This year, an estimated 63.9 million Americans will be traveling during the holiday season. It’s pretty easy to eat healthy meals when you’re home and have access to your kitchen. But when you’re on the road, finding nutritious food can be a lot harder. Here are some of the strategies I developed for staying healthy while spending time away from home:
- When in doubt, go vegetarian. Tofu and beans are great sources of healthy protein, plus they tend to be lighter on your wallet, too. The bean burrito became my best friend during a recent trip to LA. Filled with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa, it kept me full for hours and was an easy, cheap way get in my veggies. I’d often ask the server to hold the sour cream and cheese if I didn’t want a heavy meal. Some places can even customize with brown rice and a whole wheat tortilla, so ask when ordering.
- Trail mix. It sounds simple, but packing along some trail mix will really help you out on the road. I keep a baggie of it in my purse and it has saved me in my travels (and makes it easier to pass up the junkfood offered by flight attendants!). You can buy a pre-made version (try to get an organic and no-sugar added mix) or easily make your own. I’m always experimenting with different nut and dried fruit combos, and I keep my mix in a glass jar in the fridge to keep it lasting fresher longer.
- Prepare meals before you fly. The day before a flight, I make sure I’ve packed myself a healthy breakfast (if I know I won’t have time to eat at home beforehand) and a healthy lunch or dinner for the plane. This saves me from being forced to buy expensive, unhealthy food at the airport or — even worse — from having to eat airplane food!If you’re like me, you’re rushing to get everything done before you’re heading out the next day, and most likely don’t have time to pre-cook a meal. But you can still get a nutritious, easy-to-carry meal from your local health food store. Even a simple sandwich on whole grain bread is a lot better than most of the options you’ll find at the airport.
- Push ups and crunches. In just a couple of minutes a day, you can give yourself a great little work out that requires no props, no gym clothes, and just your own body weight. Push ups are surprisingly hard work and just a set per day or every other day will really help strengthen and tone your arms and give you a real sweat! Same with the simple abdominal crunch: it can be done anywhere and really packs a fitness wallop in just a couple of sets.