7 Essential Summer Travel Tips

By Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD
June 27, 2018

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We all know how easily a healthy eating plan can be derailed when traveling. If you are traveling this summer, follow these healthy travel tips to stay on track and help prevent weight gain. Bonus, you will keep your energy and mood up for the remaining hectic and fun month of summer!

1. Start your trip with a healthy breakfast.

Don't set yourself up for a low mood, anxiety, shakiness, brain fog and impatience by leaving home hungry. Before leaving on any trip, I always take time to scramble a couple eggs with any of the previous night's leftovers. To save time, reheat a couple pre-made Turkey Breakfast Sausages and serve them with one slice of rye toast topped with butter. Or if you need to eat and drive, whip up a Protein Shake.

2. Plan ahead—pack real foods to avoid the drive-thru.

I know you're already busy packing for the trip and food is the last thing on your brain, but that's how good habits get broken. Keep up your hard work and pack sliced peppers and cauliflower, hummus, macadamia nuts, Thousand Hills hard salami for snacks. Before leaving home I slice the entire salami into rounds for easy eating while driving. Everything is stored in a small cooler that I can reach while my husband is driving.

For people traveling by air, remember that you cannot take any liquids or gels over three ounces through security. This includes jars of nut butters, hummus and yogurt. But single-serve packets of nut butter or cream cheese are okay. Packing your own snacks will not only keep your blood sugar balanced, but it will be much friendlier on your wallet than the airport food.

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PROTEINS

  • Thousand Hills beef products
  • Wellness Whey Protein Packets
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Nitrate-free turkey jerky
  • Single-serve full fat yogurt
  • String cheese
  • Fresh sliced nitrate free deli meat

FATS

CARBS

  • Sliced bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Baby carrots
  • Grapes
  • Baby cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Hummus

3. Stay hydrated with plenty of water.

Water should be your number one choice, but other good beverage options include unsweetened tea, coconut water and coffee (limit to 16 ounces per day). Avoid soda, mochas, lattes, energy drinks, sweet tea and lemonade. All these options contain too much sugar and will leave you feeling drained instead of energized. Even those "healthy" fruit smoothies will turn into too much sugar. In fact, one ounce of any fruit juice contains just as much sugar as one ounce of soda. I used to love a good mocha while waiting at the airport, but these days I've traded it in for a decaf coffee and simply add a splash of real cream if available. Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon helps me sleep better once I've reached my destination. And not having a mocha eliminates the added sugar I'd be getting from the chocolate syrup. I also make sure I avoid the fake, flavored creamers (because they contain trans fats made from hydrogenated oils) that are sold at most gas stations.

4. Bring some quality protein bars if you're in a pinch and need a quick pick-me-up.

Although eating real food is ideal, eating a quality protein bar is better than going hungry and splurging on junk food when your blood sugar bottoms out. Most gas stations and airports now carry LARABAR® which contain real carbohydrates from dried fruit, and real fats from nuts and/or coconut. But these bars are missing protein and are too high in carbohydrates for many people. Consider splitting the bar with a travel companion and see if the store sells hard boiled eggs or a cheese stick to balance out the bar with protein. You can also plan ahead by packing quality bars such as the U-Can snack bars, EPIC bars and more that we stock.

5. If you eat out, choose balanced meals.

It's usually best to prepare your own meals and snacks, but there are plenty of good real food choices you can make when eating out. Before leaving home, you can also look for restaurants along your route that serve local and organic produce. It's always fun to try the local cuisine!

6. Boost your immunity with Advantage Liquid Concentrate.

Take 8-10 drops of Advantage Liquid Concentrate two times per day to support your immune function. Place the drops in a small glass of water and drink up! If you dislike the bitter taste, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice. This supplement is especially important if you're spending time with friends and family that are fighting off a cold or the flu or travelling via airplane where germs are surrounding you.

7. Once you arrive at your destination, shop for healthy foods.

Look for co-ops, Whole Foods Market and farmers' markets so you can stock up on healthy foods and not rely on eating out your entire trip. These stores are also great places to restock your supply of snacks for the trip back. If most of your meals are eaten at a family member's house, offer to make a side of roasted vegetables instead of corn, baked Sweet Potato Wedges instead of French fries and our Baked Beans instead of beans from a can.

For more information, listen to our Dishing Up Nutrition podcast on the topic of Nutrition for the Road: By Plane, Train or Car.

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About the author

Brenna loves nutrition and its life-changing effects. With an active lifestyle, she knows firsthand how to use the power of good nutrition to stay energized. She is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition. She received her B.S. in dietetics from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and completed her dietetic internship at West Virginia University Hospital, Morgantown. Brenna also received a M.S. in applied nutrition, with an emphasis on education, from Northeastern University. She worked as a clinical and wellness dietitian for the Phoebe Putney Memorial Health System in Albany, Georgia.

View all posts by Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD

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