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How To Keep A Balanced Diet While You Travel


by Sheela Balderrama



Welcome to the exciting world of food travel! There’s nothing quite like embarking on a journey and discovering the culinary wonders of different destinations. From savoring local delicacies to exploring bustling food markets, food travel allows you to experience a place through its flavors and traditions. However, it’s easy to get caught up in indulgence and lose sight of a balanced diet while on the road.


But fear not! With a bit of planning and mindfulness, it’s entirely possible to keep a balanced diet while immersing yourself in the culinary delights of your travels. This article will provide you with practical tips and strategies to help you make healthy choices without compromising on taste or experience. Whether you’re a seasoned food traveler or someone embarking on their first gastronomic adventure, this guide is tailored to ensure your well-being and enjoyment go hand in hand.


The key to maintaining a balanced diet while traveling is finding that perfect equilibrium between indulgence and nourishment. It’s about savoring new flavors and cultural experiences while also taking care of your body and mind.


In the following sections, we will delve into the specifics of how to plan ahead, navigate airport and train station food options, choose healthy dishes at restaurants, snack smartly on the go, stay hydrated, manage portion sizes, accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies, and even incorporate exercise into your travel routine. So, let’s embark on this journey together, armed with knowledge and a passion for food travel!


Planning Ahead: Tips for a Balanced Diet on the Road

When it comes to maintaining a balanced diet while traveling, a little planning can go a long way. Here are some practical tips to help you stay on track:

  • Research local cuisine: Before you embark on your trip, take some time to research the local cuisine of your destination. Familiarize yourself with traditional dishes and ingredients, so you can make informed choices when dining out.
  • Choose accommodations with kitchen facilities: Opt for accommodation that offers kitchen facilities. This gives you the flexibility to prepare your own meals using fresh, local ingredients.
  • Pack healthy snacks: Pack a variety of nutritious snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, and rice cakes. These will come in handy during long flights, bus rides, or when you find yourself in a location without many healthy food options.
  • Stock up on essentials: If you have access to a grocery store, stock up on essentials like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. This will ensure you have a solid foundation for creating balanced meals during your travels.
  • Consider dietary restrictions: If you have specific dietary restrictions or allergies, make sure to research the local cuisine and dining options that cater to your needs. Be prepared with translation cards or apps to communicate your requirements to restaurant staff.

By planning ahead and being proactive, you can set yourself up for success in maintaining a balanced diet while on the road. This way, you can fully enjoy the culinary wonders of your destination without compromising your well-being.


Eating Well at Airports and Train Stations

When you’re traveling, airports and train stations often become inevitable stopovers. These transportation hubs are notorious for offering limited healthy food options. However, with a few smart choices, you can still eat well even in these bustling environments:

  • Bring your own snacks: Packing your own healthy snacks can make a world of difference. Opt for portable options like fresh fruit, trail mix, or protein bars. This way, you have control over what you’re consuming and can avoid unhealthy choices.
  • Look for healthier fast-food alternatives: Many airports and train stations now offer healthier fast-food options. Look for places that offer grilled or baked proteins, salads, and whole-grain options. Avoid fried and greasy food items.
  • Visit local food kiosks or markets: Some airports and train stations have local food kiosks or markets where you can find fresh and healthy options. These local vendors often prioritize quality ingredients and authentic flavors.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and during your journey. This will not only keep you hydrated, but it can also help curb unnecessary cravings.

Remember, being mindful of your choices and opting for healthier alternatives whenever possible can make a significant difference in maintaining a balanced diet even in transportation hubs like airports and train stations.


Choosing Healthy Options at Restaurants

Eating out at restaurants is an integral part of food travel. While it can be tempting to indulge in rich and indulgent dishes, there are ways to make healthier choices without sacrificing flavor and experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate restaurant menus:

  • Scan the menu: Take a few moments to read through the menu and look for healthier options. Many restaurants now indicate dishes that are low in calories, vegetarian/vegan-friendly, or gluten-free.
  • Opt for fresh ingredients: Choose dishes that feature fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Look for items that are grilled, roasted, or steamed, as these cooking methods require less added oil or butter.
  • Control portion sizes: Restaurant portions tend to be larger than what we actually need. Consider sharing a dish with a travel companion or ask for a half portion. Alternatively, you can pack leftovers to enjoy later.
  • Skip the extras: Avoid adding on extras like creamy dressings, sauces, or sides that are deep-fried or heavily processed. Opt for healthier alternatives like vinaigrette dressings, steamed vegetables, or a side salad.
  • Ask for customization: Don’t hesitate to ask the server if certain ingredients can be substituted or if the dish can be prepared with less oil or salt. Most restaurants are accommodating and willing to make adjustments to meet your dietary preferences.
  • Indulge mindfully: It’s okay to indulge in a decadent dessert or richer dish occasionally. The key is to do it mindfully and in moderation. Savor each bite, and listen to your body’s signals of satisfaction.

