Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling Print Recipe Print Recipe

I’d say I’m in the air once a month, sometimes every other month and often get asked about staying healthy while traveling. Staying healthy AND eating gluten-free isn’t always easy, but if you plan ahead, it can make a huge difference. Below are several ways that I follow to help keep myself on track, when on the road.

In your carry on

  • Pack healthy bars <– look for ones less than 200 calories & less than 14 grams sugar. I never leave without KIND Bars. [they come in mini’s too]. Lara bars are also good.
  • Individual packs of peanut or almond butter – plain, on crackers or rice cakes, in oatmeal, etc.
  • Trail mix or your own nut/fruit mix.
  • For early morning travels, I’ll pack Oatmeal squaresApple Baked Oatmeal Cakes, or individual oatmeal packets – see below.
  • Pre-made packets of dry oatmeal [pictured below]. Just add hot water, which you can request at any coffee stand. To prepare: 1/2 cup dry gf oats, cinnamon, brown sugar or stevia, optional – raisins & coconut] Once you add hot water, you can always add in peanut/almond butter, fruit &/or nuts.

In the air

  • If you fly Alaska Airlines, you can purchase their Mediterranean pack, it’s both vegan & gluten-free. Avoid any hot meals – it’s processed and typically full of sodium.
  • Pack snacks, sandwich(es), big salad, chicken quinoa and veggies. Anything that will keep you out of the fast food department.
  • Stash a few packets of EmergenC – you’ll thank me when you realize the person next to you is sneezing and coughing on you.
  • Drink lots of WATER! If you need some bubbly, try and avoid soda and go with club soda with lime.

For more healthy snacks, here’s 50 healthy & gluten-free snack ideas!


ps. this was my breakfast in Mexico.

Staying at a hotel

  • Request a mini fridge, microwave &/of a coffee pot – not for coffee, but oatmeal [pictured above].
  • Check to see where the nearest grocery store or natural market is and pick up fresh fruit, PB/Almond butter, rice cakes, yogurt, sweet potato – make in the microwave, etc.
  • Ask the hotel or concierge about any local, healthy restaurants, juice bars, or gluten-free spots.
  • If you have a fridge, pick up some pre-cooked grilled chicken – add to a green or grain salads, pasta, soups, etc. for protein.
  • Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets, pastries, fast food, and fried foods.
  • Snacks/Appetizers in your room: gluten-free crackers or rice cakes – add peanut/almond butter or some type of cheese, such as goat cheese, grapes, apples, almonds/nuts, and dates.
  • If there’s not a gym, ask if there’s an in room workout set or yoga kit. If you’re willing to pay, see if there’s a gym or yoga studio close by. If you’re somewhere safe and there’s good weather, get outside for a walk or run.

Staying in a home

  • Make requests. Ask if you can borrow the car or join them in their run to the grocery store. If you’re at a Whole Foods, pick up prepared greens, canned soups, vegetables, stir fry ingredients, fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, gluten-free bread, etc.
  • If you’re on your own for breakfast – try Greek yogurt with granola, eggs & toast, fruit smoothie, GF grain cereal, etc.
  • Pack running shoes and take a walk or run, enjoy a new hood.

Dining out

  • If gluten-free, call ahead and let them know you’re gluten-free and see if they can accommodate.
  • Although roasted or grilled veggies might not be on the menu, you can still ask if they can put something together. They’ll likely say yes.
  • Continue to drink water <if unsafe, drink bottled>, especially if you just flew in and/or drinking alcohol. It’s not fun to be hungover in an unknown place. Or any place for that matter…
  • If you’re starving and can’t [or don’t want to] eat the bread, ask for 1. shrimp cocktail – go light on the sauce; 2. light salad; 3. tuna tartare – make sure there’s no soy sauce, 4. chicken skewers; or 5. hummus & veggies.
  • If the server or kitchen can’t tell you whether something is gluten-free, don’t risk it. In cases like this, I’m always thankful for the gf bar I had stashed in my clutch.


Above: my favorite [honey] PB for on the go!


How do YOU stay healthy while traveling?


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  • Helena Oun


    Really good and complete list. Im traveling all around Asia and sometimes I fly few times in one week. And yeah its not easy always to keep it healthy. I personally only eat healthy or dont eat at all. As we all, I hate hunger so I always need to be prepared to really enjoy my time while traveling. But I got some good ideas from your list, so thank you 🙂 My personal Healthy living and Travel blog

  • naomi

    Great tips, Lisa. I need to put these into practice. I have to admit, I’m a horrible eater while on travel. LOVE the pre-grilled chicken idea.

  • Averie Cooks

    What a great tip about the coffee maker/hot water to make oatmeal even if there’s no microwave.

    Traveling and road food can be so tough! And most airline food is so sodium-laden that I drink water for 2 weeks just to catch up 🙂

  • Maria

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I always pack our own food. I can’t stand fast food or airport food:) 

  • Lauren | Seventeenth & Irving

    I really enjoyed your tips, Lisa. My first trip post Celiac disease diagnosis was not pretty. It involved getting glutened, screaming matches with family over trying to find something I could safely eat, lots of crying, and well….not so much relaxing and enjoying vacation. I only wish I had this article then!

    Now I’m quite a bit more seasoned. I love your tip for asking for a mini fridge in your room. I didn’t think about it, but I’m sure most hotels are willing to accomodate that request.

  • Amanda

    You are so good.  I have NO control when I travel.  I think if I followed these tips I would have a much better vacation and be feeling better the whole time! 🙂

  • lacy

    BRILLIANT post!

  • lacy

    Ugh not all of it posted… let me try again! BRILLIANT post!  You totally nailed the most important thing about staying healthy… travel doesn’t mean a free for all binge on foods you wouldn’t normally eat.  Love your tips, so glad you wrote it all down!  I know you get asked this ALL the time!

  • Becky at Vintage Mixer

    great list!! I do the same thing with the oatmeal to go!!  I created a whole pinboard dedicated to travel food ideas and I just pinned this to it!  

  • Amanda Holliday

    I love these tips. I recently requested a mini fridge in my room and it was so worth the $5/day charge. I also research local GF friendly restaurants near where I am staying so I have a game plan. I always carry GF crackers in my purse along with KIND bars. If there is an appetizer that comes with bread, I can easily use a few crackers instead of bread. 

  • Anonymous

    you’ve got it down, nice work!

  • Anonymous

    oh, I’m definitely checking out your pinboard – so smart!!