Eating Healthy On Vacation And Business Trips

Eating Healthy On Vacation and Business Trips
Eating Healthy On Vacation and Business Trips

Hitting the road? I’ve got some tips for eating healthy on vacation and business trips! It’s a piece of cake!
It’s time. The annual family vacation, seminar, corporate bonding session or meet-up with far away friends and family. Or maybe it’s just better than staying home. Whatever your reason for hitting the road, there’s no reason to break with your decision to eat wholesome foods!

Food For The Journey

Road Trip
Road Trio

Air Travel

Airport food is overpriced and never very good. It’s commonplace to spend $20+ on a bottle of water, a teeny-tiny bag of chips and a cold sandwich that was made who-knows-how-long-ago.

The good news? TSA allows a wide variety of food through the security checkpoint and onto the airplane. Meats, cheese, bread, crackers, nuts…basically anything that’s not a liquid or packed in liquid. One caveat: Some fresh fruits and vegetables are NOT allowed, depending on their point of origin.

As for that overpriced water? Bring an empty drinking container and fill it once you get past the checkpoint.

Road Tripping

Hit the supermarket the day before to pick up a variety of healthy food. Road trips can be long and it makes us want to eat out of sheer boredom. Keep this in mind when choosing food. Come up with unusual or fun choices and let everyone in the car have a say on what they’d like to eat while on the road. If feasible, allow for some more expensive foods that may not be in your house on a regular basis, such as roast beef or exotic cheese. Don’t forget snacks that are easy to eat in the car such as grapes or nuts!

Stop for meals and some leg stretching in a park, when possible, instead of a rest area, where the sights and smells from fast-food stands and convenience stores might tempt you to eat junk.

If you find that you have to stop for food, skip the convenience store. Instead, choose a grocery store where there is a wider variety of healthy options.

At Your Destination

Eating Healthy In Hotels
Eating Healthy In Hotels

So you’ve arrived at your destination, checked in and unpacked your bags. Now it’s time to make a meal plan! The first thing you’re going to want to do is hit the supermarket (yes, again) because the easiest way to keep healthy while away from home is to continue to make your own meals as much as possible.

I know what you’re thinking. How are you going to make a healthy meal in a hotel room?

I’m going to assume you have a refrigerator in your room. Depending on how long your stay is (and how big the refrigerator is), you may be able to get all your food in one trip and not have to worry about it again!

I’m going to also assume that you have a microwave in your room. This is good news because microwaves are for more than cooking frozen entrees! You can cook a fresh bowl of oatmeal in less than 2 minutes. Throw some uncooked pasta in a bowl of water and microwave it for 5-8 minutes. Quesadillas, baked potatoes, nachos, scrambled eggs and bacon, steamed veggies, ground beef, rice, and corn on the cob. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

Pick up frozen, fully cooked chicken breasts and a bag of salad greens to toss together with some oil and vinegar for a super-fast salad. Use the chicken that’s left to throw together some chicken salad.

How about a peanut butter and fresh strawberry sandwich?

Make some overnight oats before hitting the hay for a super quick breakfast the next morning. Mix up any remaining yogurt with some fresh fruit or berries for a refreshing snack. How about some guacamole boats or a hummus wrap?

Day Tripping

Day Tripping
Day Tripping

At some point, you’re going to want to (or have to) leave your room. You know, to go to the theme park, business meeting, seminar or whatever brought you to town.

If you’re out for the day, pack a lunch. If you drove from home, you may have brought a cooler for the road trip. If you flew, you can purchase (or maybe you thought to pack) a collapsible insulated bag. Seal some hotel ice in a Ziploc bag and throw it in with your food to keep things cool.

If you’re in a meeting or at an event that includes a buffet-style lunch (or dinner), there are usually healthy options to choose from. If you think this will not be the case, feel free to bring your own lunch because, hey, it’s a free country, man. *flashes peace sign* If someone calls you out, you can cite health issues, which is absolutely true…you’re healthy and you want to stay that way.

Always keep some healthy snacks and drinks close at hand for combating between-meal hunger (and that pastry bar they always have at meetings!). Think trail mix, fresh fruit, peanut butter crackers or popcorn, which you can pop up fresh in a paper bag using your hotel microwave. You’re welcome.

Create a custom healthy drink by popping a teabag and/or a few slices of lemon, cucumber or strawberry into your water bottle.

