Diet Tips and Tricks for When You Travel

Snacks on airplane tray table
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It’s travel time! You know what that can mean: goodbye, diet. It’s tempting to use time away from home as an excuse to eat chips for lunch and gummy bears for dinner. And then there’s the Slurpee snack in between, because you’re in a gas station with a Slurpee machine, and you’re out of town so the calories don’t count, right? Wrong, sadly! But here’s the good news: there are a few tips and tricks to health-ify your travel food picks without the deprivation.

Emergency Snacks

Being away from home means you’re far away from the stash of healthy snacks you keep in your fridge. But since your fat-free Greek yogurt isn’t the best travel snack, it’s important to keep shelf-stable goods on hand. Whether you’re traveling via plane, train, or automobile, always pack emergency snacks.

Protein bars and portion-controlled packs of nuts are lifesavers. They’ll save you from hunger, and they’ll save you from yourself when you’re tempted to hit the convenience store for a bag of fatty chips.

Road Trip Tips 

Immediately think of snacks when you think of going on a roadtrip? Sure, rolling down the windows, turning up the stereo, and singing along to your favorite '80s anthems is fun, but car karaoke works up an appetite! Fast-food joints and convenience stores are calling your name from every exit. The trick is to either resist temptation altogether or make the healthiest possible choices.

You can avoid road food by planning your meals and snacks in advance. Treat your road trip like you’re heading for a day at the office: Pack a low-cal, high-protein lunch and keep those healthy snacks within reach. But there are times when you can’t avoid buying your meals on-the-go. And let’s be honest, sometimes stopping for fast food is just plain fun.

In that case, do your best to make smart choices at popular fast-food chains.

Flying Tricks 

Airports are as fraught with temptation as highway exits. It’s tough to choose healthy meals over the Cinnabon counter. You can always use the same fast-food tips as you would on a road trip, but the advantage of airports is that there are many food options packed into a small space. You can usually find a salad or some grilled chicken somewhere in your terminal, and searching for healthy food is also a good way to sneak in a little exercise. Walk up and down the terminal until you see something that’s made with lettuce!

The good news about air travel is that once you make it past the airport and onto the plane, the temptation is over. Airplane food isn't anything to write home about. Still, you’ll probably get hungry if your flight is longer than an hour or two. What to do? Once again, pack emergency snacks! Protein bars are critical and jerky is a must. Both are perfect for planes because of the protein.

They'll keep you full and help you avoid mystery airline meals.

Staying in a Hotel  

Step 1: Check into your hotel. Step 2: Drop off your suitcase in the room. Step 3: Hit the nearest grocery store.This is the single smartest thing you can do when you’re traveling. Wherever you are, there’s going to be a grocery store. Stock up on the same healthy food you would eat at home, especially if there's a mini fridge. This way, you don’t have to eat out for every meal—it will save you calories and money. 

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