As the holidays approach, more and more families are buying train, plane, and bus tickets to meet up with loved ones and enjoy the season. The problem is, for many, “enjoying the season” means putting diets and other healthy habits on hold. But even if you’ve failed to eat healthy during holidays past, it is possibly to enjoy the season and eat healthy. You just need a plan.
Here are just a few ways to keep yourself on track with your diet while traveling during the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season.
Consider Your Travel Method
Unfortunately, those traveling by air don’t have as much flexibility when it comes to which snacks and sizes are permitted onboard. But if you pack liquid- or gel-based snacks such as yogurt and applesauce in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces, you should be good to go. Luckily, many brands are already a step ahead of the game and have multiple options for snack-size and spill-proof containers.
Motorcoaches, on the other hand, account for 751 million passenger trips annually, and since they don’t have the rigorous security measures of airlines, they and allow for much more snacktime flexibility. Furthermore, the storage they provide allows easy access to any snacks you’re inclined to pack along in you carry-on. It’s best to avoid exceptionally messy foods, as well as those that may emit a strong odor, just to be considerate of your fellow passengers. But granola bars, raw veggies, trail mix, and sandwiches are all great options.
Depending on the length of your trip, you may enjoy the idea of packing a salad in a ziplock bag along with a plastic fork. You can add whatever you want, as long as it’s eaten within a few hours. For maximum nutritional content, pack a mix of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce. You can also try adding microgreens, a tiny form of edible greens produced from very young vegetable, herb or other plants. They range in size from one to 1.5 inches long, including the stem and leaves. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your healthy travel snacks — as long as it can be stored properly and eaten easily, the possibilities are nearly endless.
The Fresher, The Better
According to a 2016 survey, Americans consume more fresh foods — including fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses — than they did three years prior. Whether you’re staying at a hotel or crashing with your family, try to prioritize eating fresh foods over frozen or processed. This may not be an issue for those staying with a family member that always seems to be pulling out another fresh, hot dish from the oven. But for those limited to hotel lobby convenience stores and other small sources, finding a healthy, fresh meal can prove to be a bit more challenging. Instead of taking the easy route by stopping by a fast food restaurant, don’t hesitate to seek out the nearest grocery store and stock up on any available fresh foods, provided that you can store them properly.
“If you stop at a grocery store that offers whole or healthy foods — fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus — or a supermarket that features a salad bar, you quickly expand your choices (and reduce junk-food temptations),” writes Men’s Fitness.
Ultimately, knowing how to stay healthy when traveling during this holiday season can help you continue to make health-conscious choices all the way through the new year. But regardless of the time of year, you should always be on the lookout for more ways to incorporate fresh foods into your diet!