Eating Clean When Eating Out

Eating Clean While Eating Out
Eating Clean While Eating Out

It’s bound to happen. Maybe it’s a meeting, maybe you’ve been outvoted, maybe you just want to have someone else cook for a change. Whatever the reason, here you are at what always seems to be your downfall — dining out.

Let me assure you that eating in a restaurant doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

The first thing you need to do is fix your mindset. Remember that vacations and business trips are not about the food. They are about taking in the sights, forging tighter bonds with people you know and connecting with people you don’t. It’s about having new experiences and learning new things. It’s all about the journey.

But you still have to order dinner.

Look for “naked” proteins that aren’t covered in sauces or cheese. The same goes for a veggie or potato side. This might be, for example, steak, broccoli and a baked potato. If you don’t see anything that fits the bill, ask your server if the kitchen can prepare something for you.

The salad bar is another great option for your veggie side or even for your whole meal. Stick with fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy proteins such as eggs and nuts/seeds. Skip the (probably premade) salad dressings and ask your server to bring you oil and vinegar to top it off.

For a more in-depth discussion about eating healthy in restaurants, check out my article on the subject!

Falling Off The (Whole Foods) Wagon

Falling Off The Wagon
Falling Off The Wagon

You were fine. Just fine. You were eating well, staying strong and feeling great but the moment you passed through the entrance to the fair, the smell of fried dough hit you. You fell off the wagon and you fell hard. You proceeded to eat your way through the entire fair, reeling from one concession sideshow to the next until you had hit them all. Now you’re feeling guilty, tired, cranky, bloated and more than a little nauseated.

Guess what? It happens to the best of us. Put it in your rear view and climb right back on that wagon!

Here are a few tips to help you feel better fast:

  • Take a walk. A brisk walk will speed up your metabolism, which will help to empty your stomach and shed excess fluid. It’s also a mood booster, Win-win!
  • Drink some water. A steady intake of water will help you lose the bloat, especially if you add a few slices of lemon, lime or cucumber. Coffee and green or hibiscus tea are also natural diuretics.
  • Have a piece of candy. Sucking on peppermint or ginger candy will help alleviate the nausea associated with overeating.
  • Get some sleep. A good night’s rest will leave you feeling strong, confident, energized and ready to get back on track!

Whatever you do, don’t follow through with the promise you made to yourself that you’re “never going to eat again”. Skipping meals will only lead to extreme hunger and another binge.

What are your hacks to survive traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,




How To Stock Your Pantry – 17 Foods To Include and 7 Foods to Avoid

Life is busy. How can we eat healthy when we don’t have the time to cook from scratch? Here are a few tips on how to stock your pantry with time-saving items!

How To Stock Your Pantry
How To Stock Your Pantry

I like to cook my own foods from scratch. I’m a firm believer that cooking from scratch is really the only way to know the quality of what I’m eating. But, while we have a goal to eat healthily, we just can’t do it all.

It’s virtually impossible for us to make every single thing we want to eat. Sure we can put together a marinade for our grass-fed beef and pair it with some fresh vegetables for dinner. We can throw together a salad with homemade dressing or have a breakfast sandwich made from a fried egg atop a freshly baked biscuit.

But let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? When was the last time you brewed soy sauce because you needed a sprinkle or two in a stir-fry? Cooked up a batch of catsup so you could have a squirt to dip your french fries? Or made your own mayo because you were dying for an egg salad sandwich? Me neither.

And, let’s face it, sometimes life gets in the way. We’re busy. We get tired. Unmotivated. Did your spouse really forget to tell you that he’s invited the Smiths to dinner? Or perhaps your son shows up with half the football team and wants to know what there is to eat.

Now, if we wanted to, we could surely go ahead and plan for all these contingencies. We could cook, bake, mix and ferment then dehydrate, can, and freeze it all. The problem with that is the aforementioned life to which we must attend. That and the fact that our storage spaces and freezers are only so big.

So here are some thoughts on how to stock your pantry – with 17 foods to include and 7 foods to avoid.

What Are Processed Foods?

What Are Processed Foods?
What Are Processed Foods?

Before we tackle the problems that we face every day, I’d like to do a quick review on what, exactly, are processed foods.

Processed foods are any foods that have been modified from their original state. This means, of course, that the moment you pick a tomato off the vine, you have altered or “processed” that food. I only bring this up because I want you to realize that the simple act of food being processed is not an evil concept.

Foods have been processed since the beginning of mankind. This was usually done on a community or family level with food being hunted, raised or foraged while it’s abundant and then using various means of preserving it for use at a later date. When we cook fresh food in our own kitchen and freeze it for future use, we are also processing food.

