Six Smart Hacks for Eating Healthier on Summer Trips

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

It may seem like traveling is synonymous with indulging (hello, margaritas, chips and guac!) But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning, you can have your road trip snacks and eat them too. Stick with these tips to eat healthier on your summer vaca, wherever you’re headed: 

Do: Pack smarter snacks. The food options at an airport or gas station aren’t usually nutritious (or cheap). And when you’re on the go, you don’t always have time to buy something when you’re hungry—cue the hangry car arguments. Instead, pack snacks that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, such as almonds, a banana, and a low-sugar granola bar.

Don’t: Overdo the booze. As tempting as those tiki cocktails are, try not to have more than one: “Alcohol can be a source of many empty calories—especially drinks that contain juice or regular soda, or mixed frozen drinks,” says Freshly’s Head of Nutrition, Brooke Scheller. Alternate one adult beverage with one glass of water, sub sugary tonic water for no-calorie club soda, or mix half a glass of white wine with seltzer on ice for a refreshing spritzer.

Do: Stay hydrated. When you’re away from home, it’s easy to forget to drink water, which can make you feel sluggish. Bring a reusable water bottle so you can refill it throughout the day. This is especially important if you’re flying or visiting a hot destination (which most are this time of year!) You can also stay hydrated by eating water-dense produce like watermelon, pineapple, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Don’t: Skip your veggies. Yes, it’s tempting to order fried…everything on the menu when you’re away (the calories don’t count, right?!). But Scheller has a trick for sneaking in more vegetables: “At a restaurant, I start with a salad or a side of veggies sauteed in olive oil and garlic before my meal,” says Scheller. This way, you’ll be less likely to overeat your entrée too. 

Do: Enjoy the local cuisine. One of the best parts of traveling is sampling whatever that area is known for—paella in Spain! Sweet tea in the South! The trick is to sample the more indulgent things in moderation (gelato once a day in Italy, not after every meal). And just because it’s a specialty doesn’t mean it’s not healthy: Check out the produce at a local farmer’s market and bring it home to cook at your AirBnB. 

Don’t: Skip meals. It’s common when you’re traveling, attempting to see every sight. But “when you ‘skip’ meals, you head into the next meal with low blood sugar and an even bigger appetite than before. This will cause you to have less willpower when making food choices,” says Scheller. So even if you have a big group dinner with your travel companions, eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.