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7 Healthy Eating Tips for When You’re Traveling

We all want to enjoy vacation, but it's easy to over-indulge. How can we balance splurging with good choices? We've asked nutrition experts to recommend healthy eating tips for travelers!

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Taste of Home

Keep healthy snacks on hand

By having your own packed snacks, you’re less likely to turn to bad choices when faced with hunger. “Portable options like fruit, pre-portioned nuts, certain types of jerky, as well as protein bars work great,” says Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer at HelloFresh.

She recommends smart snacks that can bridge the gap between meals. “Fiber and protein fill you up longer, so you won’t be ravenous between meals and end up overeating,” Sidoti adds. Try these grocery store tricks to save money before your trip.

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Infused water with orange and lime in a bottleElena Veselova/Shutterstock

Stay hydrated

Being thirsty can often be confused with hunger. By drinking lots of water, you know your body stays hydrated. Bringing a reusable water bottle (like this one) also can save money on a trip. “Whether it’s flat or bubbly, it’s all good—the key is that you stay hydrated,” Sidoti says. Use these strategies to save more money while you travel.

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Mahane Yehuda Market is a marketplace in Jerusalem, Israel. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the market's more than 250 vendorsShutterstock / Alexandre Rotenberg

Save splurges for local cuisine

If you’re going to splurge, eat like a local foodie! “Be selective about your treats and try foods or cuisines that are unique to the destination,” Sidoti recommends. Also, conserve calories during a day where you plan on indulging. “If you know you’re going somewhere that has amazing ice cream for example, eat lighter at other meals,” she says.

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tourist couple walking on cobblestone street vacation in europe on holiday breakShutterstock / Daxiao Productions

Stay active

When you’re on vacation, walk or bike around at your destination. Explore the sites to balance out lounging on the beach! “Try to stay in hotels that have a gym and keep up with regular workout routine whenever possible,” Sidoti says.

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Portrait of mature bearded man reading menu in modern cafe with young waitress giving him ordering advice on business lunch;Shutterstock / SeventyFour

Pay close attention to menus

When dining in a restaurant, Sidoti says to avoid menu items with the word “smothered” (typically means it’s covered in cheese, cream, etc.), glazed (high in sugar) or deep-fried. Instead, opt for items that are grilled or infused, which often means the flavor is coming from herbs or spices.

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Pasta with seafood and white wine on stone table. Mussels and prawns.Shutterstock / Evgeny Karandaev

Split the bill (and your portion)

Traveling tends to include more meals dining out, so it’s even more important to weave healthy eating tips into your plans. “Portion sizes at restaurants are often double, even triple a normal serving size of a meal,” says Julie Harrington, RD, a culinary nutrition consultant and chef in New Jersey. “Start with a salad and share an entrée with your travel companion. Plus, it cuts your dining bill in half, too.”

When you return from a trip, try these healthy comfort food recipes at home.

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Portrait of smiling adult friends in outdoors restaurant and smiling waitress. Focus on blonde girl.Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Pick dining spots in advance

Talia Segal Fidler, nutritional curator at The Lodge at Woodloch, a spa in Hawley, Pennsylvania, looks for places that she wants to go to before she leaves town. “I check the menu and select a few possible choices or healthy possible combinations. I will also look for a calorie count on the menu in order to make lighter and healthier choices,” she says.

Here are some more tricks to help you pick low-calorie choices on restaurant menus.

Erica Lamberg
I have more than 15 years of writing and copywriting experience.  I write business and travel features, create copywriting for Coldwell Banker and write Web content for sites including USA Today's 10 Best, Fodor's Travel, Reader's Digest, Cruise Critic, Bankrate, Gannett, and others. I am based in Philadelphia.
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