By being conscious of your choices and considering healthier options, you can enjoy delicious meals at restaurants while still staying on track with your balanced diet. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make special requests – most restaurants are more than willing to accommodate your needs.


Snacking Smartly: Healthy Options on the Go

Snacking is an inevitable part of traveling, especially when you’re on the go and need quick energy boosts. However, snacking doesn’t have to derail your balanced diet. With some strategic planning, you can choose healthy options that keep you satisfied and nourished throughout your journey:

  • Pre-pack your own snacks: Before you set off on your trip, take the time to pre-pack healthy snacks. Opt for items like fresh fruit, cut vegetables, homemade trail mix, or yogurt cups. Portable options like these are easy to carry and provide essential nutrients.
  • Choose protein-rich snacks: Protein helps keep you fuller for longer and provides sustained energy. Pack snacks like nuts and seeds, jerky, hard-boiled eggs, or protein bars to keep hunger at bay.
  • Opt for whole foods: Whenever possible, choose whole foods over processed snacks. Whole foods are less likely to be high in added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Examples include whole fruits, raw nuts, or air-popped popcorn.
  • Read labels: If you’re buying packaged snacks, be sure to read the labels. Look out for excessive amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats, or artificial ingredients. Choose snacks with shorter ingredient lists and recognizable, natural ingredients.
  • Stay hydrated: Sometimes, cravings for snacks can be mistaken for dehydration. Make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking enough water throughout your journey. Carry a refillable water bottle and aim to drink water regularly.
  • Avoid airport or convenience store temptations: Airports and convenience stores often have aisles filled with sugary and salty snacks. Instead of succumbing to these temptations, seek out healthier options like fresh fruit stands, yogurt shops, or health food stores.

By keeping a selection of healthy snacks on hand and making mindful choices when snacking, you can nourish your body while on the go. Remember, snacking should be a complement to your balanced meals, not a replacement. Aim for nutrient-dense snacks that provide sustained energy and support your overall well-being.


Staying Hydrated: Importance of Drinking Water

When it comes to maintaining a balanced diet while traveling, it’s not just about the food choices you make, but also about staying properly hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for your overall health and well-being, especially when you’re on the go. Here’s why staying hydrated is important and some tips to help you maintain hydration levels:

  • Regulates body temperature: Water helps regulate your body temperature, especially in hot climates or during physical activities. When you’re traveling, both internal and external factors can increase the need for hydration.
  • Aids digestion: Drinking enough water supports proper digestion and helps prevent digestive issues like constipation. When you’re trying new foods or adjusting to a different diet, staying hydrated is crucial for optimal digestion.
  • Boosts energy levels: Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels. By staying well-hydrated, you can maintain your energy levels and feel more alert and focused during your travels.
  • Supports overall health: Water plays a vital role in various bodily functions, including nutrient absorption, circulation, and flushing out toxins. By drinking enough water, you support your overall health and keep your body functioning optimally.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle: Bring a reusable water bottle with you during your travels. This way, you can refill it whenever needed and reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles.
  • Drink water before meals: Start your meals by drinking a glass of water. Not only does this help with hydration, but it can also help control your appetite and prevent overeating.
  • Set reminders: With the excitement and distractions of traveling, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. Set reminders on your phone or watch to remind yourself to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Remember, different climates, altitudes, and physical activities can impact your hydration needs. Listen to your body’s signals and drink water regularly to stay properly hydrated. By making hydration a priority, you’ll feel more energized, focused, and ready to enjoy your food travel adventures.


Avoiding Overindulgence: Decoding Portion Sizes

When it comes to maintaining a balanced diet while traveling, portion control plays a crucial role. It’s easy to get carried away and indulge in larger portions or multiple servings, especially when you’re surrounded by delicious food. However, understanding and managing portion sizes can help you avoid overindulgence. Here are some tips to help you decode portion sizes and maintain balance:

  • Learn visual cues: Familiarize yourself with visual cues for portion size. For example, a serving of protein should be about the size of a deck of cards, a serving of pasta or grains should fit in your cupped hand, and a serving of fruits or vegetables should be about the size of your fist.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls: When dining out or preparing meals, opt for smaller plates and bowls. This can trick your mind into thinking you’re consuming a larger portion while actually controlling the amount of food you’re eating.
  • Practice mindful eating: Slow down and savor each bite. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, rather than when you’re overly full.
  • Share dishes: When dining out with others, consider sharing dishes. This allows you to enjoy a variety of flavors without overeating. It’s a great way to experience different dishes while keeping portion sizes in check.
  • Pack leftovers: If your dish comes in a large portion, don’t be afraid to ask for a take-out container or pack leftovers for later. This way, you can enjoy the meal over multiple sittings and avoid the temptation of finishing it all in one go.
  • Avoid unlimited buffets: Buffet-style meals can be a challenge when it comes to portion control. Before diving in, survey the options and choose a variety of smaller portions of different dishes. Focus on enjoying the flavors, rather than trying to consume large quantities.

