doing so will curb your appetite and prevent you from gorging on the first fatty foods you see.
6. If you know junk food is on the docket, research healthy food options at popular fast food restaurants before you travel: www.healthchecksystems.com/ffood.htm.
7. If possible, select travel accommodations that have a kitchenette. Healthy food is much easier to come by when you cook it yourself.
8. Traveling need not be about total deprivation. Let yourself try the regional calorie-laden dish, but eat lighter the rest of the day. This way, you can satisfy your inquiring palate and your waistline.
Eating healthy while traveling takes more self-control than when you’re on the road, but is a possibility if you plan ahead and make smart food choices.