How to Stay Healthy While Traveling- Interview on CFRA

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for vacations and road trips. It can be a bit more challenging to stick to healthy eating while you’re away from the comforts of home; however, with some preparation, you can set yourself up for success with the following tips.

Before You Leave

One of my favourite sayings is, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  If you have some time before your trip to pack some healthy options, you’ll be set up for a healthy road trip.

  • Pack healthy snacks. Plan ahead by packing some chopped veggies, fruit, nuts, or cheese.  If you have a small cooler, this is a great option to bring in your car to keep some perishable items cool.
  • Bring water bottles to stay hydrated.  It’s a great idea to bring 1-2 litres of water to stay hydrated on your trip.  It’s best to use refillable stainless steel water bottles (and add ice if you like it cold) so you don’t have to purchase water on the road. Try to avoid leaving plastic water bottles in your car, especially in the heat, because the plastics can leach into the water.
  • Do some research before you leave.  Look up where you are staying to see what grocery stores and restaurants are around and if your hotel has a gym.
    Eat a healthy breakfast with protein.  While you still have access to your kitchen, make sure you have a nutritious meal before you leave.   This will help to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels high while traveling.

On Route

Whether you were able to plan ahead or not, there are some great things you can do to stay healthy while on the road:

  • Stop for regular breaks.  It’s important for your body to move around and stretch your legs at least every 2 hours.  This can be especially important for young children.
  • Choose healthy snacks. If you didn’t get a chance to pack your own food and don’t have time to stop for a sit-down meal (or you’re traveling with young children, and that sounds awful, lol), you can find some healthy items at any en route or gas station (you just need to make it past the Reese Peanut Butter Cups 😬).  Some better options are:
    • Raw or dry-roasted nuts
    • Low-sugar protein bars
    • Beef jerky (choose nitrate-free and low-sugar if possible)
    • Dill pickles (you can find these in snackable sizes)
    • Hard-boiled eggs
    • Roasted chickpeas
    • Snack box with veggies, cheese, crackers

At Your Location

Once you arrive at your destination, it’s essential to set yourself up for success while you’re there.  Remember, you don’t need to eat at a restaurant for every meal, and you can still hit up the grocery store for some healthy options.

  • Scope out the local grocery store.  Take a walk to the nearest grocery store and stock up on healthy snacks such as a veggie or fruit tray, cheese and crackers, low-sugar drinks, etc. If you’re exhausted or walking is not an option, there are many grocery delivery services as well.
  • Fill up the mini-fridge. Most hotels have fridges, so you can stock up on some perishable items and get high-protein Greek yogurt, cheese strings, lunch meats for sandwiches, etc. However, if there’s no fridge, don’t let this deter you.  There are lots of healthy snacks that don’t need refrigeration, such as apples, bananas, nuts, or protein bars. You can also use the ice machine to help keep things cold.

Eating At Restaurants

You will most likely be eating out at restaurants more than usual while you’re traveling, so use these tips to stay on track:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Aim for at least 20-30 grams of protein (about the size of your palm if you’re eating meat or ¾ cup of a vegetarian protein such as tofu) to help you feel full, keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels high.
  • Fill up on veggies. When possible, get a side of steamed vegetables or salad instead of fries. If ordering pizza, add some vegetables as a topping.
  • Watch the liquid calories. Choose low-sugar drinks like water, carbonated water, tea or coffee.  If you’re consuming alcoholic beverages, try to choose lower-sugar options or alternate alcoholic beverages with fizzy water.

The goal when you’re traveling or on vacation is to focus on your healthy habits 80% of the time but still have some wiggle room for your favourite things (or things you can’t plan) the other 20%.  Enjoy!

Patricia Boal interviews Rachel Caven on CFRA 580. They discuss ways to stay healthy while traveling this summer, including what to pack for a road trip, healthier grab-and-go options you can get at gas stations, and what to order at restaurants.

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35 Healthy Travel Snack Ideas

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