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Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

Traveling With Kids

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

With Memorial day upon us and many families looking to travel, go to a cabin, water park or other fun adventures this weekend and summer, staying on track can be a challenge.  This post I am putting out some tips we use to stay healthy while traveling.We recently brought our boys to Disney World and had an amazing time.  But traveling with kids and finding healthy options, especially at a place like Disney, can be really challenging.  So here are some healthy eating tips for traveling families.

Now, you aren’t can’t avoid everything that isn’t the best for you like when eating out of your own “Healthified” pantry.  There will probably be some soybean oil in the ranch dressing or other things that aren’t the best options, but compared to donuts and pasta, these are the best options I find when traveling.  Here is an example of some ways to keep healthy when traveling.

Here is a great tip from Mary! “When I go out of state to visit family, I combine all my dry ingredients of a recipe in a ziploc with directions of what other ingredients are required to complete and baking instructions. For instance, I combine all the dry ingredients of Maria’s chocolate chip cookies in a ziploc and then when I’m at my family’s home, I bake healthy choclate chip cookies for everyone. It does require purchasing healthy coconut oil or butter while there; but I don’t mind that. I usually bring a ziploc of the following recipes: peanut butter cookies, bread, quiche or pie crust, rolls, waffles, etc. It works really well for me since some of our trips are a month long and I would not be able to keep the pre-baked goods for that length of time.”

We make a lot of stuff on ‘rainy’ days and stores them in the freezer so we have easy treats ‘on-the-go.’ We rarely eat things out of the package. As far as easy foods for traveling that you can make them ahead, you MUST try the cereal and granola! I pack those (no refrigeration needed if you use coconut oil) for our trips.  There are several recipes Here on my blog and in my Kids Cookbook.

One of the best things you can do is bring some healthy options from home in your checked bags (We always packs our Protein Bread which is frozen).  When we went to Disney, we brought sandwiches on Protein Sparing bread to eat on the airplane; some olives and “healthified” crackers (also in our carry-on for snacking on the airplane), Salmon in these little bags, and some nuts like raw almonds and pecans that you roasted yourself with some coconut oil and seasoning (cinnamon and Swerve is our favorite).  Put in small Ziploc’s for on the go snacks.  I know it isn’t for everyone, but our boys also love sardines and anchovies so we pack a couple of those as well.   If you are a fan of Smoked Oysters and Baby Clams they are good options too.  Then there are things like beef sticks and beef jerky.  Try to find some without added sugars or junk like this one. We also have our favorites like ChocoPerfection bars.

When in a place like Disney, we also bring treats for the boys like Dr. Johns xylitol Lollipops and packets of protein powder to make smoothies.  Xylitol has been shown to actually help reduce cavities.

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

So packing some snacks will help you snack while on vacation without guilt.  So what about meals?

The one thing we try to do is get a room with a small kitchen.  They cost a little more, but what you save just in breakfasts and food versus eating out can make up for the difference.

When we arrive to our vacation destination, we start unpacking the bags and getting settled while Craig makes a quick run to the grocery store.  In Disney we didn’t have a car so he took a cab.  He got a few staples that would get us through the week like eggs, avocado (for our Shamrock Shake), sunflower seeds, bacon, lunch meat, pickles (to make ham and cream cheese roll ups), no sugar pasta sauce, artichokes and Bolinski’s sausage (to make our easy Pizza Pasta with a side of my Protein Garlic bread), hot dogs for the boys, lettuce, healthy oils and vinegar to make a no-sugar salad dressing and some cheese.  So between the snacks we brought, breakfasts and these items, we can get through 2 meals most days without compromise.

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

As we walk around Disney we always stop to check menus to see if there is anything we would like. We also pack a few things from our room, such as the Shamrock Shake in a thermos.

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families
Perfect for Shamrock Shake!

If we find something that we like (or can tweak to make it good) we will stop in and eat for lunch or dinner.

For example, at Disney there are these restaurants (I think in every park) that have basic items like hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.  They then have these condiment bars where you can add toppings.  So we just get a cheeseburger with no sides.  Is it the best burger, no not at all.  And if you want to avoid it, just go with veggies and a salad.  But if you are in a pinch, this trick can help.  We then grab lots of lettuce and pickles, cheese, whatever is healthy in the condiment bar and pile it on the plate.  Then we sit down, ditch the bun, and have a hamburger salad topped with ranch dressing.  We didn’t have to do this on our trip because we brought enough food for us during the day at the park.

Another great option at Disney is the Smoked Turkey leg sold in most of the parks.  Craig had it for lunch one day.  An example for dinner is the German restaurant in Epcot.  It is all you can eat and there are tons of good options like several kinds of fish, salads, sausages, and pork to fill up on (I suggest to not even walk past the dessert table! lol… we packed “healthified” desserts so we weren’t tempted!)

