How To Eat Healthy While Travelling

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Eating healthy while traveling can be very difficult. When you are away from your home routines it is easy to get trapped eating really unhealthy. Especially on travel days it is always tempting to grab a bag of chips or something else unhealthy at the airport or the bus/train station. However I don’t believe that you should resign yourself to eating unhealthy because you are traveling. I always enjoy traveling much more if I am not filling my body with garbage. So keep reading to find out my tips for how to eat healthy while traveling.

Easy meal for how to eat healthy while traveling
Quick meal of red lentils, sweet potato, avocados and beans with mushrooms. Super healthy meal and only takes 10-15 min to prepare!

Plan Meals And Snacks Ahead

My number one tip for eating healthy while traveling is definitely planning ahead. It is usually when you try find something to eat at the last minute that you end up with something unhealthy. Of course you do not want to be too organized as spontaneously trying local food is one of the best parts of traveling. But I think that you should have a balance between splurging on treats and sticking to eating healthy.

I find that if I roughly stick to eating super healthy 90 percent of the time. Then I can have have food that is less healthy from time to time without it effecting my health. But to stick to this ratio of healthy vs unhealthy eating I think planning ahead is the best way.

fruit and oats with luna a dog watching
Our morning oats with fruit. Our go to breakfast no matter where in the world we are
fruit and oatmeal
Morning oats this time with tropical fruit as we use whatever fruits are local to the area.

To do this, before moving to a new city or country I will always google healthy restaurants and local markets. If you have an idea of what is available in an area before you arrive then you can plan where to get healthy food. This avoids the problem I have been in many times of arriving tired, in a new town and grabbing some garbage fried food because you can’t find anything else nearby.

I find planning ahead particularly useful in regards to snacks for trips. If you have a long travel day by plane, train or bus. It is always best to organize some healthy snacks the day before. This way you also avoid the overpriced food at the airport, train or bus station.

Fresh produce at a market in Cape Town
Sunday market in Cape Town with lots of fresh local produce.

Use Food Apps

Apps can be a useful tool to find healthy restaurants when you arrive in a new location. One app that is particularly useful for vegans is Happy Cow. The app will show you restaurants that are with vegan, vegetarian or have vegan options. There are of course a lot of vegan fast food restaurants but there are plenty of healthy ones too.

Book Accommodation With A Kitchen

Whether you are staying at an airbnb or a hostel I recommend booking one with a kitchen.

Being able to prepare your own meals is the best ways how to eat healthy while traveling. When you eat at a restaurant you have no control over what ingredients they use. But if you have your own kitchen you know exactly what you are eating.

Preparing meals at home will often save you a lot of money too! So you are getting two benefits at the same time.

Preparing a cheap meal on a cardboard box
Me preparing dinner on a shoe box when we accidentally booked an air bnb with no kitchen! Still plenty of ways to prepare a healthy meal if you get creative.

Learn Some Simple Recipes

A kitchen is no use unless you are using it. One of the biggest things holding most people back from cooking is time. They would much rather the convenience of eating out rather than spending time cooking.

That is why I think it is worth while spending some time learning some healthy recipes that can be prepared in around 15-20 min. If you have some go to recipes you know you can prepare quickly it will make you much more likely to cook.

Also if you learn some recipes with ingredients that you can find anywhere in the world. Then no matter where you are you can head to the supermarket and have a healthy meal prepared faster than if you went out to a restaurant.

If you want to learn recipes I recommend just typing simple healthy recipes in youtube. There are a lot of videos out there but one I really like is The Happy Pear. They have a lot of great 5 minute recipes such as the Chickpea Curry below.

Travel With Some Basic Food Supplies

If you are going to cook your own food then you will need to make it taste good! If you go out and buy spices and sauces for every meal the cost will add up and it will take a lot of time.

So it is best to travel with some basics like salt, pepper, cumin, curry powder. Whatever you can you use to flavor multiple meals.

We also find that it is good to travel with some small bags of oats, rice and lentils etc. This means that if we arrive somewhere and all the shops are closed. Or we are tired and don’t want to walk around looking for food. We can always cook up something basic at home.

healthy vegan tacos
Healthy bean tacos we cooked with just a few simple spices like cumin, salt, pepper and paprika that we travel with.

Healthy Snacks

If you are moving quickly from place to place while traveling then snacks can be a big problem. Sitting for long periods of time on travel days makes unhealthy snacks super tempting. So to stop the temptation I find it always best to head to a supermarket the day before traveling and pic up some snacks.

My favorite snacks for traveling are definitely fruit. No matter where you are in the world you should be able to grab an apple, banana, pear or a kiwifruit. Fruit are also an amazing travel snack if you happen to be in a tropical country. Then you will have access to all types of exotic fruits so you can try some great new fruits while you travel.

tuna are a healthy fruit and a great way to eat healthy while traveling
These are Tuna one of my favorite fruits to get while traveling in Mexico. They are the fruit that grows on cactus. If they are in season while you are in Mexico I highly recommend trying them out.

After fruit the next snacks I would recommend are nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and you can generally find them all around the world. The only tip I would give is to try find them without oil added. So often nuts in plastic bags have so much vegetable oil added. It is really bad for you. But if they are all that is available it is better than nothing.

Nuts healthy food for traveling
Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats. They make a great healthy snack for traveling.

After nuts and seeds my next favorite is trying to find some healthy protein bars or energy bars. Generally I try and avoid all processed food in packages because there are always unhealthy ingredients added. However in the health sections of supermarkets all around the world more and more brands are creating bars with simple healthy ingredients.

So if you can find some bars with no vegetable oil and ingredients that you recognize then they can also be a great option. Although they are often quite pricey!

Practice Fasting

This is a tip that is not for everybody. But I regularly do fasts where I only drink water as I have found that it helps with some skin conditions I have. So sometimes on travel days I will just fast and eat no food. This way not only do I not need to think about what I am going to eat but I am fasting on a day where I was not going to work out. So I did not need the energy from my food.

I find this a particularly good thing to do if the food on long distance flights is awful. I simply just skip the meal and eat something better at my destination.

This tip is definitely not for everyone though as it can be very hard to fast on a travel day. However if you have done some fasts in the past I recommend giving it a go.

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

This tip is a sustainability tip as well as a eating healthy tip. No matter whether I have a long travel day or am just out sightseeing I always have my water bottle with me. Not only does it make sure I stay well hydrated but it cuts down on plastic bottle consumption. So often while traveling I see people go through mountains of water bottles in a week. It so damaging to the environment to use so much plastic.

As a bonus water is the healthiest thing you can drink. So by always having your bottle you can avoid drinking tonnes of sugar from soda and fruit juices. Drinking sodas and juices at restaurants is also something I always try and avoid. It adds huge amounts of sugar to your meal. But in my opinion water is what you really need.

Water bottle how to eat healthy while traveling
My 1 liter water bottle that goes with me everywhere I travel.

Eating Healthy While Travelling Is About Consistency

You don’t have to be perfect to to eat healthy while traveling. If there is a great local dish thats super unhealthy go for it! As long as you stick to the rules of planning ahead. Preparing healthy meals at home as much as possible and sticking to healthy snacks then you can have the unhealthy meals from time to time.

If you eat healthily you will have more energy to fully enjoy your travels so make it a priority and you won’t regret it.

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to eat healthy while traveling. If you have any other tips please leave them in the comments below.

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Travel, health and fitness fanatic. Co-founder of happyhealthynomads.

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