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Eating Healthily While on Vacation

Lynn is a health coach and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

You want to have fun on your vacation, but at the same time, you don't want to blow all the hard work you have done on cleaning up your health. With a bit of preplanning, you can eat healthier while on vacation, but still, have a ton of fun. Here are some ideas to get you started.



  • If driving, take plenty of healthy snacks and bottled water with you.
  • Pack a picnic lunch with healthy foods for the trip.
  • If you're flying, see if you can ship a box of healthy snacks to your hotel.
  • Find out ahead of time where the natural grocers and health food stores are near your vacation location.

Healthy Snack Ideas

If you are driving, it is important to take healthy snacks in the car so you are not stopping and raiding the vending machines along the way. Healthy snacks can also be used while at your destination as snacks or lunch. Some snacks require a cooler, but most of them do not. One idea for a cooler is one that plugs into your vehicle and then can be taken into the hotel room and plugged in.

  • Fruit: apples, oranges, washed grapes, or bananas
  • Prepared veggies slices
  • Bagged popcorn with clean ingredients
  • Epic Meat Bars
  • Simple Mills crackers (could add a bit of peanut butter)
  • Simple Mills cookies
  • Lara Bars
  • Dried fruit (go easy as this is high in sugar)
  • Honest Jackson Sweet Potato Chips
  • Nuts: macadamia, cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds

Tips for Eating at Restaurants

No matter how hard you plan, chances are if you are on vacation you will probably eat out at least some. Here are some tips to help you eat healthier while at restaurants. Don't hesitate to ask questions about what is in your food, especially if you have allergies. Most restaurants are getting better at knowing that customers want to know what is in their food.

  • A garden salad is always a good choice but you may want them to leave off any cheese and croutons. Also, ask for any dressing to be left on the side. Better yet, ask if they will provide you with some olive oil and vinegar or lemons to squeeze over your salad.
  • Look for meat to be roasted, grilled, or baked without breading or sauces.
  • Steamed or roasted veggies make a great side dish, just make sure they aren't cooked in any sauces.
  • Stay clear of bread, cheese sauces, breading, appetizers, and anything fried or sauteed. Choose instead straightforward simple foods like salmon and roasted veggies or steak and baked potato.
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Breakfast Ideas

There are several ways to handle breakfast. You could eat at the hotel, eat in your room, or dine out at a restaurant. Many hotels offer free breakfast, but be warned: Most of the time it is rolls, pastries, and such. But you can usually find fresh fruit, which may be a good option. You could also bring instant oatmeal (with clean ingredients) with you and use a microwave or coffee maker (to heat the water). If you have a hotel fridge in your room, you could stop by a store and pick up some already prepared fruit to use for your breakfast.

Restaurant Chain Suggestions

Where you eat can be important too. As for restaurant chains, these have some of the cleanest ingredients:

  • Panera
  • Chipotle
  • First Watch (for breakfast and lunch)

You can also sometimes find small cafes or restaurants inside natural grocers or health food stores. Some places to look for are:

  • Whole Foods
  • Earth Fare
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Trader Joes (may have a small juice bar)

Of course, don't forget to look for small local diners. Since the healthy food movement, many more of them are popping up. You could also look for local farmer's markets. Sometimes they serve local food.

Take My Poll, Please!


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What would make a good travel snack?
    • snack cakes, cookies, potato chips
    • fruit, cut veggies, Lara Bars, Simple Mills crackers
  2. What would make a healthier meal at a restaurant?
    • grilled salmon, roasted potatoes and a garden salad
    • fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with a dinner roll
  3. You are trying to find a restaurant to stop at to eat? Which restaurant do you look for?
    • McDonalds
    • Panera
  4. You are flying to your destination, what is one way you can get healthy snacks?
    • Forget it, pick up whatever.
    • You could see about shipping a box of non parishable snacks to the hotel.
  5. What is a good solution for eating out while on vacation?
    • Going to a natural grocer that has a restaurant.
    • Just stopping at the first restaurant you see.

Answer Key

  1. fruit, cut veggies, Lara Bars, Simple Mills crackers
  2. grilled salmon, roasted potatoes and a garden salad
  3. Panera
  4. You could see about shipping a box of non parishable snacks to the hotel.
  5. Going to a natural grocer that has a restaurant.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Lynn Webb

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