Healthy eating when you’re traveling can be really difficult, depending on where you’re going. Last fall, we did some hiking and sight seeing through the Canadian Rockies, and I found the food situation to be challenging at times. I ended up going with whatever was available, especially in the more remote locations, and I came home pretty sick (and determined to figure out a better way). I don’t know what your specific dietary restrictions might be, but for me I can handle a few treats here and there (I love a good croissant when I’m on vacation), but I can’t handle that kind of food for 2 weeks! It becomes even more critical to eat healthy when you’re pushing your body to climb up mountains day after day – and we all know croissants are not an ideal breakfast for an active day or probably any day for that matter!
Mostly when I’m traveling, I’m my own worst enemy because I want to try everything – whether or not it makes me sick is sometimes irrevalant to me, (just being honest). But… even more than I love food, I hate feeling terrible when I’m traveling. You miss out on a lot when you feel lousy. So, today I have a collection of on-the-go foods, and tips for healthier eating.
Before we dive in, my #1 healthy eating tip is:
Don’t eat out for every meal!!! I don’t know anyone who feels good after back to back restaurant meals. This is my best tip, but also the hardest to follow. I travel to eat more than most anything else, so it’s tempting to fit in as many restaurants as possible. I’m trying to learn some moderation and make better choices, as much as it pains me to admit it- you just can’t have it all.
Portable food and recipes to keep you going:
1. Individual nut butter packets and jars of nut butter – these are invaluable to add to your cereal of choice in the morning, or with a banana, and as a snack on the side of a mountain. They also come in chocolate flavor – so yeah… they’re good for dessert too!
2. Cereal – Qia chia seed cereal by Nature’s Path is the one my sister takes with her to work (she’s a conductor on a train and travels all the time). She can’t say enough good about this cereal for energy levels and because it’s tasty too (it’s on my shopping list for this week)! I always like to bring along some kind of granola, Banana Chai Granola being my favorite.
3. Homemade energy bars and Lara Bars make the perfect light breakfast or lunch. Whether I’m traveling in a city or a remote mountain location, I always have energy bars for quick meals. It saves you money in the city when you don’t eat out 3x a day and even more so in the mountains. When we were in the Lake Louise area of Banff, the eating options were fairly limited for the way I eat right now, and it was pricey to say the least. We had a breakfast wrap 1 morning that cost me $10 dollars and I was making jokes that it was so small, it would maybe last me the first mile of our 12 mile hike!
4. Simple green smoothies really help to keep me feeling my best while traveling. Depending on your trip, consider traveling with your blender (my sister owns a nutri-bullet which is best for traveling but for now I bring my full sized Vita-mix). You can find banana almost anywhere along with pre-washed greens in small sized containers. Even on our hiking trip, I was surprised to find so many good options in even the smallest grocery stores. We happened to be traveling about as minimalist as possible and weren’t making much of our own food, but after that trip we changed our minds after seeing our options.
2-3 bananas + 1-2 cups pre-washed spinach + 16 ounce bottle kombucha or juice = great energy all day!
5. Minimalist cooking – we’ve done a small amount of cooking on a jet boil backpacking stove. It was really easy, and way better than driving 2 hours 1 way for dinner when you’re in the middle of a wilderness! As long as you have jarred pasta sauce and some kind of quick-cooking carbohydrate – you’re in business. We made a vegetable pasta with tomato sauce one night near the river in the picture below, watched the sunset and listened to the water as we ate – sometimes a small amount of effort reaps big dividends!
Talk about a gorgeous view for dinner!
1) Buy some veggies every few days to add to your lunches or dinners. Most grocery stores have pre-cut veggies you can buy as a snack. I’ve found that most places we’ve been, the vegetable portions are pretty small, so I like to add to throughout the day. Both onions and zucchini keep really well without a cooler if it’s under 70ºF, and can be added to a jarred pasta sauce for added nutrition.
3) And finally, when you are eating out – indulgence with moderation is key! Something as you may have gathered, I’m not so good at! I’m learning to make better choices and still have the occasional indulgence. Not exactly having your cake and eating it too, but it’s as close as you can get!
What are your favorite travel tips?