A Traveler's Guide to Eating Smart on the Go
Summer travel doesn’t require abandoning your healthy eating habits. Pack these practical strategies in your carry-on, and you’ll arrive at your vacation happily well-nourished.
BYOWB: Bring your own water bottle. Whether you’re traveling by car, train, or plane, changes in altitude and confined air flow can take a major toll on your hydration status. Plus, hotter temperatures in the summer months increase your need for water. (Use our hydration calculator to help figure out just how much water you should be drinking.) Pro tip: Fill up when you fuel up: Aim to pace your water consumption with your gas stops. Just like your car needs gas to go, your body needs water to focus on the road.
Pack Snacks: Skip the flaming hot cheese puffs and diet soda, and pack some good-for-you treats instead. Look for nutrient-rich whole foods that are as minimally processed as possible. A good rule of thumb is to snack on perishable items first, and tap into your nonperishable inventory later on in the trip. Here are some of our favorite healthy and car-friendly snacks:
- Healthy Fats—DIY trail mix: Store-bought trail mix is often mostly chocolate and sugar-coated fruits with a garnish of nuts. Better to make your own mix of nuts and seeds, which are loaded with appetite-curbing healthy fats and a punch of protein. Add some unsweetened dried fruit or a handful of dark chocolate for a touch of sweetness.
- Wholesome Whole Grains: Single-serving oatmeal packets can help you meet your whole-grains requirement while on-the-go. (Beware of flavored oatmeal, most contain hidden sugars). At your next coffee stop, ask for a cup of hot water and a spoon. Bonus: Most coffee shops have cinnamon or nutmeg on hand, which is a great oatmeal flavor booster. Pro tip: Throw in a handful of trail mix for some healthy fats and protein.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Apples, grapes, and clementines are great choices. Avoid soft and juicy fruits like peaches, which can be super messy and bruise easily. Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and cherry tomatoes are great because they require no chopping prior to packing.
- Power up on Proteins: Too often the snacks we reach for are munchy-crunchy carbs which lack nutrient density or long-lasting energy. Combat this with energizing proteins such as hard-boiled eggs (Pro tip: Pre-peel them before you go), grass-fed jerky (low-sodium, nitrate-free), canned tuna or salmon (also available in shelf-stable pouches), roasted chickpeas, or mini packs of hummus, which will pair perfectly with your vegetables.
Inedible Activities: While it’s important to stay fueled during a road trip, don’t occupy long travel times with mindless munching. Better to beat the boredom with a a few inedible activities. Before you depart, brainstorm a list of car-friendly games and download a few podcasts or audiobooks.
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