How to Still Eat Well While Traveling

Healthy Eating on Vacation

How to Still Eat Well While Traveling

Are you a globe trotter? I certainly have caught the travel bug. It’s exciting to pack up and take off to explore new landscapes, cultures and of course foods! However, when on holidays, maintaining a healthy eating routine can be challenging. Today, I will share my top 5 ways you can still eat healthy while traveling!

Andrea D'Ambrosio, Dietitian

Peru’s Sacred Valley

My intention with this blog is to inspire confidence that you can still eat well while enjoying your holidays. I’ll highlight the reasons why vacation eating can be a challenge and outline my top strategies.


Confident you can still eat well while traveling? Dietitian top #travel tips! Click To Tweet


How our Diets Change While Traveling:

When eating away from home our diets will often change in the following ways:

  • Different types of foods consumed
  • Larger quantities of food eaten
  • Lower fibre
  • Decrease in fruits and vegetables consumed
  • Change in meal timing and/or time changes
  • More alcohol or sugary beverages
  • Increase in desserts or treats available
  • New foods to try (variety increases consumption)
  • Higher calorie, salt and fat intake from restaurant-style entrees


enjoy travel food

Enjoying ice-cream with my pal, Sarah!


Diets change while traveling. Find out HOW & what you can do about it! #HealthyEating #Travel #Nutrition Click To Tweet

If you are renting a suite with a kitchenette or a house and are able to cook, you are more likely to sustain (at least some) of your current eating practices. However, this is often not the case if you are staying at a resort, hotel or vacationing on a cruise ship.


Andrea’s Top 5 Healthy Eating While Traveling Tips:


  1. Maintain Meal Frequency:

When on vacation, it is common to lose our routines and meal timings. Meals are skipped and larger meals are consumed to compensate. Try to focus on having three meals a day, no longer than four to six hours between. Your body needs fuel for all of that fun sight-seeing. This general structure allows you to regulate your appetite and intake to set you up for success in following the tips to come.

TIP: When on vacation, still focus on meal frequency! Avoid skipping meals or grazing all day. Click To Tweet

A common misconception among clients is that if consuming more calories for dinner, skipping breakfast and/or lunch is a good way to save calories for later. This is faulty logic. Unfortunately, our bodies do not work like this. When we go long stretches without eating, we actually slow our metabolism and promote over-eating at the next meal/snack. Our bodies go into a “starvation mode” without adequate fuel. This means we burns fewer calories and promote fat storage. We can even start breaking down muscle mass when we are not fueling throughout the day.

Brunch at Arabian Cafe

Breakfast at Arabian Cafe

On your next trip, enjoy your breakfast (click here for some everyday b-fast inspiration), ideally within two hours of waking. Eating a good breakfast is like tossing a log in the fire; it gets your metabolism burning and gives you fuel to explore and enjoy your vacation destination. Research also supports that breakfast controls calorie intake at subsequent meals by preventing over-eating.


Try to have #breakfast within 2 hours after waking up! Click To Tweet


  1. Bump up Fibre:

Fibre fills. Why? It’s the indigestible component of foods that slows digestion and keeps us feeling full longer. While traveling, our dietary fibre often falls short, and this may cause traveler’s constipation. Lower fibre may also be the reason we eat larger portions. Therefore, to keep those bowels moving and to keep feeling full, we need to bump up fibre!

#DYK: Fibre keeps us feeling full longer? Click To Tweet

Fibre-Boosting Suggestions:

  • Add handful of high fibre cereal for breakfast or as snack
  • Choose whole grain options – whole grain bread, quinoa, brown rice
  • Consume more vegetables
  • Choose beans and legumes, chickpeas, lentils
  • Add fruit as a snack
  • Consider a fibre supplement like psyllium if needed and recommended by dietitian



  1. Stay Hydrated

When traveling, we often walk more than we do in our daily routines. We also might be in the hot sun for long periods. Increase in sweat production increases hydration needs. Try bringing a water bottle during day trips. This is also handy for the airplane as you can fill it up before boarding and won’t have to bother the flight attendant. Plus, you won’t fall for the false “I’m hungry” pangs that may result from simply being thirsty.

We often mistake hunger for dehydration. Therefore, if we are adequately hydrated it is easier to choose to have a snack or meal when you are truly hungry and not just parched.


  1. Limit Liquid Calories

Liquid calories are notorious for adding up a lot quicker than food calories, and can be a major contributor to vacation weight gain. Keep those fun party drinks controlled by sipping water in between so you can not only have some fun during those social hours, but also stay hydrated.

When we drink our calories, research shows that we do not compensate by consuming fewer calories. Quite simply, the act of eating (chewing and stomach expanding) signals to the brain that calories have been ingested. This means that liquid calories add up a lot faster than if we consumed the same number of calories in food.



DYK: Liquid calories add up faster than same # of calories consumed in food. Click To Tweet

When on vacation (or anytime), decide the amount you feel comfortable drinking. The alcohol consumption guidelines are two standard drinks a day for men and one for women. Several of my clients enjoy drinking water at the same time to slow consumption. Here are additional tips to enjoy vacation beverages responsibly.


  1. Grant Yourself Unconditional Permission:

Remember you are on vacation! This means that you are living your life and enjoying not only the local culture and foods but yourself too! Do not deprive yourself of experiences or foods that you enjoy. For example, if there is a dessert on the menu that is speaking to you, why not ask your friend or family to split it? This allows you to indulge without consuming more than you need. Moderation is key and often a few tastes grants the satisfaction you crave.

Permission to eat


Bottom Line:

Eating healthy while traveling presents unique challenges, but it’s not impossible. By keeping these tips in mind, you will help yourself feel satisfied both physically and mentally as you enjoy your holiday.

Peggy's Cove, Halifax

My shot of Peggy’s Cove, Halifax


Any special tips or strategies you use while traveling? Would love to hear them!