5 Tips For Eating Healthy While Traveling

I just returned home from a bunch of speaking events and conferences, and I had an AMAZING time. Though I’m not a veteran of traveling by any means, I have been able to figure out some simple hacks that make eating healthy (and saving money) a lot easier than most people realize.

And why should you eat healthy while traveling? Well, an abnormally high percentage of people actually get sick while traveling, especially right after they return home. It’s the hustle and bustle, the low quality food, the flights, the lack of sleep, and the lowered immune system that can put you down for the count.

And who wants to be sick while traveling, or even worse, when you get home and want to tell everyone what an awesome time you had?

I’ll have none of that thank you. In the immortal words of the scholar, Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So, today I’m going to share with you 5 tips to help you eat healthy while traveling, feel great, and even save a few dollars.ย 

5 Tips For Eating Healthy While Travelingย 

Tip #1: Plan ahead. Oh so simple, but so overlooked. By planning ahead I was able to see what restaurants, grocery stores, and health food stores were near my hotel. All it took was a quick consultation with Dr. Google and I was able to figure out where I’d be getting my food.

I usually get a rental car so that I can head right to the local Whole Foods as soon as I land. This time the hotel I stayed at actually had a shuttle that dropped me off right in front of Whole Foods. Big time score, and that rental car cash stayed right in my pocket.

Seriously, just taking 10 to 20 minutes to figure out what and where you’re going to eat in advance can save you a serious headache (and keep some unwanted fat off your body).

Tip #2: Bring some superfoods. If anyone ever says that they don’t eat superfoods, simply reply by saying, “Interesting, I didn’t know that they still make old models like you…”

Superfoods are the traveler’s best friends. Easy to pack in your suitcase, and easy to add to any meal to radically upgrade the nutritional value. Several nights I made a simple salad in my hotel room, and because I packed some spirulina in my suitcase, I was able to add incredible amounts of micronutrients, enzymes, amino acids and more by just mixing in a teaspoon or two of the protein governator, spirulina.

You can throw some goji berries into your morning granola at the hotel, mix some hemp seeds in with your veggies or salad, and so many other simple additions as well.

Most importantly, packing superfoods like Reishi Mushroom can help fortify your immune system and keep you protected from the travel ills that try to bring you down. Pack your superfoods for super protection!

Tip #3: Pack a mini-blender (or at LEAST a shaker bottle). This one tip alone has saved me more time, money, and wasted energy than anything else. If you know how to make a good superfood smoothie, then you know that it can keep you nourished and satisfied for HOURS, and have your energy levels much higher than the people around you.

At one of the speaker’s conferences I was sitting in on, I could see several people fast asleep after they’ve spent thousands of dollars to be there. Not cool! I bet they wish they felt more energized, and I bet they’re blaming it on something other than what they’re putting in their mouth. Pastries and donuts for breakfast = sleepy time. Fill your body with great stuff to start the day, and an easy way to do that is with a breakfast smoothie.

I brought along my NutriBullet blender. It tucked nicely right in to my suitcase with plenty of room for my clothes and superfoods. There’s also the Magic Bullet as a good option. I’ve used both, but I’m really happy with my NutriBullet.

At a minimum, you absolutely must bring along a real shaker bottle. I like the classic BPA-free BlenderBottle. This way you can at least get in some high quality protein powder, ground flax or ground chia seeds, plus any other powdered superfoods you want to bring along. Add them to the bottle with water or almond milk, shake, and drink for a nutritional insurance policy. It can replace a meal, or at least add some dense nutrition to help keep you balanced.

Tip #4: Get a room with a mini-fridge. Again, just planning ahead and calling the hotel may surprise you in what you can get. Some hotels I’ve stayed at have had mini-refrigerators, tea/coffee makers, and even blenders if you simply ask for them.

In my most recent trip I was able to stock my mini-fridge with all the fixings for my salads, almond milk, and even frozen berries to make smoothies. Two of my 3 meals were covered each day just by asking for a room with a fridge (and stocking up on a few essentials). I spent $80 at Whole Foods for 8 meals. I had to eat at a restaurant 4 times and it cost me $100. If you do the math on that, planning ahead saved me over $100 easy on food. And guess what I get to do with that extra $100…

Whatever I want! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tip #5: Cut yourself some slack. One of the great things about traveling is trying different foods and really enjoying yourself. Yet, some people see enjoying themselves as a full permission slip to entertain their mouths with fried snickers bars and all-manner of things that can potentially give them a heart attack.

Obviously, I’m not talking about being irresponsible with your health and unconscious of what you’re doing. But you don’t want to go to the other extreme and have your militant attitude about health become a greater stress than the “risque” food you may be eating.

Seriously, cut yourself some slack. Try some new things, have a good time. Just make sure that you follow the 4 other tips here to ensure that you’re taking good care of yourself overall.

