How To Eat Healthy When Traveling (Tips From The Nutritionists!)

By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
July 20, 2021

travel-tips.jpgCooking at home and incorporating real food in your own kitchen is one thing (and we highly recommend it!), but what happens when you go on vacation, spend the weekend at the cabin, or you’re on the road for work? Is it still possible to eat healthy when you’re camping or at your kid’s ball tournament all weekend or when you’re on the go?

Yes! It is possible! It might just call for a little more planning and creativity, but it’s doable, tasty, and satisfying. It is so worth it to eat real food in order to FEEL GOOD while traveling and doing the things you love. (We can’t think of anything worse than being constipated on a beautiful beach vacation over spring break because of the junk food that’s thrown us off track!)

With the pace of the world picking up, community events resuming, and travel looking really appealing after months staying-at-home, we polled our nutritionists and dietitians (and our chef!) to get their tips and tricks for eating healthy on the go.

Scope It Out

“Map out your stops and your destination so you know ahead of time what is available to eat – restaurants, grocery stores, co-ops, etc. Looking at the menu ahead of time can help you decide if that restaurant offers enough healthy options for you and it also takes the pressure out of making good choices in the moment. Even most gas stations these days (if you HAVE to go there) offer some real-food finds – like pieces of fruit, veggie cups, hard boiled eggs, cheese, jerky or beef sticks.” – Leah Kleinshcrodt, MS, RD, LD

“I will often scope out the restaurants nearby where we're going and look at the menus. That will often dictate how much additional food I'll bring.” – Britni Vincent, RD, LD

Cook For Yourself

“I tell my clients: everywhere you go there is a grocery store. You can pick up hard-boiled eggs, organic fruit and vegetables such as baby carrots, baby cucumbers, and apples with a jar of organic nut butter. Nuts and beef sticks are handy too!” – Melanie Beasley, RD, LD

“On spring break this year, we ordered groceries on the drive down and had them delivered to our VRBO an hour after we arrived. It was pretty slick!” – Teresa Wagner, RD, LD

“I love VRBO or Airbnb, especially if you get access to a fridge and kitchen. Then you can make simple, healthy breakfasts and lunches, and then maybe save eating at a restaurant until dinners (or avoid eating out at all!). When I think camping, I think grilling – and you can grill all sorts of stuff, especially meats (burgers, brats, chicken, steak, etc.). Pair with some veggies and fat, and you’ve got a great meal!” – Leah

“I often do some basic chopping before I leave, like onions, peppers, garlic, etc.  This saves a ton of time and allows for more fun on the trail or at the beach, especially when camping. I have also cracked my eggs ahead of time into a mason jar to put in the cooler. This eliminates the worry of soggy egg cartons and broken shells.” – Marianne Jurayj, culinary nutrition educator & chef

Eating Out

“If you look for a gluten-friendly restaurant, generally they will have healthier options. I usually encourage steamed broccoli (lower in pesticides) with a side of butter and poached eggs as clean options on the menu that won’t incorporate unhealthy fats. Sometimes the only thing available is a burger without the bun but you can top it on lettuce, onion, and tomatoes with bacon.” – Melanie

 When eating out, order double of the seasonal/side vegetable dishes and pass on the starches. You can bring your own small packets of a healthy oil; I always have MCT/Coconut oil. Bring your own favorite seasoning too (i.e., Everything Bagel/Italian Blend). I just carry them in my oversize purse and can pull out at restaurants if needed.” – Jolene Carlson, MS, LN

Travel Savvy

“When traveling by car, we pack a big cooler of food so we don’t have to stop at a fast food place for a meal. For air travel, I usually bring some snack bars in my purse and if we have a small fridge where we stay, we hit up the local grocery store when we arrive.” – Alyssa Krejci, RD, LD, LMNT

“I love using collapsible containers to carry snacks. We freeze water in water bottles to use for our cooler and then drink it when it melts. OvaEasy Egg crystals are surprisingly good for backpacking and camping; just add water and heat!!” – Brandy Buro, RD

“When we travel by air I love to use my Pack It cooler. If you’re not sure if an ice pack would make it through security, go with the Pack It cooler so you can keep items cold without a separate ice pack.” – Cassie Weness, RD, LD

camping-food.jpg“For camping, I tend to bring protein that I have prepped/cooked and frozen, like pulled pork (frozen in muffin tin sizes), meatballs and even bacon. That keeps my cooler cold longer! It is easy to reheat on my camp stove or in a cast iron pot on the fire and I can pair it with fresh veggies for easy meals. Cast iron is a must for me. I often put fresh garlic, onions, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and red peppers in a small cast iron pot with a lid, add salt, pepper and a couple tbsp of olive oil and nestle it into the coals of the fire. When it is cooked down to a ratatouille-like stew, I stir in some fresh basil and eat with one of my cooked proteins. Summer in a pot!” – Marianne

On-The-Go Food Ideas

“For road trips, bring a cooler and pack healthy snacks – oatmeal almond balls, deli meat wraps, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, guacamole cups, fruit, chopped veggies, hummus, individual nut butter packets, nuts/seeds, RX bars, coconut flakes. Egg bake pieces work great for a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack.” - Leah

“Our family loves turkey and ham roll-ups when we travel.  I buy the Applegate deli meat and then either put dairy free cream cheese on each slice and a pickle in the middle OR sometimes I spread the deli slices with mayo and mustard for a different flavor profile.” – Cassie

“Some of our favorite bars for travel – the mini size is great portion size for snacks: Perfect Kids Bar, RX Kids Bar, RX Minis, Larabar Minis, That’s It Mini Fruit Bars, Made Good Granola Minis.” – Alyssa

“Some easy food ideas: tuna and salmon packets with no draining or can opener required. Fruits and veggies that don’t require prep (and are in their own “package”) are another great option: apples, mandarin oranges, bananas, mini peppers, cucumbers, baby carrots, snap peas.” – Brandy

“Other favorite travel-friendly foods my family likes: Mini Meat Sticks (Vermont Minis, Archer Minis), freeze dried fruit or vegetables, mixed nuts, Whisps parmesan crisps, Crunchmaster crackers, cheese sticks, Brami Lupini Beans, crunchy chickpeas, single serve nut butter pouches, clementines and sliced apples. Prepare a large container full of sliced cucumbers, mini bell peppers, celery, and carrots. Throw in some single serve hummus or mashed avocado cups and whip up some homemade energy bites (peanut butter protein balls).” – Alyssa

The best part about being in a health-oriented community (like you being here with us!) is we get to share resources and ideas to help us live (and eat!) our best, even when we are traveling and on the go. Check out these other resources below for more inspiration and add your favorite go-tos in the comments!

Additional Resources:

About the author

This blog content was written by a staff member at Nutritional Weight & Wellness who is passionate about eating real food.

View all posts by Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff

Great suggestions for car & air travel . Very helpful & Thank You to the best Nutritionists around.
July 20, 2021 at 9:47 am


We're so glad you found these tips helpful!

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