How to eat healthy when travelling
Healthy travel guide
There’s nothing quite like a summer holiday – most of us look forward to it all year. And whether you’re about to set off on a road trip, an exotic international vacation or something in between, a little planning can go a long way. Making healthy choices while you travel is hard – temptation is everywhere. Yet if you’re prepared, with a plan in place, you can stay on track and return revitalised having lost or maintained your weight.
At a resort
It can be very tempting to overindulge at a bountiful buffet or let one too many margaritas slip in when you’re in holiday mode. After all, part of enjoying travel is about experiencing the local cuisine and enjoying a few indulgences. A little smart planning can keep you on track and make room for a few luxuries, too.
Look up the hotel, resort and restaurant menus online before you travel. You may even like to anticipate and track ahead on certain days, so you can stick to your short and long-term plans and goals. Use your Weekly SmartPoints® allowances wisely, such as saving up for a gourmet meal.
Before travelling, check out the SmartPoints of your favourite alcoholic drink. Stretch out your sipping by opting for a spritzer that only has a 2 SmartPoints per 100ml glass of sauvignon blanc with 50% soda water.
Study the local delicacies and food culture in your travel guide and seek out traditional, healthier fare. Italy is famous for creamy pasta, pizza and tiramisu but also for rustic minestrone, salad caprese and Mediterranean seafood.
Pack a plastic bowl and spoon so you can self-cater in your hotel room with a bar fridge for skim milk, cereal box in your luggage and fruit platter from room service.
Adjust your regular menu plan to make way for extras. Perhaps you can skip your morning snack if you’ve had a cooked breaky, or you can enjoy in a small dessert if you’ve gone for a light lunch.
On the flight
Jet lag disturbs your sleep and your circadian rhythms – the day/ night cycle that regulates appetite, digestion and bowel habits. Minimise these problems and arrive ready to start sightseeing with these tips:
Opt for small light meals adjusted to your destination time, if possible. If it’s 2am in Paris or Phuket you can afford to say “No thanks” when the trolley comes by. Be sure to eat adequate dietary fibre – lots of fruit and vegetables. Pack your own fresh fruit or pre-chopped vegetable crudités. Just make sure you consume it before your arrival due to border security and quarantine rules.
Drink water regularly while you travel. Avoid too much alcohol as they can contribute to the dehydrating effects of high altitude. Steer clear of carbonated drinks, too, as they increase bloating. It’s a good idea to pack an empty bottle that you can fill with water once through customs.
Avoid snacks that are high in salt, such as chips and peanuts, as they increase fluid retention.
Wear loose comfortable clothing and move about the cabin as much as possible, wriggling your feet and ankles regularly when you sit to help reduce your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
On the road
When you’re travelling by road, you can get stuck with limited choices when it comes to food: the service station or a fast food option at best. Rather than succumb to these nutritionally void options. Be prepared and pack ahead for success:
Grab a thermal bag or esky and toss in an ice pack or two to keep food fresh. A soft bag is easier if you want to keep it at the foot of the front passenger seat, but an esky is useful if you plan to stop along the way.
- Invest in a salad container with a separate built-in dressing holder and prepare a healthy and filling lunch before you head off (don’t forget some cutlery).
- Stock up on yoghurt, small packets of dry-roasted nuts, wholegrain bars or fresh bananas or other fruits at fuel stops.
Keep an eye out for signs on farm gates that offer you the pick of fresh produce as you pass by.
Use your Weight Watchers app to check the SmartPoints of menu items at common fast-food outlets. You can find healthier options such as breakfast cereal, chicken salads with dressing on the side, apple slices and more.
Freeze water bottles with 50% water overnight and top up with water before you leave. Or add ice-cubes and fresh mint leaves to drink bottles.
You may find your wilderness location has wider options than expected...
Facilities: Check the facilities at your campground before deciding what to pack. Do you have a powered site? Is there a communal kitchen with oven, microwave and fridge that you can share? Are there gas BBQs? Are open fires permitted? Is there a camp shop with essentials like milk, ice and bread? Where is the closest town or supermarket?
Menu: You’ll need to manipulate your menu planning to take into account how to use up perishable items as the days roll by. For example, move from fresh fruit to fruit snack packs as your holiday evolves. Look into lightweight, dehydrated meal kits for longer stays with no shops nearby.
- Staples: Great staples include 65g dried wholemeal pasta with a sauce made from ½ cup canned tomatoes and 80g lemon pepper tuna. Or store sealed, frozen salmon in your esky to BBQ and serve with a couscous salad.