travel food iconHalf of the fun of traveling is trying new foods, dining at interesting and unique restaurants and making memories over meals that linger well into the night. However, just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your health and safe dining a top priority. Whether you are heading to Europe to dine in the many street side cafes in Paris, or you are heading down to the southern United States to try all the soul food you desire, these tips will help you make the best choices for your health and your personal safety. Ultimately, healthy and safe dining will allow you to enjoy your trip to the fullest extent.

1. Choose Healthy Menu Options

Scan the menu for healthy words. Crispy, crunchy and fried are typically words to avoid when looking over a menu. When you are looking over your options, look for healthy words such as baked, steamed or grilled.

2. Choose Well

Remember to protect your own personal identification and credit card information. Always choose restaurants that belong to the Better Business Bureau or a local business organization, and use cash whenever possible. However, if you will be using credit cards throughout your trip you might want to think about using a company for their identity protection services, in case you encounter any mishaps during your travels.

3. Food Preparation

Be open and honest with the wait staff, and ask about food preparation. Professional chefs are trained to include more butter and more oil in their dishes in order to enhance the flavor and overall taste. While this might be good for your taste buds, it is not good for your waist line. Ask your waiter about food preparation processes and ask them to alter the process if necessary to help you enjoy a healthier meal.

4. Plan Ahead

If you are road-tripping, plan out your food stops ahead of time. Typically, fast food joints are going to be the easiest (and let’s face it, most desirable) stops along the way on a road trip. However, it can add thousands of extra calories to your overall trip. According to the Chicago Tribune, planning out your stops ahead of time will allow you to locate healthier chain restaurant options and even locate health food stores along the way to find some ready made meals.

5. Start Healthy

Start every meal with a healthy dish, such as a soup or salad. Beginning your meal with a soup or salad option will help you curb your hunger and keep portion control a priority, according to Best Health Mag. However, be mindful of the soups and salads that you choose. Soups made with chicken or beef stock will be healthier than creamy soup options. Salads with spinach greens are a great choice, and make sure to ask for your dressing on the side. This way you can use the minimal amount of dressing necessary to help cut down on your calories.

While you might be going on vacation to forget the worries of your everyday life, you probably don’t want to throw your healthy eating habits down the drain while you are away. By keeping mindful of the dishes you are choosing, and always keeping portion control at the forefront of your meal planning, you will be sure to enjoy a fun vacation away from home sampling many different local dishes. And the best part is, you can do all of this without worrying about your personal identification information and financial information along the way. It’s the best way to get away from it all without compromising your own health and safety.

Guest post from Meghan Keane

Meghan studied international communication and now studies abroad any chance she gets.

Other travel ease tips, books and products are at Drivetime