Healthy Eating When Traveling

Healthy Eating When Traveling

Airliner flying towards the sun in blue sky
By Alissa Fogelson Contributing Blogger

Who doesn’t love vacation? It is a time for new experiences, family fun, and well-deserved relaxation. Yet, despite all of the benefits, many dread getting on the scale once they return home. It’s common to feel that you have less power and much more exposure to unhealthy foods – not exactly the ideal combination. Returning from a trip to Scotland myself, I understand this phenomena first hand. However, vacations don’t always have to wreak havoc on your diet. Here are some tips to keep you on track and feeling good while away.

For the Plane
Food served inflight is typically far from healthy. To nourish yourself with whole foods, plan ahead.

  1. Pack snacks. Trail mix, granola bars (like KIND  or Kashi) and whole fruits (like apples, clementine’s, and pears) are examples of healthy foods that can cross security. Turkey, cheese, and PB&J sandwiches work nicely. Salads can also be easily carried in a carry-on but you may need to slice a lemon as the liquid dressing probably won’t make it through security.
  2. Always carry a water bottle. You can easily pack an empty bottle, and fill it up using a water fountain after you have crossed security. Many airports now even have a designated water bottle fill area.

Ireland 2

While Away
Eating out for each meal can be overwhelming. Many folks worry they won’t be able to find anything healthy on the menu, and all the days’ activities create the potential for long periods of time without access to healthy foods. Here are some strategies to keep in mind while attempting to solve these dilemmas.

  1. Control portions. Depending upon the location, serving sizes at restaurants could be much larger than those typically consumed. Ask for an extra plate and set aside the extra food if the portions are too large. You can also share dishes with your travel mates.
  2. Stash extras. Have a breakfast buffet or fruit basket at your hotel? Don’t hesitate to snag some food before heading out for the day. In Scotland, bananas and dried fruit were my typical choices.
  3. Find a local market. Stop at a nearby grocery store or convenience shop to prepare some meals. Pick up fruit, yogurt, nuts, and whole grain bread, nut butter, cold cuts or cheese for sandwiches.
  4. Stash healthy snacks. To help avoid binge eating on junk food or a desperate stop at a fast food restaurant, keep granola bars, trail mixes, or fresh fruit in your purse or backpack.

Ireland 1

It’s also important not to shy away from tasting the local cuisine and trying new foods. In Scotland, one very common dish, haggis, is a meat mixture containing a sheep’s lungs and liver. It was served at almost every restaurant, for each meal of the day. Although it didn’t sound appetizing to me initially, I eventually became brave enough to take a taste, and was pleasantly surprised!

At the end of the day, if you do find yourself eating unhealthier than usual, don’t beat yourself up. As long as you make an effort to remain healthy while away, it is okay to splurge now and again. Once you return back home, it’s easier to set up healthy eating goals and go back to your healthy eating and exercise routines.


Alissa Fogelson is a senior at Harrison High School. She is passionate about nutrition and dance, and values the role healthy eating plays in maintaining an active lifestyle. She plans to pursue dietetics and eventually become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

  • Jane and Dana Binkoff
    Posted at 20:37h, 18 August Reply

    What a concise, interesting, and useful guide. Alissa, we are so proud of you.
    Grandma and Grandpa

  • janet
    Posted at 12:01h, 19 August Reply

    Thank you Alissa for the Great Ideas… I travel a lot for business and do find it hard to keep on track while away from home. I will use your ideas when I am in Hong Kong and China in October!

  • Amy Marcs
    Posted at 15:28h, 19 August Reply

    Great advice. I’m always on the go so this article was so helpful. Thanks.

  • Ellen Rosenzweig
    Posted at 19:55h, 19 August Reply

    Larry and I were very impressed with your article. Very well written!!! I especially liked the idea about stashing extra food and snacks. Can’t wait to travel with you again….

  • Ellen Rosenzweig
    Posted at 19:56h, 19 August Reply

    Larry and I were very impressed with your article. Very well written!!! I especially liked the idea about stashing extra food and snacks. Can’t wait to travel with you again….

  • Fred Litzky
    Posted at 07:47h, 20 August Reply

    This was just a wonderful piece. Thank you. It was all great tips. My favorite was “don’t beat yourself up.” When traveling you want to experience the local cultures, particularly food. So go ahead and throw caution into the wind and enjoy. Never regret life and all its experiences. Well done.

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