Living a healthy lifestyle involves planning. Alot of planning. Eating healthy meals at home involves a meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and preparing your meals in advance. Whether you are trying to get in shape, lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, traveling often makes it more challenging. Often times my clients will be doing great at home, but when they have to travel for work or go on vacation, they get off track. It’s hard to make healthy food choices when there isn’t as many healthy food options.
Eating Healthy on the Road
Recently, I’ve been traveling more and have found some easy healthy snacks that are widely available, from convenient stores to the airport. However, it can be challenging to figure out what is actually healthy and what is not, especially when it”sounds healthy”. I’ll go over the most widely available foods and snacks and go over their healthy rating.
1) Chicken Salad or Tuna Salad
Most places make the salads with real mayo, which is filed with saturated fats, making this otherwise healthy option into an “okay” choice. In a 5 0z tuna salad with real mayo and bread, you will have about 40 grams of fat and almost 700 calories. There’s plenty of protein, but because of the fat content from the mayo, it isn’t the best healthy for you. If there is a low fat or fat free mayo option, then by all means, go for it, because it would be a 10.
With Real Mayonnaise: HEALTHY RATING: 5
With Fat Free Mayonnaise: HEALTHY RATING: 10
Depending on the types of bread, a sandwich could be a sugar feast. White sugar, hidden as carbohydrates, are filled with empty calories. If you add in real mayo, it is even worse. If you are trying to eat healthy, look for whole wheat or while grain options with at least 3 grams of fiber power serving. Stay away from thick breads like cibatta since they are filled with empty calories. If you can, skip the cheese and it becomes even healthier. Use mustard for flavor. And add some fresh fruit or vegetables to make it a complete meal.
Thick Bread: HEALTHY RATING: 6
Whole Wheat Bread: HEALTHY RATING: 7
Salads are great choices when you are on the road, but skip the croutons because they are filled with empty calories. Add in a protein source like chicken or quinoa or beans and you have a healthy meal. Just make sure you choose a vinaigrette based dressing. Dressings can take an otherwise healthy salad and turn it into a fatty meal if you pick the wrong kind. A trick I picked up to get great flavor without the calories is to just do my fork into the dressing before I take a bite of salad. This allows me to use just the right amount of dressing and save all the empty calories.
HEALTHY RATING: 9-10
Wraps are a good choice when it comes to grabbing a quick meal. Stay away from chicken salad or tuna salad wraps because the are made with full fat mayo unless otherwise labeled. Chicken breast or turkey are always great choices. Stay away from breaded meats and anything with ranch sauce. If you can, skip the cheese and you will avoid a lot of the fat. Hummus adds allot of flavor to the wrap. Avocado is also a great flavor booster. Look for wraps with lots of vegetables to boost the healthy rating. Also, try to find whole wheat wraps to boost fiber.
HEALTHY RATING: 6-7
Hummus is a great option for a filling snack, especially if it is served with vegetable sticks. Look for celery or carrots. If possible, ask if you can get an extra serving of vegetables with the hummus. If it is served with pita chips, keep in mind you will getting a double dose of carbs, so add in some vegetables or fruit to balance it out.
With Chips: HEALTHY RATING: 7
With Veges: HEALTHY RATING: 10
Fresh fruits are one of the best choices you can make to eat healthy when you are traveling. I love bring apples and oranges with me because they are easy to transport and are more “squash proof”. I love bring bananas, but make sure you don’t put heavy items on top of it. Once I put a banana in my purse and forgot it was there. Needless to say, my purse smelled like bananas for a couple of days. If you can have some protein such as a hard boiled egg or string cheese with it, it would be more satisfying and keep you fuller longer.
HEALTHY RATING: 10
Nuts can be a healthy snack that is high in fiber and has good fats. The best type of nuts to eat are raw unroasted nuts like raw almonds or cashews. If you can only find roasted nuts, those are the second best. Avoid flavored nuts… they are like candy or chips, full of sugar, salt and it is hard to exercise self control. Keep in mind, nuts are very high fat, so just a handful will do. Eat it with some fruit or vegetables and it would be a nice snack.
HEALTHY RATING: 8
Try to stay away from muffins, pizzas, fried foods, and breaded meats. If there is a Mexican place with tacos, you can still do pretty well with getting a taco without cheese and sour cream. With all the temptations out there, being prepared is the best way to prevent you from making bad food choices. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. We often mistaken thirst for hunger.
What are you favorite travel food? I’d love to hear from you.