How To Find Balance Between Nutrition and Traveling

Feel less unsettled and more at ease while away from home with these practical suggestions!


Most of us love the cozy predictability of being at home: the décor and sentimental pieces that make it homey, the kitchen and pantry full of our preferences, and (arguably the best part) our warm, inviting bed. We’re naturally creatures of habit.

Whether you travel frequently or partake in the occasional vacation, there’s usually an underlying buzz of nervousness surrounding being away from the comforts of home, and it’s tough to shake. Sound familiar?

For those who are always on the go, it can be challenging to find a routine that withstands the ups and downs, trepidations, and general chaos that goes along with traveling consistently. Through tireless trial and error, you might discover what works best for yourself when it comes to balancing nutrition and traveling. Or that may not be the case – which if so, is understandable because it’s a lot to try to keep up with. If you’re just getting your traveling feet wet, here’s a little guide that even the most seasoned travelers can find beneficial. In this, you’ll find practical tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you feel more confident and at ease while away from home so you can spend less time feeling unsettled and bogged down by second-guessing everything and more time taking in your new surroundings!

Tackling Food and Temptations

It’s easy enough to just dine out or order-in when out of town, but there’s another, more health-centered approach to aim for.

What’s around you?

If you’re in unfamiliar territory, a quick Google search can bring familiarity through finding the closest grocery stores. With that, you’ve zoned in on nearby produce and ingredients to cook with, if your temporary home enables you to do so. If your accommodation isn’t equipped with a full kitchen, consider grabbing a rotisserie chicken to get creative with for some of your meals instead. Most hotels supply microwaves for instance, which makes a rice bowl fast and feasible: rotisserie chicken, instant jasmine or brown rice, microwavable vegetables, and BBQ or another sauce of your choosing!

Google, the all-encompassing resource, can direct you to local meal-prepping companies too. Though these are typically on the higher end, so perhaps only get breakfast or one solid meal a day from there to contribute to your nutritional regimen.

Another handy tool is the “AroundMe” app: it categories everything around you, including coffee shops, gas stations, hotels, pharmacies, restaurants, and much more. This can simplify and diminish the stress of trying to find what you need.

Mindful planning

It’s extremely helpful to (roughly) plan what you’re going to eat during the day. Even if it’s just a small snack, try to eat something every 2-4 hours, therefore preventing any skipped meals which can unintentionally lead to overeating or making impulsive food choices.

It’s easy to lose track of time while traveling and exploring someplace new, so it wouldn’t hurt to make use of a planner or journal, the notes app on your phone, or scheduled alarms and reminders – just as you would at home. It can consist of any work-related commitments if it’s a business trip or bucket list destinations if it’s for leisure, in addition to any cues that could assist and support your nutrition: tracking your water intake, encouraging daily fruits and vegetables, notifying you to take your supplements, pushing you to be less restrictive and more indulgent.

The most important meal of the day

You guessed it, breakfast. The meal that can make or break your day, in my humble opinion. When you start your day off with a balanced meal, you’re setting yourself up for success for the rest of your day. Not just in how the meal will make you feel, but in that it may encourage you to eat better and more mindfully throughout the day as well.

To feel more energized and fuller for longer, a hearty breakfast should contain a combination of all 3 macronutrients: complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Below are some examples of wholesome options that hotels or breakfast spots may offer:

  • Eggs, egg whites, or omelets
  • 100% whole wheat toast or English muffins
  • Sweet or red potatoes
  • Turkey sausage
  • Canadian or turkey bacon
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Nuts

Not to mention, traveling with your own breakfast such as oats, instant oatmeal, protein powder, or any of my travel-friendly muffin recipes is always an option, too!

Eat your veggies

It’s no secret that vegetables reap countless benefits on your health and wellness. They’re also the key – in addition to hydration – to combatting that bloated, sluggish, yucky feeling you might feel while traveling, especially if you’re sitting down for extended periods of time (like on long flights or road trips).

Wondering how to do this and nourish your body while eating out, as restaurants and take out commonly accompany travels? Here’s an entire blog dedicated to how you can tackle that exact situation; it’ll no doubt be your saving grace!

Perpetually pack extra

You never know what might happen, even more so while on the road. Always expect the unexpected by packing plenty! If you’re going on a hike or venturing out for the day, instead of packing 1 meal, consider bringing 2 – just in case. Whether you get stuck in traffic, become lost, spend more time sightseeing than anticipated, or are behind schedule, you’ll have a backup meal to eat rather than falling victim to hanger or being tempted to stop and grab a potentially less than healthy alternative that likely won’t leave you feeling your best. It’s better to be over-prepared than under!

Why does water never laugh at jokes?

It isn’t a fan of dry humor, ha-ha-ha.

In all seriousness – often on trips, water intake lags. You don’t realize how much drinkable water via the fridge or a water filter is taken for granted until you don’t have access to it anymore.

To ensure you’re drinking enough, pack a shaker cup or an insulated water bottle and keep it filled at all times. To save money and for your convenience, you can refill your reusable bottle at most hotel gyms. And although it’s not the most ideal option, you can order bottled water and recycle the empty bottles afterwards.

Tracking your H2O during trips is quite effective; it increases your awareness on your intake and serves as a reminder by frequently bringing water to your attention. You can keep tabs in a note on your phone, on an app, or by monitoring how many ounces you drink (e.g., knowing your reusable water bottle is 36 oz. and striving to finish 2 a day).

