How to Stay Healthy When You Travel

Nutrition coach Maria Marlowe makes it look easy.

From Maria: Growing up, my family and I went on an annual trip to Disney World. It was a lot of all-you-can-eat buffets, mid-day Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and candy-filled carry-ons. Can you relate? For some, vacation becomes a free pass to overindulge, but I think you can taste and experience a place without having to resort to elastic-waistband pants when you get back. Here are my top tips for staying healthy while traveling. How to Stay Healthy When You Travel

1. Eat your vegetables and fruits

How can you visit France without trying a croissant? Italy without pizza or pasta? Food is a way to experience local culture, so even if it’s not the healthiest fare, it would be a shame to miss out on the experience. Just don’t forget about your fruits and veggies! Just like back at home, aim to fill at least 50% of your plate with vegetables or fruit. When you do that, you get the nutrients and fiber you need to feel full, so that you can try whatever local delights you like without going overboard.

2. Taste, don't devour

If you’re going to eat something decadent, don’t miss out on the experience by mindlessly inhaling it. Savor your meal, bite by bite, and don’t feel compelled to finish your plate if you don’t want to. Soak in the view, recount your favorite parts of the day or focus on people-watching to naturally slow you down at meal time.

3. Walk everywhere

The best way to discover a city or new place is always by foot. On a trip to Rome last year, we sometimes walked for more than eight hours in a day (without even realizing it!), admiring the magnificent streets, plazas, fountains and buildings.

4. Drink water all day

Reserve your glass of wine or cocktail for the evening, rather than indulging all day out by the pool. Aside from being high in calories, alcohol is dehydrating. When you’re dehydrated, you may mistake it for hunger and end up eating more.

5. Shop the local farmer's market

Not only is it fun to go to the market to meet locals and watch them in action, it's also a chance to pick up fresh local fruit to keep in your hotel room for snacks or breakfast. Plus, farmer's markets are usually a photographer’s dream. You can typically find out when and where they are through a Google search.

6. Do your research and ask for recommendations

You can Google healthy restaurants near your hotel beforehand, but depending on where you’re going, sometimes you’ll get the best recommendations by asking locals once you get on the ground. You can also search "healthiest restaurants in Paris" or "paleo restaurants in Miami" on Yelp or Foursquare. is also a great starting point for finding veggie-centric restaurants around the world.

7. Make nature your gym

If you’re somewhere tropical or nature-filled, consider making activities like hiking, swimming and biking your daily workout.

8. Bring your go-tos with you

Airports and rest stops aren't known for having healthy options, but that doesn't mean you can't eat well on the go. Plan ahead and pack your bag with these healthy snacks that travel well and will tide you over until you get to your destination:

For more from Maria, read her recent columns on the site and visit her online at