Traveling for either business or personal reasons can present a number of challenges in sticking with a healthful eating routine. There are limitations to what and how much you can bring, as well as when you have access to those items. Further, there are more temptations due to being away from home and the variety of options available. There are steps that you can take to prepare for your trip while traveling to ensure you fuel your body adequately and stick with your goals. Here are 5 tips to ensure you make the most of your food choices while traveling.

  1. Pack and Choose Plenty of Wise Snacks

    Select non-perishable items that offer a variety of nutrients, such as unsalted nuts with dried fruit and whole grain cereal, granola or nutrition bars with five or less ingredients, low sodium jerky or packaged tuna, or nut butter with whole grain crackers. If you have the luxury of keeping your food chilled, bring natural, low sodium lunch meat on whole wheat bread with vegetables, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, vegetable crudités with a boiled egg, or fruit and nut butter.

  2. Stay Hydrated

    Carry a water bottle with you to be sure you will remain adequately hydrated during your trip. If you are flying, be sure to empty your water bottle completely out prior to going through security, then refill it at a water fountain or restaurant after you have passed through security while waiting to board your plane. If you are driving, bring plenty of water so you do not have to purchase as many water bottles at higher prices, stop as often, or make an alternative choice besides water.

  3. Plan Ahead

    Whether you are in a meeting where food is served or dining out with friends or family, plan ahead by reviewing the menu selections before you set foot into the room or restaurant. When you plan ahead you are less tempted to select an alternative option that may not offer as high of a nutritional value. If you are unable to view your food options ahead of time, carry along a tried and true snack to choose instead of what may be offered, be mindful of your portions, and aim for the most healthful choice. If all else fails, adjust your nutritional intake the following day or move more to work in those items.

  4. Pack Fruits and Vegetables on the go

    Aim for at least one side to be a fruit or vegetable at each meal or snack. Add vegetables like lettuce, tomato, onion to your sandwich. Select a salad with dressing on the side to compliment your entrée. Pick fruit instead of chips. Pack on those vegetables when ordering pizza. Choose a plant-based entrée or a steamed vegetable on the side.

  5. Listen to Your Hunger Cues

    Listen to your hunger cues to guide you when to begin and end eating. Traveling may cause us to feel more tired or feel hungrier than usual, resulting in making a poor choice or eating more than usual. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to the reasons why you are eating. Be sure to eat when you are physically hungry versus other reasons such as boredom, feeling anxious or feeling tired.

Planning ahead can limit the amount of money you spend, limit the calories you consume, and optimize your food selections. Staying adequately fueled and hydrated can improve your traveling experience and keep you on track to make the most of your trip.