Stay on Track with Healthy Eating while Traveling

We spend weeks looking forward to our summer vacation, a time to relax and have fun. It is good for us to take a break from the everyday routine and, usually, it means less cooking and more eating out. 

This is great from time to time but there are ways to stay on track with healthy eating, even while travelling.

We should enjoy our vacation and eat foods that we like but often we wind up eating foods that we normally wouldn’t, due to convenience. With a little planning, we can eat foods that taste good and leave us and our family feeling good too.

Maybe you’ve noticed that while on vacation, children’s behavior sometimes deteriorates. Obviously, children get tired with so many activities and late nights, however, this is often a result of a change in diet and poor nutritional content.

Many kids are sensitive to dyes and preservatives, which are so prevalent in package, processed foods as well as fast food. Often, children have much more of this while travelling and also consume more sugar than normal.

In addition, most kids aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables on vacation. The lack of nutrition that this can cause can catch up with kids over the course of a few days.

Sometimes, this can be the cause of deteriorating behavior as the trip goes on.

There are many great options for eating fun and healthy while on vacation. With a little forethought, your next vacation can be healthier and less stressful!

When planning a road trip or going camping, pack a lunch for your first day on the road. This cuts down on one day of fast food. If you have a plug-in cooler for your car, pack the second day’s lunch.

Make some interesting sandwiches, try pretzel buns, sub buns or bagels to change up the routine. Cut-up veggies and fruit, nuts, granola bars, trail mix or cheese and crackers are all good options for snacks.

When you do have to eat on the road, look for healthier choices. Some restaurants are providing healthier offerings, like Panera Bread and Chipotle.

If you are a camper, you have a great opportunity to eat well if you forgo the typical hotdogs. Prepare some grass-fed beef hamburger patties and freeze them before you go.

Make a big pot of Sloppy Joes with the same grass-fed beef. Cook some organic chicken breasts to serve with a salad, or cut in strips and serve with veggies and dip.

If you are camping late in the season, a big pot of chili made at home can be a welcome addition on a cooler night around the campfire.

Cooking over an open fire can be a fun activity. Try salmon, whitefish or sausage with onions, potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes to wrapped in parchment paper inside of aluminum foil and cook it up over the fire.

If you leave the potatoes out, you can make these at home. They can be cooked on a grill, as well.

The parchment paper keeps the vegetables from sticking and also protects your food from the aluminum foil. Foil can transfer aluminum to the food.

If you’re staying in a hotel, the free breakfast many hotels offer is convenient and saves money but, unfortunately, it is almost always fairly low quality.

Refined carbohydrates like cereal, bagels, muffins and waffles offer little in the way of nutritional value. Feel free to choose some of the offerings and add some of your own.

Bring a stick blender and make your own smoothies in the room. Take along a cooler with some frozen organic berries, add a banana and hemp seed hearts, nut butter or Greek yogurt for protein.

For lunch, look for a local deli or market that will make a carry-out lunch, which can make a nice picnic or beach lunch. Keep an eye out for restaurants that serve organic or local food. Farm-to-table restaurants are on the rise and can often be found in the unlikeliest of places. Ask the locals where they would recommend.

No matter what restaurant you are eating in, try to make salad and veggies part of the meal, even for the kids. If you order a pizza, order a salad to go along with it or stop at the grocery store and pick-up a vegetable and dip platter.

If you can offer the salad or veggies to kids before the pizza, chances are you’ll get more vegetables into them. Getting some nutrition into kids can make a big difference in their moods and behavior.

If you are renting a house or staying at a hotel with a kitchen, do your pre-trip research. Search for local Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other regional markets that offer organic products. Make sure to have a grocery list ready before you get to the store and stock up for the week. Buy some of their pre-made food to get a headstart on cooking. If you do find yourself preparing more food, consider using paper plates to cut back on the clean-up.

With a little planning before you head out to enjoy your vacation, you can feed yourself and your family well. Making the extra effort just might make the next trip more fun and less stressful.


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.