It’s highly (or ultra) processed foods that we need to be on the lookout for. These are highly manipulated foods that contain many added ingredients and sometimes don’t contain any of the food it claims to be. Are you aware that some brands of coffee “creamers” are made from water, sugar and oil? Not a drop of dairy-related anything.

The Bad Guys: Ultra Processed Foods

Ultra Processed Foods
Ultra Processed Foods

First let’s get to the bad guys: those highly (ultra) processed foods. While the food industry works hard to convince us that fruit-flavored loopy things are good for us, one quick glance at the label tells us that it’s certainly nothing even a toucan would eat.

The secret to choosing healthier processed foods is no secret at all! A look at the label and ingredient list will tell you everything you need to know. Here are a few things to look for (and steer away from):

Low fat, low sugar and/or sugar-free. Foods naturally contain fat and/or sugar to varying degrees and this is what makes them taste good. It’s important to remember that neither fat nor sugar is a bad thing when enjoyed in moderation. As a matter of fact, a certain amount of both is necessary for your body to function properly.

When foods are manipulated to remove naturally occurring fat or sugar, these are usually replaced by the opposite thing (fat for sugar and sugar for fat) or artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame.

Artificially flavored or imitation. Translation: Chemical.

Any ingredient you don’t have in your kitchen. Or can’t pronounce. Or wouldn’t even know where to get.

Vegetarian fed chickens (or eggs). Chickens are not vegetarians and need the amino acid that are found in meat sources. Since chickens love bugs, a vegetarian chicken is surely not a free-range chicken. It’s a chicken that has been kept inside (away from bugs) and most likely fed a diet supplemented with a synthetic version of the amino acid methionine.

Healthy or Natural. These words could mean anything. Often it means that whatever the manufacturer started out with was healthy and/or natural (which most food is…when you start out) but it doesn’t mean it stayed that way.

Kid-friendly. When was the last time your kid picked the healthiest option on the table? While there are exceptions, most kids, when left to their own devices, will pick the sugariest, most artificially brightly colored option they see. Especially if it’s being presented by a cartoon character.

Fortified or enriched. This means that something has been unnaturally added to the product. It’s a label typically plastered on ultra-processed foods to make them seem healthier.

The Better Guys: Minimally Processed Foods

Minimally Processed Foods
Minimally Processed Foods

There are some products on the grocery shelves that are less processed and can be a good addition to your pantry for when life comes a’calling. The secret is, again, the label and ingredient list. Keywords to look for might be simple, organic, grass-fed or free-range but the real test is to read the ingredient label. Make sure that whatever’s in the package are things you would add if you were making it yourself.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Canned beans
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Canned pineapple
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Jarred spaghetti sauce
  • Canned tuna
  • Peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Frozen seafood
  • Packaged cheese (including sliced or shredded)
  • Unflavored nuts
  • Boxed pasta
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bread (organic or from a local bakery)
  • Crackers
  • Dark Chocolate

When You’re On The Go: Surviving Road Trips

Surviving Road Trips
Surviving Road Trips

Consider these options before you grab a hot dog from that street vendor:

Pack drinks and snacks. Even if you plan to stop somewhere for lunch, having a snack under your belt will ensure that you’re not starving when you make the decision on where to eat. Try some granola, fresh fruit and a water bottle.

Convenience store. More and more convenience stores are making an effort to accommodate those of us who want to maintain a healthy diet. Many offer single serving sizes of cheese, nuts, hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruits and salads. Remember to check the ingredient labels to make sure you’re not getting more than you bargained for!

Grocery store. When was the last time you thought to stop at the grocery store for a quick snack? There’s no shortage of healthy snacks to be found here!

Skip the chain restaurants. Look for smaller “Mom and Pop” restaurants that are more likely to make their goods from scratch. If you’re traveling to unfamiliar territory, take the time to research restaurants in the area online. There are plenty of apps that review local places and let you know the best option.


One Last Thought

One Last Thought
One Last Thought

We have certainly been spoiled with the accessibility of a wide variety of foods that have become available to us over the last century. We can’t go back nor would we want to.

What we can do is strive to consume foods in their natural state, as much as possible, and adjust the amounts and combinations to most suit the needs of our own body.

The most important thing is to be kind to yourself. This is a learning journey and none of us is an expert. We can only do the best that we can each day and remember that life is meant to be enjoyed.

All my best,





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