How do you make your next flight a little more bearable? Here are a few tried and true healthy travel tips that will help you tackle the hustle and bustle like a pro.
Whether you’re a business frequent flyer, weekend getaway girl, or home-bound for the holidays, we all can relate to the struggle of finding something healthy to eat in a hectic airport terminal (especially if you’re trying to prepare for an overnight flight!).
Take the guess work out of healthy eating while flying with the following tips, so you can focus on the finer things in life, like free WiFi on long-distance flights and catching up on the latest episodes on Netflix.
1. Pack for success
Pack snacks that you can munch on while traveling that aren’t too calorie-laden and will keep well in your bags. Think air-popped popcorn, whole wheat crackers, and homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. If possible, bring protein- and nutrient-dense foods (like hard boiled eggs and raw veggies with hummus) in containers that won’t leak to avoid meal searching at the airport.
Opt for fruits with peels like apples and oranges that you can toss in your bag without worrying about them getting smashed. The rule of thumb is to pack at least one fruit per day of travel. If hunger strikes, reach for fruit first paired with an individual pack of nut butter until you can find something else that will sustain you longer.
2. Stay hydrated
Bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you’ve gone through security. It’s so important to stay hydrated while flying, since pressurized cabins often leave passengers feeling dehydrated due to lower humidity.
Save the $10 you would have spent on a bottle of water and treat yourself to an in-flight magazine instead. That’s money well spent for a few minutes of R&R, plus you’re doing your part by eliminating one plastic bottle from circulation.
3. Shop smart in the terminal
Sometimes planning ahead falls short, and there is no avoiding buying food in the terminal. That also means you may have to pay a pretty penny to get the food you want in this situation. If you don’t have time to brown bag it, try to get to your gate in enough time to seek out a healthy option before your flight – think fresh green salads with lean proteins, veggie and hummus-filled wraps or sandwiches, or fresh fruits and veggies.
Pre-packaged option also work, and make it easier to eat on the fly. Avoiding high-sodium or fried options will keep you feeling good throughout your entire flight, and help stave off that pesky bloating feeling. If you’re an airplane snacker, pick up a string cheese and banana from the airport market on your way to your gate, or even a small piece of dark chocolate.
4. Stock your hotel room
Hit the hotel lobby or nearby convenience store for high fiber granola bars and fresh fruits when you check into your hotel. These are great snacks to tide you over between business meetings, or throw in your bag to nibble on between excursions in a new city. If a mini fridge is in the room, throw some nonfat greek yogurt or milk with whole grain cereal in there for mornings when you’re crunched for time and can’t make it to the hotel buffet. Speaking of the buffet…
5. Treat the morning buffet like home
Eating breakfast while traveling is a great way to start your day off on the right foot. When traveling, chances are you will be eating out for 1-2 meals per day. Starting your day with a breakfast just like you would at home can help regulate your day from the get go.
Avoid ordering hefty dishes like french toast and skillets – there will be plenty of time to indulge later in the day! Stick to familiar breakfasts like eggs and toast, or oatmeal and fresh fruit to help fill you up for the day without weighing you down.
6. Moderation is key when eating out
There is a 110% chance you will go out to eat while traveling, Whether it be weekend brunch, post-work happy hours, or late night dinners – have fun, keep it balanced and drink water! The easiest way to cut some calories is with the appetizers and beverages.
If chips and salsa are bottomless, resist the urge. Munch slowly and sip your water, saving room for the entree you ordered. Remember, moderation is key: enjoy yourself, but order something that won’t give you a stomach ache all night.
And most importantly: eat well and travel often. Go get ’em, jet-setters!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: TOM EVERSLEY
Marissa Thiry, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Orange County, CA with a passion for health, wellness, and delicious food. With her love of innovating in the kitchen and testing unique flavors from different cultures, Marissa helps others understand that eating should be an experience, not a task. To read more from Marissa, make a visit!