People constantly ask me, “How do I stay healthy when traveling? What should I pack to eat on the road?” Yes, it can be difficult maintaining your healthy diet and getting all the fuel you need when you’re away from home. It is a total downer when we make such an effort to stay healthy during our time at home and are then put in such an inhospitable and unhealthy environment when we travel. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite yet to a time where there are many healthy options for snacks in airports. The truth is, just like taking charge of our fitness and diet, we must be the point person for our food when we travel. Over the years, I’ve learned how to maintain my diet on the road and satisfy my cravings to boot.
First off, pick a number of things you like to eat that are non-perishable. Figure out how long your travel is going to be and pack enough food to get you through the trip—plus a bit extra. If I’m traveling for one day, I’ll pack enough for a day and a half, even sometimes for two days. One time, I even packed enough food to last me for a 37-hour trip to Australia. If you want to pack some perishable snacks, that is ok, too, but eat those early on in the trip.
Here are some foods you could packon your next trip:
String cheese, turkey sandwich with avocado and whole wheat bread, apples, grapefruits, plums, raw asparagus, banana, yogurt, PB&J sandwich, carrots, hummus, a small container of beans or chili, and even a baked sweet potato.
Goji berries, dried cherries, prunes, walnuts, almonds, seven-grain/whole wheat crackers, dehydrated veggies, small packets of almond butter, rice cakes, low-sodium pretzels, energy bars, granola, rice chips, and cereal.
I go on countless trips where there is no opportunity to make a quick run to a grocery store to stock up on some goodies for the return travel. We can always save some non-perishables from the flight out, but what happens if everything has been eaten? What selections should we make in the airport?
Finding healthy food choices in airports is really tough. I always try to pick the least processed items. Salads, fruits, raw veggies, pastas, sandwiches, and cereals are always good choices. Let’s be real: There are going to be times during your travels when you can’t get exactly what you want. Don’t fret too much. Be confident that you’re trying to stick to your schedule and that your body is still getting some good nutrition. If you can’t find anything you’re really happy with, just go with the next closest healthy option. Remember: The quality snacks you packed are supplementing your health and keeping you on the path towards achieving your nutritional and fitness goals!
When I’m at home, I try to eat something every two to three hours, and I always eat until I feel good, not until I feel full. I try to stick to these principles as much as I can on the road, too. There’s no need to change what works just because we’re traveling.
Most people don’t think to drink much when they travel. Although you might not realize it, you don’t need to be sweating to lose fluids. The combination of dry air on the plane and in the airport combined with not drinking much water can really lead to dehydration, even though you’re not sweating. Sitting for such long periods of time without fluids can cause muscle cramps, headaches, and feelings of weakness. I always bring at least one empty water bottle with me, which I fill up immediately after going through security. You may also want to think about bringing some little packets of electrolyte powder to pour into your drink as well.
Plan your travel just like you plan your training. Be prepared. Be flexible. Stay confident that what you’re doing is helping you achieve your goals. You can be in charge of eating on the road by taking a few minutes to plan for success.