Healthy Eating on the Move: A Guide to Dining Out, Traveling and More

Although a healthy diet is a cornerstone for good health, it doesn’t always come easy.

Healthy eating is an important part of managing your health and reducing the risk of developing lifestyle diseases.

The average American does not eat a healthy diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American diet scored 59 out of 100 using the most recent 2015 data ( 3).

It can be difficult to eat healthy while on the move or away from your home.

It is possible to be tempted not to eat. You may be tempted to skip meals.

This comprehensive guide will show you how to eat a healthy diet even while on the move.

Healthy eating

You need to eat healthy. This means you must eat a variety of nutrients, including dairy, protein-rich foods grains, fruits and vegetables.

Each food group has a main nutritional benefit. You can combine the food groups to get a range of nutrients that support good overall health.

These are some examples of foods that belong to each category:

  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, lactose-free milk, fortified soy milk
  • Protein-rich Foods: seafood, chicken, eggs, fish, meat, eggs, poultry, eggs and peas.
  • Grains: rice, wheat, oats and cornmeal.
  • Fruits Fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits, and 100% juice
  • Vegetables: Fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or dried (raw or cooked), and 100% vegetable juice

My Plate helps people eat well by providing a meal plan and nutritional guide. It was based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

It is recommended to make at least half your grains whole grain, vary your protein sources and choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

For a healthy meal or snack, try pairing food from at least two different food groups to create a variety of nutrients.

How to fill your plate with healthy food

  1. Half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables such as spinach and collard greens.
  2. You can then fill the remaining portion of your plate with protein-rich foods like chicken, fish or navy beans depending on your preference.
  3. Finally, top off the rest of your plate by adding quinoa.

Healthy meal Example 1: Baked garlic butter chicken, stir-fry vegetables, and rice

Healthy meal 2: A cheese sandwich made with whole grains bread, cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes

Healthy snacks

Combine a grain and a fiber-rich, protein-, fat, or fat-rich food.

Mixed meals, which include healthy fats and fiber, are digested slower than single grains. This can make you feel fuller for longer which can support healthy weight and blood sugar management.

How skipping meals can backfire

It’s possible to wonder what is so bad about skipping meals.

Skipping meals isn’t necessarily bad. However, it can lead to you becoming hungry later on, which could cause you to eat more or eat unhealthy foods. When we are hungry, it is often difficult to make healthy food choices.

This can happen to anyone. It might be helpful to have prepared food that you can grab and go in an emergency.

Research has shown that skipping breakfast doesn’t necessarily make you ill. It’s okay to not eat breakfast or food at a particular time of day.

People may also choose to forgo meals when they are practicing intermittent fasting. This is not an intentional decision that you make if you are in a hurry.

Here are five ways to eat well while on the move.

Scenario 1 – Rushing out of the door

You are not the only one who rushes out of the house in the mornings, often without any plan for breakfast or lunch.

This was a situation I found myself in during my dietetic internship. Due to my short sleep time and lack of meal planning, I often skipped breakfast.

This situation shows us the importance of meal planning.

Even if your schedule isn’t flexible, it is possible to be more prepared to nourish your body regardless of the hurry.

You will be more organized and mindful about what you eat in the morning by planning your meals. You’ll be able to stop eating out of habit.

Planning tips

  • Make your breakfast and snack the night before. To make it quick and easy, you can prepare chia muffins or overnight oats. To stay hydrated, pack a lunch bag and a reusable water container.
  • Make a smoothie in a bag. For a quick and easy drink, you can prepare bags with premeasured ingredients.
  • Make or buy healthy bars. Energy or protein bars are quick snacks that you can grab on the go or at work until you have time to eat. Bars should have a lower sugar content and more protein, fiber, or other nutrients.
  • our daily Nutrition emailWe’ll help you make the best meal plan possible by providing expert and evidence-based advice on nutrition.

