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Dr. Joel Kahn: 7 easy ways to avoid eating unwisely when traveling this summer

Originally Published at Deadline Detroit

It’s summer, the lockdown is easing and many people are traveling. Choosing nutritious food over processed junk foods may be the most important daily habit one can develop. Have a plan to eat healthfully on the road, which takes a bit of effort and can bring surprising joys and memories.

Here are tips to find healthful groceries and meals around the world.


Plan to dine like this, not haphazardly, when away from home this season. (Photo: DepositPhotos)

1. Use travel sitesThe internet makes it easier. Search sites like happycow.net for fresh-focused grocers and diet-wise restaurants. I have used this site for over 10 years and find it helpful. 

2. Print essential info in advanceYou may not have Internet connectivity when you get hungry out of town. Having food guides printed out may help you keep your plans and goals intact. 

3. Find a healthy food guidebookIf you’re traveling to England, for example, there are food guides online to help you find healthy fare on the go. Similar resources are available online for most major cities.

4. Overcome language gap: Phones have translators to help inform the staff of your dietary requests. If you travel internationally, you can have phrases translated to indicate food preferences and allergies.
Another helpful tool is a “food passport,” which can be purchased online. These guides have phrases in over 70 languages covering 95% of the world’s population and makes it easy to show a waiter what to eat and avoid. This is essential for those with nut and gluten intolerances.

5. Pack essentials: Nuts and seeds, a few healthy food bars, and even a PB&J sandwich during travel can be a great backup. Don’t outsource your healthy choices to an airline or a vending machine. 

6. Airlines can help: Most will accept a request at least 24 hours ahead of departure for a special meal on a long flight at no extra charge. I have had some delicious dishes served by being prepared. 

7. Call ahead: If you’re lucky enough to have a concierge or a friendly desk attendant at your hotel, they’ll likely be willing to call ahead in the local dialect to alert the restaurant of your special needs, smoothing over your arrival at the restaurant. They may delight you with special meals prepared by the chef that leave other guests wondering why they didn’t get that healthy feast. I just had that happen in Detroit and others at my table were envious. 

Healthful eating on the road takes planning, but the rewards can be awesome. Bon voyage and bon appetit.