Remember, it’s not about depriving yourself of your favorite foods or completely avoiding indulgence. Instead, it’s about having a balanced approach and being mindful of portion sizes. By understanding what constitutes an appropriate portion and listening to your body’s cues, you can enjoy your food travel experiences while maintaining a healthy balance.


Managing Dietary Restrictions and Food Allergies

Having dietary restrictions or food allergies shouldn’t hinder your enjoyment of food travel. With a little preparation and awareness, you can still navigate new cuisines and find delicious options that cater to your needs. Here are some tips for managing dietary restrictions and food allergies while on the road:

  • Do your research: Before traveling, research the local cuisine and familiarize yourself with common ingredients and dishes. This will help you identify potential allergens or ingredients that may not align with your dietary restrictions.
  • Learn key phrases and translations: It can be helpful to learn key phrases or translations related to your dietary restrictions or food allergies. This will enable you to effectively communicate your needs to restaurant staff or locals who may not speak your language.
  • Communicate your allergies or dietary requirements: When dining out, don’t hesitate to inform your server or chef about your dietary restrictions or food allergies. They can often suggest suitable alternatives or make modifications to accommodate your needs.
  • Cook your own meals: Consider booking accommodations that provide kitchen facilities, such as vacation rentals or serviced apartments. This way, you have control over the ingredients and cooking methods, ensuring that your meals are safe and aligned with your dietary needs.
  • Pack emergency snacks: Always carry emergency snacks that fit your dietary restrictions or allergies. This way, you have a backup option in case you’re unable to find suitable food options while traveling.
  • Seek out specialty restaurants or shops: Look for specialty restaurants or shops that cater specifically to dietary restrictions or allergies. These establishments may offer a wider range of options and have staff who are knowledgeable about accommodating specific needs.
  • Be cautious with cross-contamination: If you have severe food allergies, be mindful of cross-contamination. Inform restaurant staff about your allergies and ask about their practices to prevent cross-contact with allergens in the kitchen.

By being proactive and vigilant, you can manage your dietary restrictions and food allergies while still enjoying the diverse flavors of food travel. With the right preparation and communication, you can have a safe and enjoyable culinary experience wherever you go.


Keeping Up with Exercise: Fitness Tips for Travelers

While food is often the highlight of food travel, it’s equally important to incorporate exercise into your routine to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Traveling doesn’t mean you have to put your fitness goals on hold. Here are some fitness tips to help you stay active while on the go:

  • Walk or bike whenever possible: Explore your destination by walking or cycling instead of relying solely on taxis or public transportation. This not only allows you to see more of the city but also helps you stay active and burn calories.
  • Utilize hotel facilities: Many hotels have fitness centers or gyms for guests to use. Take advantage of these facilities and incorporate a workout into your travel routine. Even a short session of cardio or strength training can make a difference.
  • Engage in active sightseeing: Look for activities that involve physical movement, such as hiking, swimming, or kayaking. This way, you can explore the beauty of your destination while staying active.
  • Follow workout routines on-the-go: If you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, there are numerous workout apps and websites that offer bodyweight exercises or short HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts. You can do these workouts in your hotel room or a nearby park.
  • Join local fitness classes or experiences: Many destinations offer fitness classes or unique experiences like yoga on the beach or outdoor group workouts. Check for local studios or community events and join in the fun while breaking a sweat.
  • Stretch and practice mindfulness: Traveling can be tiring on your body. Don’t forget to stretch regularly to improve flexibility and prevent muscle tightness. Additionally, engage in mindfulness practices such as yoga or meditation to relax and rejuvenate.
  • Stay active during transit: Take advantage of layovers or long flights by walking around the airport or doing some stretches and exercises in your seat. These small movements can help prevent stiffness and improve blood circulation.

Remember, staying active while traveling is not about intense workouts or strict routines. It’s about finding opportunities to move your body and make exercise enjoyable. By incorporating physical activity into your itinerary, you’ll not only maintain your fitness goals but also enhance your overall travel experience.



Food travel is a wonderful way to explore different cultures, indulge in culinary delights, and create lasting memories. However, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and take care of your well-being while on the road. With the tips and strategies provided in this article, you can enjoy your food travel adventures without compromising your health and fitness goals.


By planning ahead, researching local cuisine, and packing healthy snacks, you can ensure that you have nutritious options on hand. Choosing wisely at airports, train stations, and restaurants allows you to make healthier choices while still savoring the flavors of your destination. Staying hydrated, managing portion sizes, and accommodating dietary restrictions and food allergies are all essential practices for maintaining balance.


Incorporating physical activity into your travel routine, whether it’s through walking, exploring nature, or finding local fitness experiences, keeps you active and energized. Remember, the goal is not perfection, but rather finding a harmony between indulgence and nourishment.


So, go forth and embark on your food travel adventures with confidence. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in different culinary traditions while prioritizing your health and well-being. With the tips and knowledge gained from this article, you can create a truly enriching and balanced food travel experience.