Healthy eating while traveling: Guide to eating outside, traveling, and more

Along with sports and stress management, healthy eating reduces the risk of your lifestyle disease and helps manage health conditions (1 transbrusted source, 2 transactions).

However, the average American does not eat a very healthy diet. The healthy eating index of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave an average American diet score of 59 out of 100, using the latest data from 2015 (3).

Eat healthy when you are away from home and while traveling can cause a unique challenge.

You might be tempted to skip food. It may also be difficult to know where to buy nutritious food, decide what you have to wrap in your lunch bag, and determine how to maintain balanced food when eating outside.

This comprehensive guide explains how to maintain a nutritious diet when you try

The basics of healthy eating

To eat healthy, you need to get a variety of nutrients from the five food groups — dairy, protein-rich foods, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Each food group offers a different, main nutritional benefit, so by combining the food groups you can get a spectrum of nutrients that support good health.

Examples of foods from each group are:

  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, lactose-free milk, fortified soy milk
  • Protein-rich foods: seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, peas, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Grains: wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley
  • Fruits: fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits and 100% fruit juice
  • Vegetables (nonstarchy): fresh, canned, frozen, or dried vegetables (raw or cooked) and 100% vegetable juice

MyPlate is a nutritional guide and meal planning tool that helps people eat healthy. The USDA developed it based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

It recommends making at least half of your grains whole grains, varying your protein sources, and choosing low fat or fat-free dairy products.

To build a healthy plate — whether it’s for a meal or a snack — try pairing foods from at least two food groups to get a diversity of nutrients.

How to fill your plate for a healthy meal

  1. Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables like spinach or collard greens.
  2. Then, fill one-fourth of your plate with protein-rich foods, such as chicken, fish, or navy beans, depending on your preferences.
  3. Lastly, fill the remaining one-fourth of your plate with grains like rice or quinoa.

Healthy meal example 1: baked garlic butter chicken, stir fry vegetables, and rice

Healthy meal example 2: a cheese sandwich made with whole grain bread, cottage cheese, and sliced tomatoes

Healthy snacks

Pair a grain with a protein-, fat-, or fiber-rich food.

Your body digests mixed meals that include protein, healthy fats, and fiber more slowly than grains alone. This makes you feel full for longer, which can help support a healthy weight and blood sugar management.

Healthy snack example 1: an apple and nut butter

Healthy snack example 2: yogurt with dried fruit and nuts

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