Tips for Eating Healthy when Traveling


Vacation is a time of fun and relaxation. New places and often new foods. Does this mean you will undo all your healthy eating?

Not necessarily.

Healthy eating on the road begins with some planning at home before you leave.

Pack your car with healthy snacks that will satisfy the need for crunch and that can be eaten while driving. Just as texting can be a driving hazard, so can eating while driving -- skip anything that requires utensils or is so messy several napkins are required.


When traveling this summer across country or just out to the park, pack a cooler. Healthy choices to put in your cooler:

  1. Bottles of water; unsweetened ice-tea; juice
  2. Vegetables: bags of baby carrots, bags of slices celery, bags of raw snow peas.
  3. Fruits: seedless grapes, whole or sliced apples, peeled oranges in sandwich bags or sealed containers, blueberries.
  4. Protein choices can include cheese sticks, yogurt (drinkable to consume while driving, cups to eat at rest stops, the hotel, or the park).

Healthy choices that don’t need the cooler:

  1. Fruit: Apples, bananas.
  2. Trail mix (be careful of serving amounts here); nuts and dried fruit to mix into the yogurt for added protein and flavor
  3. Granola bars or energy bars
  4. 100-calorie packs of crackers
  5. Nugget pretzels

Use your knowledge of healthy foods when making choices at drive-throughs or restaurants. Always consider portion size and avoid having your meal “super-sized.”

A few lunch/dinner choices in the 300 to 400 calorie range:

  1. McDonald's® kid's hamburger with sliced apples without dip
  2. McDonald's® Asian Salad with grilled chicken and low-fat sesame ginger dressing
  3. Burger King® TENDERGRILL Chicken Sandwich without sauce
  4. Wendy’s® Caesar Chicken Salad with 1 packet Caesar dressing and croutons
  5. KFC® Tender Roast® Sandwich or Honey BBQ
  6. Panera® kid's Deli Ham (or Turkey or Roast Beef) without cheese and fruit cup

A few options in 500 to 600 calories range:

  1. Chick-Fil-A® Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, Carrot & Raisin Salad and fruit cup
  2. 12" Subway® Turkey Breast, Ham, Roast Beef, Club® with low-fat mayonnaise
  3. KFC® Tender Roast Chicken sandwich without sauce, corn on the cob (small) and BBQ baked beans
  4. Boston Market® quarter roasted white chicken (no skin or wing), green beans, steamed vegetables and new potatoes

Steven G. Aldana, Ph.D. has written "The Stop & Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide" which is full of good advise for choosing healthy food at fast food restaurants or filling stations. It is available in PDF form here. It contains calorie and nutrition for many restaurants.