How Can You Have Good Nutrition When Traveling?

Eating on the go can be a challenge when you have to travel. Here are a few ways you can avoid the typical pitfalls of traveling nutrition.

When I'm trying to lose weight, one bad weekend of eating makes me feel out of control. It makes me feel guilty for eating the food twice. I knew I shouldn't have eaten it, I still did and then it didn't feel worth it.

Currently there is a largely judgemental fitness trend growing. People are actually bashing healthy eating.

They say you shouldn't eat "too healthy", everything needs to be "balanced", "in moderation". It almost seems shameful to plan what you're going to eat when you go out with your friends.

What if you just don't like the way unhealthy food makes you feel inside?

No one can judge you for eating according to your goals and preferences.

Now don't get me wrong, I've started a day with ice cream for breakfast, I enjoy treats too. We're talking about unplanned breaks from how you want to eat.

When you're on the go, things can get out of hand real quick. You have the freedom to change that.

If you're trying to lose some fat, get a little bit healthier or put on some lean muscle, what you eat matters.

Here are some ways you can plan to keep good nutrition when you're not in your comfort place.

How to Eat Healthy on the Road

There are several different options you can try to keep a healthy diet when traveling.

What's healthy you ask?

  • Lean proteins
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole Grains
  • Healthy Fats

If you fill your plate with a combination of those things, you're well on your way to reaching your goals.

How much should you eat? well that depends. In a perfect world, you'd have a scale with. Let's say you don't, you can use your hands.

A hand-sized relative portion might look like:

  • A palm of protein
  • A fist sized serving of vegetables
  • A cupped handful of fruits or whole grains
  • A thumb sized serving of fats

You can play around with this before your trip and compare it to your regular portions. As a man, you may find that you need to increase these.

If you already eat mainly healthy foods in moderate amounts when you travel, you might stop right here. You likely don't need to do anything else.

If you want to learn a few more strategies, keep reading and keep an open mind.

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You Can Make Your Meals and Bring them with

If you like to cook in the comfort of your own kitchen and have food figured out before you go, this might be the best option for you.

Sometimes being in an unfamiliar kitchen, you can wonder where everything is. There may be a spice you enjoy cooking with that most kitchens don't have.

How can you pack your food to travel with you?

Some options might include:

  • Make all of your food in advance, keep things simple but, add variety.
  • Use tupperware to store complete meals, consider freezing them beforehand if at all possible.
  • Separate out ingredients into portions if you know you will have access to a kitchen to cook.
  • Pack dry ingredients like homemade oatmeal into zip lock bags for quick breakfasts.

A rookie mistake might be to plan six different meal combinations for the week. If you can pick two proteins like chicken and beef, and rotate them throughout the week, that will make meal prepping a lot easier.

If your trip is far or if this just isn't feasible, (thank you airplane baggage limits) you might opt to just pack a few healthy snacks for your ride there.

How far you take this strategy is really up to your creativity.

There is another way to make sure that your food is taken care of before you arrive.

You Can Order Food to be Delivered to You

If you don't think the internet can deliver you a healthy meal, Marie Spano MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, wrote an interesting article about just that topic here: Can the Internet Really Supply You with Healthy Meals?

Marie notes that meal delivery services can work well, if you do a little bit of research first and are willing to live with the higher price.

In her opinion, a healthy meal:

  • Includes a lean protein, a high ratio of fruits and/or veggies, a whole grain, a serving of dairy and a healthy fat
  • Doesn’t include excess fat or added sugar
  • Is between 500 and 700 calories per serving (very active individuals and athletes may need more calories per meal)

What you need to make sure you account for according to her article;

"Meal delivery services claim they can deliver all the ingredients, recipes and cooking instructions you need to create healthy meals in your home. A closer look, though, indicates you might need to supplement some of these meals with other ingredients so that they can give you all the nutrients you need.
This is where you come in. Everyone has a different diet and everyone’s body processes food differently. So while healthy meals are available through the internet, you need to do a little homework to make sure these services’ meal options live up to their promises and offer the kind of food that will support your lifestyle."

Meal delivery options will vary by company but, as the market grows there are more companies out there willing to work with you.

A popular option that seems to be healthy is Trifecta Nutrition. Their website can be found here.

If you prefer a more inexpensive option, the next section might speak to you.

You Can Map Out A Trip To The Grocery Store

There are some places around the world where this may not be realistic.If you will be within traveling distance of a grocery store, your only barrier is creativity. Well, creativity and storage.

To solve storage, when staying at a hotel, you can request that they empty the mini fridge before you get there. When you arrive, a quick trip to the grocery store can fill your time with healthy meals.

As long as your hotel has a microwave, or some other way to heat food, you should be able to get by. If your hotel does not have a microwave, you got me on this one.

You might resort to foods that do not have to be refrigerated.

Here are some examples of foods that don't need refrigeration:

  • Fresh Fruits
  • Canned Tuna
  • Jerky
  • Some Fresh Vegetables
  • Mixed Nuts

Some trips do call for eating out. Though typically less ideal, there are still options for being mindful when eating out.

How to Order Healthy When Eating Out

When eating out, depending on the country, you can still have some control over how your food is prepared. If you have control over your dining location, opt for a growing trend, fast casual.

Fast casual restaurants like Chipotle make your food to order. Within reason, this allows you to see exactly what's going into your meal.

If you're not at a fast casual place, there are still options.

I've worked in the restaurant industry in the past. You can typically order you food as you like it, restaurants mainly don't advertise this because it can be a lot of extra work.

Some tips you can use the next time you eat out:

  • Make friends with your waitstaff to find out how your food will be prepared
  • Try to eat slowly to avoid overeating
  • Protein is a good start to any meal. Try to eat that first
  • Vegetables are a needed component of every meal, they'll also fill you up faster, because fiber
  • Try not to eat out when you're really hungry, maybe have a snack a couple hours before
  • Some a la carte options can actually make up a pretty good meal on their own, look those over
  • Try getting a to go box when you immediately get your food so you can control the portion you eat

There are a lot of other articles that go into the specifics of how you can try to eat healthy when dining out.

Cosmo wrote an enjoyable and useful piece on 15 Healthy Restaurant Meals that Aren't Salad.(The meals actually appear to be pretty good options)

What if You're Sick and Tired of This?

When all else fails another route is to simply give yourself a break from eating healthy. Special occasions out with friends and family only come around so often.

If you mentally prepare to go off track for a meal or two, in a week that might only be 2/28 meals if you eat four times a day. within reason, that shouldn't hurt your progress too much.


By now, you've learned that there are many different strategies you can use to eat well while traveling. All these tactics have a common theme, preparing in advance. With a little bit of foresight, you can make almost any situation work better than it would on the fly.

Making your food in advance in my favorite strategy as you only make decisions about what to eat once. Ordering food to your location is also a worthy idea if you can manage it.

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