Prioritize healthy eating when traveling


Brittany Moon/Iowa State Daily

Keeping healthy snack options on hand, possibly in a carry-on bag, while traveling can help combat jet lag and keep you energized.  

Brittany Moon

Planning a trip can be stressful on its own. Making sure you have packed what’s needed and ensuring you make it to your flight on time are just two of the countless things to think about. An important aspect to keep in mind during any trip is to maintain healthy eating habits while on vacation or a work trip.

I traveled to Chicago this past weekend for my first market, and as a merchandising major, it was incredibly exciting. Since I was only going for two and a half days, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my trip.

I packed everything I needed into a 22-inch rolling carry-on suitcase and a tote bag as my purse. Having this space limitation required a lot of strategic packing and extensive planning. Planning my meals and snacks was just as important as deciding which clothing and shoe options to include.

When I travel I tend to eat much healthier when my meals are roughly planned in advance. My carry-on always includes a few healthy options for bars such as belVita — I prefer the  four-pack breakfast biscuits — or some kind of a protein bar.

When selecting a protein bar, it is important to focus on the amount of sugar and fat contained in it because many protein bars also contain high amounts of sugar and fat. Balance brand peanut butter bars are my favorite because they remind me of my usual peanut butter toast and fill me up.

Justin’s peanut butter packets are great snack items to have because you can toss them into your bag and eat alone or with crackers or pretzels. The snack is also an all-natural product with 60 percent less sugar than leading peanut butter and is vegan.

It is best to purchase these bars and snacks at a grocery store before heading to the airport because the prices tend to be much lower. Another way to keep money in line is to research prices of some restaurants near the location where you will be staying. This allows you to plan out what you should eat while on a trip. Looking at a menu from a restaurant before going there will make it easier to know the healthy options that are availalbe and make everything move a lot quicker.

One tip for when you are out and about is to focus on items that are high in protein and healthy fats to keep you full and give you energy throughout the day. If you are attending any kind of an event, another tip is to ask for nutrition information before making a purchase. Finally, when fueling up for the day or getting a midday pick-me-up, it helps to steer clear of sugar-packed coffee beverages. Something simple, like a black coffee or unflavored latte, will help lower your sugar intake and still provide caffeine. 

Maintaining healthy habits while eating on vacation is good for your health and overall function. Jet lag affects a lot of travelers, but keeping energy and nutrition high will help combat the negative affects of it. The next time you are traveling for work or vacation, remember that packing snacks and planning meals can be just as important as getting to the airport on time.