The more health-conscious you are, the more challenging it can be around the holidays. If you’re someone who’s used to having a strict routine, then the end of December can be physically and even emotionally stressful. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the challenge of eating healthy while traveling. However, if that describes you, then you are in luck. There are many practical, simple steps you can take to maintain (or at least mostly maintain) your diet while heading into the Christmas season.
Develop a Food Travel Plan
It can be tough sometimes to think about food when there’s so much else on your mind during the holidays. But in this case, a little bit of forethought can go a long way. Not only can packing healthy travel food make you feel better, it could also save you money and time. Consider which of your favorite foods you can take with you that don’t need to be prepared or refrigerated. Focus on high-protein snacks like nuts, shakes, or protein bars, which will give you lasting energy without the crash effect of sugar. Even though you can’t subsist completely on snacks, packing healthy food on the go can keep you from having to break your diet constantly with airport and gas station snacks.
GPS is Your Friend
If you’ve got your smartphone with you while on the road, then finding healthy travel food just got way easier. On a basic level, a simple Google Maps search for ‘healthy restaurants near me,’ may yield promising results. However, if you want to go more in depth, there are also several apps that can help you pinpoint healthy food in your area (even down to the specific menu item.) One example is the HealthyOut app, which identifies healthy meals from local restaurants. It includes filters such as ‘low-fat,’ ‘vegetarian,’ ‘heart-healthy’ and many others. Food Tripping is another app for IOS and Android that will use your GPS to locate local, sustainable food that is easily accessible while driving. There are many other apps out there, and a quick google search will reveal more ideas.
Quick Tips To Keep in Mind
Here is a list of quick holiday food tips that can help you stick to your diet and also save money:
Drink plenty of spring water — This is probably one of the most important things you can do. Staying hydrated will be key for you to keep your energy up while traveling. When you arrive at your destination, stop by a health food or grocery store and pick up a case of spring water.
Stop at grocery stores, not fast food places — Most grocery stores (especially healthy grocery stores) have on-the-go options where you can buy a sandwich or simple meal on the cheap, and it’s almost guaranteed to be healthier than fast food.
Avoid foods that rob your energy — On a long day of travel, it’s tempting to rely on sugary foods, sodas, and other stimulants. But in the end, these may leave you feeling more tired than before. One of the keys to maintaining discipline while traveling is to maintain your energy. So be sure to pack healthy alternatives, such as fruit, nuts, and juices. They will give you a boost without leaving you fatigued.
When You’re Out of Options or Not Sure Where to Go, These Restaurants Will Do — If you’re in a situation where you have to eat fast food and you want to stay healthy, then this list can help. According to cookinglight.com, this is a rundown of the top 10 chain restaurants for clean eating in the nation. Many of these restaurants offer healthy on the go options.
1. Panera Bread Co
2. Jason’s Delli
4. Pret A Manger
5. rōti Modern Mediterranean
6. Le Pain Quotidien
7. LYFE Kitchen
8. Shake Shack
9. Juice Press
10. Veggie Grill
Communicate Your Needs
The battle to maintain your diet isn’t always about just finding healthy food nearby. Sometimes family pressure and tradition can make you feel forced to eat plate after plate of unhealthy food. This is a tough situation, and it may not be easily solved. However, if eating unhealthy food really impacts your holiday experience, then it might be something you need to tell your family. It’s a little awkward, but in the long run expressing your dietary needs could make the holidays more fun for everyone.
Take the Pressure Off Yourself!
The main thing to remember if you’re traveling far and wide is to have grace for yourself. No one can be perfect, especially when trying to meet all the demands of family and gift-giving. Be sure to take it easy and enjoy it! Remember the reason you’re there.