Trying to eat healthy, feel great AND travel this summer?
Being out of your natural surroundings can throw good intentions overboard, but you can do this!
Be a smart and savvy adventurer this summer, or on any vacation, with my top 10 travel tips for staying healthy on the road:
1. Go with greens.
Just because you hit the road doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat your greens! But finding well cooked leafy greens, or even decent salads, on the road can be tough. When I’m on the road, even for a few days, I take dehydrated greens with me. (You know what I'm talking about: those green powders that are just dried, powdered green veggies!)
Those powdered greens are easy to add to a glass of water, stir and drink. You can also add them to a smoothie if you bring your own travel blender along for the ride.
2. Use Yelp to find green juice (and a health food store).
As soon as I land in any new town, I pull out my handy Yelp app on my phone and search for “juice bar” and “health food store” to find a few options nearby — this even works overseas!
Stock up with healthy snacks at health food stores. Most juice bars will offer pre-made healthy snacks to-go, and smoothies and even salads as well.
Stock up on a few juices and keep in the your hotel refrigerator, or your friend’s fridge, depending on where you’re staying.
3. Ask your hotel to put a fridge in your room.
Not sure if your hotel will have a fridge for you to store healthy food? Call ahead next time and ask if they can provide one in your room! Just tell them you have a special diet and need to refrigerate your own food. I’ve never had to pay extra for a fridge, as most hotels are happy to provide one for your special dietary needs. (You don’t have to tell them that their room service meals are terrible, just hint that you have a really serious condition and they’ll probably hook you up!)
4. Make menus work for you.
Going out to eat in a new place?
Look over the entire menu when you sit down. Let’s say you want salmon, but it comes with a side of cheesy risotto. The gluten and dairy laden chicken Parmesan, on the other hand, comes with sautéed spinach and garlic. Politely ask your server to switch sides.
If you kindly ask if they could help you out, 99% of servers will be on your side. Be sure to say thanks and leave a little extra tip — this makes the server more likely to be nice to the next healthy-foodie that comes along!
5. Start with a salad.
Order a regular meal and order a salad as your starter. Keep it simple and top it with olive oil and fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to avoid any toxic ingredients in pre-mixed salad dressings.
You’re more likely to feel full faster if you eat some crunchy greens before the main event, and you’ll get more fiber and nutrients too!
6. Always double check with your server about the ingredients in your dish.
Politely ask your server any questions about ingredients before you order, and remember — you’re in charge here. Being nice and asking in advance saves everyone time and energy. If the server seems annoyed with your questions, just be patient and explain that you have food sensitivities and need to make sure the food isn’t cooked with dairy, soy, corn, gluten, or sugar.
7. Skip the bread basket.
As soon as you sit down, ask the server not to bring any bread. If it’s on the table, it’s so much harder to avoid eating. If you need something to munch on before your salad, ask for some cut up carrots and celery or olives.
8. Double up on the appetizers.
If you don’t see any good entrees, try ordering two healthier appetizers. It’s actually a lot more fun to have two different dishes! Or you can just order double portions of one if you’re really excited about an appetizer.
9. Research the menu beforehand so you can prepare.
Call ahead to a new restaurant, or go online to look at their menu. If you’re going somewhere new, you may want to look up what they offer in advance.
If you feel like there aren’t enough good choices for you to make a full meal out of it, you can eat a snack ahead of time so you’re not starving when you arrive. Then you can dine with your friends happily, rather than being frustrated by not having enough food.
10. Create your own portable, back-seat refrigerator!
Going on a road trip?
Get a nice big cooler with filled with ice packs for the back seat.
Map your route and find a couple of good stops every day, either healthy restaurants, health food stores, or juice bars. Stock up on goodies and meals and store leftovers and extras in your cooler.
Staying with friends? Just re-freeze the bags every night. You can ask your nightly hotel manager to freeze your bags, if you’re staying in a hotel. Then stock up on plenty of healthy, fresh foods in your own portable refrigerator!