Scenario 2: Dining out

Despite the negative economic impact of COVID-19, most Americans still eat out or order in every week.

The US spent $659 billion in 2020 on food and restaurant sales ( 4).

Dining out can have its advantages. It can be very relaxing to eat out, it is an opportunity to meet new people and to try new foods.

It is important to learn how to eat healthy when dining out or ordering food at restaurants.

These are some strategies and tips to help you stay on track.

  • Make a plan. You can view online menus from many restaurants. You can decide ahead of time what dishes you are interested in. When creating your meal combinations, keep in mind the principles of healthy eating.
  • Serving sizes. Takeaway containers are available. You can then take away any extra food you don’t want to eat. You should eat until satisfied ( 5Trusted source).
  • You can eat Delicious foods. You can limit the amount of food you eat. This could be done by sharing desserts or choosing mini deserts.

Scenario 3: Social gatherings

Potlucks and family gatherings bring people together to share food and enjoy each other’s company.

Healthy eating is possible even with traditional recipes and soulfood.

These are some tips to try:

  • Don’t save calories. Eat regularly throughout the day, not trying to “save room” for later. Avoid eating before the event. You won’t feel hungry and will be less satisfied if you don’t eat too much before the event.
  • Share a healthy meal with friends and family.
  • Have a small taste of everything. Enjoy a variety of foods without overindulging your stomach. To avoid stomach discomfort caused by eating large quantities, it is important to eat in moderation and be mindful of your portions.
  • Have fun with the conversation. The gathering is not just about the food. Refocus on the people and their stories and engage with them.

Scenario 4: Traveling

For some, traveling can be stressful. It can be difficult for many to eat healthy food while traveling. This is because many of the food options available at airports or other travel hubs are fast-food.

A plan is essential for any trip.

It’s convenient to snack while traveling. You can also eat a snack while traveling ( 6Trusted source).

It is not practical to take a lot of fresh food with you on your travels. So, we are focusing our attention on healthy eating with nonperishable snacks.

  • Dry fruits. For a quick snack, you can bring dried cranberries and freeze-dried mangoes, as well as any other dried fruit that you like. These can all be counted towards your daily fruit intake ( 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes. They are an easy-to-pack snack option for healthy eating while on the move. For easy storage, combine nuts with seeds and dried fruits to create a trail mix. Pack them in small resealable baggies.
  • Energy bars or protein. You should choose bars with low added sugars.

Scenario 5: Heading into quarantine

Quarantine is now part of our “new norm,” as my son and me experienced recently when we returned from the United States to Trinidad and Tobago.

You might be asked to isolate your self for several days in a hotel or quarantine facility.

These situations can make it difficult to access healthy food and may limit your ability to get food. Quarantine facilities may provide food, but you might not be able to choose from many options.

It is important to keep your body hydrated and well-nourished during quarantine. Healthy snacking is also possible, especially if you are going into quarantine together with children .

These are some healthy foods that you can pack.

  • Dried fruits. These fruits are packed with flavor, fiber and antioxidants as well as other nutrients.
  • Crackers. You can choose whole grain crackers or another variety of crackers.
  • Nuts, nut butter and crackers.
  • Canned tuna and chicken. These can be eaten with crackers, or as a snack on their own.
  • Granola and protein bars are great snacks to keep on hand.
  • Bottled water. If you are unable to find a water fountain, fill up your water bottle.
  • Tea bags. During your quarantine stay, you may have access to a kettle or cups in your room.

It is important to eat mindfully wherever you are quarantined. This time, you’ll likely be less active so eat to your satisfaction and not too much.

The bottom line

It can be difficult to eat healthy when you are on the move, but it is possible with proper planning.

To maximize your intake of nutrients from your meals, snacks and meals, you should follow the basic principles of healthy eating.

These tips will help you save time and stress, whether you are rushing to get out of bed, eating out, going to a family event, traveling or heading into quarantine.

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