How you - and your kids - can eat healthy during your family vacation
Traveling as a mom is stressful enough, but when you add trying to stick to a diet, it can make traveling seem more daunting than it’s worth. But I’m here to tell you not only is eating healthy while you’re traveling, completely do-able, but it’s also totally worth it! All it takes is a little bit of planning!
Plan to Eat Healthy Snacks While Traveling
Whether you're getting in the car or hopping on a plane to your destination, you're going to need something to snack on!
Being trapped in a small space with not a lot to do tends to lead to excessive snacking. This is absolutely fine as long as you’re making smart choices! You need to be prepared with good snacks if you want to eat healthy while you're traveling.
If you can, bring a small cooler with you on your trip. I love the Yeti Hopper Two 40. It's perfect for keeping in the car and is easy to carry around. I throw cheese sticks, lunch meats, fruits and veggies in the cooler and they are all great snacks for me and my family to munch on while we’re traveling. Try to stick to whole foods with your snacks so that you’re getting the most bang for your macro buck.
The best way to eat healthy snacks while traveling is to bring your favorites with you! If you love apples and peanut butter, then pack it! Just make sure you're using something that is going to keep the mess contained. I love these leak-proof containers.
If you can't pack food or just need to make a pit stop during your trip, you can still choose healthy options from any gas station convenience store. As moms, we know that any snacks we pack must be kid-friendly because kids are bound to be absolutely famished two minutes after we’ve left the gas station. Here are a few snacks you can grab that the whole family will love.
Beef Jerky - It's a great source of protein. Just be sure to drink more water to balance out the sodium!
Popcorn - As long as you stick to regular popcorn this is a great snack! Make sure you're not grabbing popcorn that's drenched in sugar!
Protein Bars - Most gas stations will have quite a few options to choose from. Grab a protein bar instead of a candy bar!
Almonds - Almonds are always a good, clean, high-protein snack!
Fresh fruits or veggies - Most gas stations will have fresh bananas or bags of carrots that you can grab as well.
Any of these food options will help you to eat healthy while traveling.
Make Healthier Choices at Restaurants
The hardest part about eating at a restaurant is that you don't always have access to the macros, so you don't know what exactly you're putting in your body. I have a three-step system that will help you eat healthy when you're at a restaurant.
Step One: Choose Your Protein First
I know the pasta menu tempts you, but if you want to stick to your health goals, you need to skip it for now! Instead, head over to the meat section and look for lean meat cuts. Chicken and turkey are both great options. Pork chops are another great lean cut option.
Don’t forget to pay attention to how the meat is prepared. Opt for grilled or baked meats instead of deep-fried ones. Also, be aware of pan-fried meats that are prepared in a lot of butter or oils. You can choose to omit them completely or make sure you count them in your macros for the day.
Step Two: Pick Your Sides Wisely
Most restaurants give you options for your side dishes and you'll probably be drawn toward fries or mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, but if you want to eat healthy while you're traveling, then you need to check the menu for healthier side dishes.
A side salad is always a great option, but make sure you have healthy dressing options as well. Better yet, ask for avocado on the side and use that as a dressing.
Steamed vegetables are another excellent option. Don't be afraid to ask for double, or even triple, the veggies. The more vegetables you eat, the better off you'll be.
Step Three: Omit Oils and Sauces
A lot of fats and carbohydrates in food come from excess oils and sauces. You can eliminate a lot of those by asking the chef to go light or omit the oil.
Sauces are a whole other beast. Most sauces are based in fatty foods, like cream. Which means you're getting a lot of calories without a lot of nutrients. If you must have something that comes with a sauce ask for it on the side. That way you can still enjoy it but only a small amount.
Remember, when you're at a restaurant you can make special requests! Ask to have things prepared how you need them. It's another trick that will help you eat healthy while traveling!
Don’t forget to encourage your kids to make healthy choices at restaurants too. Remember, they learn healthy eating patterns from you! I take my kids through this whole process as well by having then choose a protein first. Then I help guide them through the process of choosing sides that they will like and that are healthier options.
For example: If my daughter wants mac and cheese for dinner, I remind her that we need to choose a protein first. I’ll ask if she would like chicken with her mac and cheese. If she agrees, I’ll ask if she wants it grilled/naked - your kids will think this is hilarious and will want to eat “naked chicken” every chance they get! If she doesn’t want grilled chicken, then I tell her we need to choose a different side and we’ll change the mac and cheese out for fruit. Then, I always let them steal a couple of fries off of dad’s plate! This way they get a well rounded meal and you help them build strong habits for life!
Drink A Lot - And I Mean A Lot - of Water
Drinking water is a huge part of living a healthy life. It's easy to drink water when you're in your normal routine, but drinking water when you're traveling can be more difficult.
However, staying hydrated will help you stay on top of your goals. If you’re thirsty it’s harder to decipher if you're hungry or dehydrated. If you drink a glass or two of water and still feel hungry, then it's probably time for a meal or a snack. If you feel satisfied after drinking the water, it's a good sign that you're getting dehydrated and that you need to up your water intake.
I make sure that my family is balancing water with sugary drinks by having them drink two bottles/cups of water before they drink a sugary drink. It’s totally fine to indulge while you’re on vacation, but you want to be sure that your body is still getting what it needs. Kids are kids and a little Kool-Aid won’t ruin them!
I love the Hydro Flask water bottle because it keeps my water cold all day long - even when I leave it in the car, under the hot Arizona sun! It's perfect to take with me when I'm traveling because I know I'll always have access to cold refreshing water, which helps me to drink more!
Another benefit to drinking water, while you're traveling, is that water gives you more energy. Which means you can do every activity on your itinerary and truly enjoy your vacation.
If your water starts to get boring, spruce it up by adding a fruit infuser, essential oils or even a splash of Mio! These are easy ways to give you some flavor without adding unnecessary sugars to your drinks!
If you want to take eating healthy during your next vacation off your list, then schedule a free discovery call with me and I can help set you up with a game plan!