Now I want to hear from you! Did you like these travel tips? Is there any thing here you’ve already tried, or is there something else you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Natasha
    31 Jul 2013, 6:14 pm

    Thanks Shawn!
    You are always giving very helpful info.:) !!!
    I was thinking about my trip to Aruba on October, and ….you save my time and money ;)…for the best preparation for vacation. :)))))
    Natasha ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Shawn
      31 Jul 2013, 9:13 pm

      Awesome, Natasha, thank you!! You’re going to have an amazing time ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  • Whitney
    31 Jul 2013, 6:15 pm

    This article was right on time. Every time I go out of town I do every one of these things on your list. The last time I went out of town, my hotel was across the street from trader joe’s and a local health food store chain in that area. that was a huge score for me. I had a refrigerator, i had my blender cup, my magic bullet and my essential super foods to keep me going while i was there. Lucky for me it was a health based convention so my roomies weren’t that difficult to persuade to take me to a healthier restaurant. even if im just going 4-5 hours away from home i have this huge lunch bag that i travel with. It’s good to know im doing at least 5 things right!

    Reply
    • Shawn
      1 Aug 2013, 2:55 am

      Whitney, you’re definitely a superhero when it comes to this. Much respect!

      Reply
  • Donna
    31 Jul 2013, 8:19 pm

    Shawn I loved this post. Actually I love all of your posts. I travel a lot and I have my healthy routine and have experienced how good it feels to feel “normal” even after a trip. I have a few other things to add:
    1. If I can drive to my destination in less than 8 hours I usually do it to avoid airplanes and to be able to pack my cooler full of healthy food.
    2. I pack a grounded blanket to sleep on because my body is used to sleeping on grounded bed sheets at home.
    3. Raw almonds are a lifesaver. When I am somewhere that has nothing I am willing to eat, a handful of almonds and a cup of hot tea (I always carry teabags too!) will keep me feeling satisfied for hours.

    Reply
  • Shawn
    1 Aug 2013, 2:59 am

    Donna, excellent additions ๐Ÿ™‚ I love #1 on your list, and I’ll think about it next time I travel. I always bring my grounding sheets along too, so we’re definitely in the same boat there. And the raw almonds… totally agree. Great list, Donna, thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
  • traci s.
    1 Aug 2013, 4:46 am

    Such great information and tips, Shawn. So many of my clients tell me that they could never live the lifestyle that I do because they travel so much. You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear this (well, yes you would ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I think I may make copies of this article and when those words come up, hold up my hand and give them a copy. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    All it takes is a little investigating and planning and proves “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. Many thanks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  • Lisa
    1 Aug 2013, 8:23 am

    Hi Shawn

    Great article and practical suggestions!
    I always like to bring some Guarana powder with me as only very low dosage (1/4 teaspoon) is needed.
    Any suggestions what I could take with me for travelling in 4.000 โ€“5.600m altitude? Sickness could sneak up or simply rapid loss of energy due to lower oxygen levels….. last time I travelled this high altitude was 25 years ago!!!! (no problems then).

    Reply
  • Jennifer
    1 Aug 2013, 10:30 pm

    This is the way to “travel with style”…a HEALTHY life style! Sharing your person tips on how to develop and maintain a healthy life style affirms to those who do, and teaches those who do not. Thank you for taking us on your journey! =)

    Reply
  • 7 Aug 2013, 9:48 pm

    Shawn such great advice for traveling, because most times the healthy eating is kicked to the curb and you sure said it right feeling ran down, tired irritable and grumpy after trying to get in the swing of things. I need to keep this to reference when I am going on my next journey thanks again will be in touch soon.

    Reply
  • Ann
    13 Aug 2014, 1:55 am

    Great tips Shawn. I travel for business and the trips are usually one-night trips. I pack nuts and bee jerky to eat at the airport and plane because I don’t like airport food. I love your tip about scoping out the healthy food markets close to the hotel – I will definitely try that next time!

    Reply
  • 7 Oct 2014, 6:44 pm

    Great tips, Shawn. Me and the hubby just got back from NYC a week ago to visit friends, and while there I got crazy looks from everyone because I insisted on bringing my super foods and “sabotage”, as my husband calls it (health powder, coconut oil, cacao, etc). At the very least, I needed to maintain my morning health routine, which sets the tone for the rest of my day.

    Everyday, I got crazy looks when I mixed my shakes and added coconut oil to my coffee…got the side eye because I packed my own healthy snacks…also got called a “health freak”…but you know what? It didn’t matter. I felt great and had wonderful energy, which was an absolute must because I had some business meetings to attend while there. Funny thing is, almost every single time someone offered me food or pressured me to eat something, it was low quality stuff that would have wreaked havoc on my system (pizza, pop, etc.). While I allowed myself to “splurge” for a meal or two (how could I pass up authentic West Indian food?!), I generally didn’t have a hard time making healthier choices because I’d already started the day off right every morning.

    Even when the hubby started coming down with a cold during the trip, he still put up some resistance before dipping into my “sabotage.” By the end of the trip, he was starting to feel better, ha!

    Planning ahead when traveling is definitely worth it, even if it makes you stand out. Good times.

    Reply
  • Toki Tover
    10 Oct 2014, 6:43 pm

    Hey Shawn Love this!
    I have been listening to your podcasts and just purchased earth grown from onnit.

    I would loove to see you and jade create a podcast for newly pregnant women who want to eat healthy, have energy, good for exercise and what’s good to eat when traveling!

    Thank you for changing my life,

    Toki

    Reply