Transportation and Accommodations

Depending on how you plan on getting to your destination, as well as where you’re staying, there are some other essentials to keep in mind.

By plane?

Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually a considerable amount of food you’re able to bring on planes, though the extent would depend on interstate vs. international. The MyTSA app is incredibly useful in that regard; you can search specific items to see if they are permitted in your carry-on and any caveats that you need to know.

Preferably use clear containers to pack food, to make it easier for security to check during inspection and to expedite the process for everyone – and be sure not to pack any liquid, creamy, or soupy foods!

By road?  (*insert Planes, Trains, and Automobiles dad reference here*)

The most convenient mode of transport because there are no restrictions as to what can be packed – specifically, a cooler! It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy; even a simple Styrofoam cooler, which are around $10, will get the job done.

However, there is one brand ideal for traveling: Six Pack Bags. With a variety of options to choose from such as shoulder bags, backpacks, and duffle bags, each one comes with ice packs and durable, heavy duty containers. While the cost jumps a bit, it is very much worthwhile and your health is something to invest in, after all. Purchases such as a Six Pack Bag are long-term investments that will without a doubt “wow” you with their quality, effectiveness (more than once, ice packs have stayed cold for 16 hours with Six Pack Bags), and functionality!

When using coolers, remember to use ice packs instead of ice, whenever possible. Ice packs last significantly longer and can be reused, making them more cost-efficient and even safer in the sense that you won’t have to worry about ice melting and leaking into the containers, consequently spoiling your food (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything).


You know what they say about assuming. While microwaves and mini fridges seem like staples for hotel rooms, they aren’t guarantees. If you arrive and discover your room doesn’t have one or both, it’s worth calling the front desk to inquire whether they can deliver either to your room for your stay!

When it comes to accommodation, think outside of the box and consider an AirBnB. The concept of staying in a stranger’s home can raise hesitations. And with good reason, but AirBnB’s provide a sense of normalcy, making everything about traveling SO much more easy-going and comfortable. Sometimes they are cheaper than hotels and will almost always come with more amenities, too, such as a full kitchen, washer, dryer, roomier setting, and an atmosphere that will make you feel more at home than a typical hotel scene. When booking an AirBnB, Vrbo, or similar, here are a few pointers to put your mind at ease and ensure a better stay:

  • Always book a place that has reviews
  • Skim through the reviews to gain more insight, particularly regarding cleanliness (because everyone’s definition of clean is different)
  • Is the host a corporation or an average Joe? While both stays are perfectly hospitable, places hosted by an individual or couple oftentimes feels homier and offers more personal touches and thoughtful details. 

The {packing} limit does not exist

Do you ever get told that you pack too much? Or too little? If you travel light, you probably know someone who’s notorious for packing more than they need. Those over-packing people might be onto something though. Just like preparing more than assuming, pack everything you think you may need, and then some.

It sounds excessive, but if you can spare the extra space, it’s better to have it than to not. Forgetting an essential or belonging you really wanted is a sinking feeling. So by packing to your suitcase’s limits, you can feel more reassured knowing you’re ready for anything (and to have the best time imaginable)!

When you pack plenty, you can also feel closer to your daily routine, even while you’re away from home. The closer you are to your standard patterns, the more innate and painless it is to keep up with your eating habits and workouts on the road.

Plus, while some hotels and AirBnB’s have a majority of the supplies listed below available for free, some don’t. Why not pack it and have it there when or if you need it? This could include:

  • Utensils
  • Food storage containers (which can double as compartments to organize your carry-on or store small, miscellaneous items)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Reusable sandwich bags, Ziploc bags, etc.
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Homemade trail mix, raw or lightly salted nuts
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters (packed in the appropriate bag, of course)
  • Fruits that travel well such as bananas, apples, and oranges
  • Instant oatmeal with minimally added sugar, grits, or cream of wheat
  • Pretzels, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, cauliflower crackers, vegetable chips
  • Tuna packets, jerky (beef, venison, turkey, or plant-based)
  • Pre-made sandwiches; non-perishable if a cooler isn’t accessible
  • Protein powder and protein bars

In addition to those ideas, you can pack as much food and as many snacks as you can fit, saving you time, energy, and likely money in the end. Even if you aren’t traveling out of town, but you’re constantly on the go, you can check out my complete portable snack list in my eBook here for the ultimate travel-friendly snacking experience.

The *departing* conclusion

Try not to hold yourself to unrealistic expectations when trying to balance traveling and eating well. Chances are, you might not get another opportunity to eat at those local, one-of-a-kind restaurants or immerse yourself in a different culture. Traveling is meant for saying yes to those experiences that you never get at home.

It’s never wrong to treat yourself, but it is essential to have a plan – set your intentions, practice moderation, and have non-negotiables in place – such as indulging in one “treat yourself” moment each day. This way, you can relax with your nutrition a little without it getting out of hand and leaving you feeling regretful!

Listen to your body, be flexible, and most importantly stay present. Things rarely go according to plan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for when they don’t. It takes practice, self-awareness, and willpower to find that optimal level of balance that’s both doable and enjoyable; but try not to let it stop you from experiencing and embracing your travels to the absolute fullest!

For more detailed, individualized travel tips, take a look at these Instagram posts:

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