Your essential travel guide to healthy eating

Making healthy choices while you travel can be hard – temptation is everywhere. Yet if you’re prepared, you can stay on track.
Published 15 April, 2019

Healthy travel guide

There’s nothing quite like a summer holiday – most of us look forward to it all year. But between the breakfast buffet and lazing by the pool all day with a good book, it can be tough to eat well and stay active. Many of us return from holiday with sun kissed skin, a healthy glow and five extra pounds!

Making healthy choices while you travel is hard – temptation is everywhere. However, if you’re prepared you can stay on track and return revitalised having lost or maintained your weight, whether you're going on a road trip, an exotic international vacation or something in between. 

Healthy travelling 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.

  • Plan ahead

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 Points® Budget wisely, such as saving up for a gourmet meal.

  • Drinking

Before travelling, check out the Points® of your favourite alcoholic drink. Try to avoid cocktails (which are full of sugar and sweet mixers like juice & fizzy drinks), stretch out your sipping by opting for a spritzer, and alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water to stay hydrated - and minimise your hangover the next day!.

  • Meals

Study the local delicacies and food culture so you can seek out traditional, healthier fare. Italy is famous for creamy pasta, pizza and tiramisu but also for rustic minestrone, caprese salad and Mediterranean seafood. If you're staying by the ocean, remember that oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and fresh tuna is packed with super healthy Omega 3.

  • Substitutions

Adjust your regular menu plan to make way for extras. Perhaps you can skip your morning snack if you’ve had a cooked breakfast, or you can enjoy a small dessert if you’ve gone for a light lunch.

  • Water

Drinking plenty of water during the day is really important, especially if you’re holidaying somewhere hot. Staying hydrated may also prevent overeating, as thirst often gets mistaken for hunger. Keep your liquid levels up with water and snacks like watermelon, cucumber and strawberries which have a high water content. Read more about the benefits of water.

Healthy travelling on a 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:

  • Meals

Opt for small light meals adjusted to your destination time, if possible. If it’s 2am in Paris or Phuket, it might be better to bypass the food trolley. Be sure to eat adequate dietary fibre – lots of fruit and vegetables. And if you bring any food from home onto the plane, make sure you consume it before your arrival due to border security and quarantine rules. 

  • Fluids

The cabin air in planes can leave you feeling dehydrated, so remember to drink plenty of water during your journey. Avoid too much alcohol as this 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 you're through security.

  • Snacking

Pack healthy snacks to avoid reliance on airline toasties, crisps and chocolate bars. Nuts, apples and energy bars make great snacks – why not try these mixed fruit, nut and seed bars? Try to avoid snacks that are high in salt, such as chips and peanuts, as they increase fluid retention. 

  • Clothing

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).

Healthy travelling 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 often nutritionally void options, be prepared and pack ahead for success:

  • Chilling

Grab a thermal bag and toss in an ice pack or two to keep food fresh. 

1. 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).

2. Stock up on yogurt, small packets of dry-roasted nuts, wholegrain bars or fresh bananas or other fruits at fuel stops.

3. Keep an eye out for signs on farm gates that offer you the pick of fresh produce as you pass by.

  • Snacks

If you're a member, use your WW app to check the Points® 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.

  • Hydration

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. A water tracking bottle is a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day.