Health Hints: Eating Healthy On Vacation | RTX Traveler Issue 14

Guest Article by Jen Cannon, MS, RDN, LDN, RYT

It’s all too easy to make less-than-healthy choices when it comes to food when traveling. Everyone needs a break from cooking, and seeking out local restaurants is a fun part of the vacation experience. The key is finding a balance of indulging in the local cuisine while maintaining an overall healthy diet. Here are a few tips to help you create your meal plan for your next vacation.

woman holding shopping basket in supermarket

1) Visit the grocery store before you leave home. The key to avoid making unhealthy food choices while on vacation starts with the actual traveling.  Have healthy snacks on hand for travel day to prevent low blood sugars, hunger-strikes, and being stuck without food or in a place that only has poor choices available such as fast food.

2) Stock your kitchen or mini fridge once you arrive.  Find a local store or market and immediately immerse yourself into the culture and food!  Try to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh produce, meats, dairy products, and whole foods.

3) Eat local.  Not only will you be supporting the local economy wherever you are visiting but you will also be eating in season.  Choosing foods that are in season are better for the environment and better for your health.  Foods in season are typically at their maximum nutritional value as they have not been frozen, stored, or shipped and are at their peak of freshness.

4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  The majority of people do not drink enough water in a day.  Hydration is particularly important when traveling, especially when traveling to unfamiliar climates. Be sure to always have a bottle of water on hand or access to water while out exploring. Foods with high water content such as fresh fruits and vegetables can help keep you hydrated.

5) Always have snacks on hand.  Trade in the granola bars and potato chips for “ready to eat” whole foods like raw nuts, seeds, carrot sticks, apples or other fruits and veggies.  These provide fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals, without the unwanted added sugar or empty calories.

Jen Cannon is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist who lives in Asheville, N.C. Over the last eight years, she has worked in multiple healthcare settings including long-term care, acute care and for the elderly in an adult daycare setting.  She loves traveling because it allows her to immerse herself in the food, culture, and lifestyle of those others. 
Favorite destination visited: Southern India
#1 bucket list vacation: Southeast Asia; specifically Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand

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