Healthy Eating tips for Traveling Families

I LOVE These cookies for traveling and easy sweet snacks. All travel ideas are here. Or these protein bars and snacks that you can buy (don’t have to make) lol! I also have lots of Sweet treats Here. And Bolinski’s Chicken Sausage is a great option too (keep this in your little cooler… it is sooo good and organic). It is all cooked and taste great! And here are some more ideas:

Trader Joe’s Jerky (or other GLUTEN free jerky…soy sauce has gluten so no teriyaki)

Beef Sticks (venison/grass-fed)

Organic grass fed Hot Dogs

Sardines (canned)

Smoked salmon

Summer Sausage

Trail mix (homemade) with sugar free chocolate: almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts

ChocoPerfection Bars or The Good Chocolate

Almond/Sunflower Butter and celery

Chocolate Muffins (made ahead at home)

Granola Bars (made ahead at home)


Tuna (in packet), with Celery/Pickles/pork rinds

Canned Crab (not imitation crab)

Coconut Energy Bars (recipe on blog)

Homemade Cookies (recipes on blog)

Kale Chips (I usually munch on a huge bag on the plane)

Traveling and eating healthy can be a challenge but I hope these tips will help you stay on track while having fun!


Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Anonymous says:

    Thanx for the tips. I will be traveliing with grandchildren to the jersey shore in july.
    I like the tip about getting a little kitchen. With the cost of eating all 3 meals out this could easily save money in the long run. Also mixing up bags of dry ingred in baggies – great idea. Where to I get the recipe for Pizza Pasta? rose1954

  • rtc254 says:

    Hello, thank you for this blog and all of the work that you guys do, I respect your opinion very much, so I wanted to ask you, what is your opinion on QwestBar protein bars and also organic unsweetened soy milk? Thank you in advance.

    • Trisha says:

      good to hear. I just became aware of Quest Protein Bars. I was looking for something to be available on the go when I HAVE to take something. I just ordered a variety pack and hope to like them 🙂 I hope they are not sooo good as the claims that they become addictive tho-could be an expensive habit.

  • Kathy Hall says:

    Maria – those boys hit the jackpot when they became members of your special family. I wish I had known all that I know now back when I was raising my sons. I learned about low carb and paleo after they were grown but I was able to cure my Type II diabetes eating like you recommend. Thanks for all your recipes and work on your blog.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post! We take 4 trips a year, a week each and while we always have a kitchen, I invariably go off plan and have stomach upsets and weight gain. With this information you gave us today, I think the next trip will be a different story. Thanks much for this.

  • Thanks for this. Any further advice for long-haul flights? My husband and I travel between Europe and Australia, and the flight is at least 24 hours, usually longer with stopovers.

    • Wow, that is a long flight. Our trip home from Ethiopia was about that long and we packed as much perishable foods as we could for the first flight (sandwiches made with my protein bread, hard boiled eggs, cheese). Then had lots of the above stuff (olives, beef jerky, etc) for the second. Also, coconut oil if very stable (much more so than butter) so making things with that (like my cereal, easy almond joys, etc) will make them ok outside a fridge. 🙂

  • Thanks for the great tips! We just got back from Disney World last week, and I did a lot of similar things. I will bookmark this for our next trip.

    The *amazing* thing is: a) I lost 2.4 pounds on this trip – unheard of for me on vacation, and b) it was the first vacation in memory where I didn’t get a migraine, sinus infection, or both. I know it was from sticking to my clean food. As a bonus, we were $300 under budget on food, just because DH and I both brown-bagged our food to the parks every day. DD (11) chose the turkey leg for lunch most days – it was yummy. We made breakfast and an early dinner at the condo most days, then would return to the parks in the early evening for more rides and fireworks.

    Feeling great, losing weight, saving money: what’s not to love?! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    What a timely post – my husband and I are headed to Disneyworld in 2 weeks! I had made a mental list of things to have in the room but you gave me additional ideas. I do love the input from your blog. Such a gift! Thanks also for the pictures of your precious family.

  • Em says:

    Did you bring your homemade snacks on the plane with you? I didn’t think it was allowed to bring something like a sandwich or homemade items unless it was in the checked luggage. Thank you so much for all the helpful travel tips! I love your blog so much, it has change my life.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just tried the Lilly’s original chocolate. So yummy. I almost like it better than chocoperfection.

    Dana powers

  • Erica says:

    Looks like an awesome time. I’m also loving the ChocoPerfection bars 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Maria. I have been following your blog for a while, but have not fully committed to the “healthified” life. I decided that we would go 100%, I have not purchased your books yet, I always plan to ;), I am wondering does your books have a section on getting your kitchen ready for success? I am going through cupboards tossing things. I want to have no excuse, such as not having a particular tool or ingredient.

  • These are excellent recipes! We’re staying in a Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental for two whole weeks and will have access to a kitchen, so these will really come in handy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Always be sure to intake a healthy diet controlled foods. Avoid junk foods while traveling. Drink more water it helps to boost up your energy levels and it ensure to maintain a healthy body.

  • Eva says:

    Maria! Thank you so much for this. We’re road-tripping for Thanksgiving to the in-laws in the country and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do because we’re bringing all our own food. Now I have a great guide. Thanks!

  • Kristi says:

    I am loving all your information. I am stocking my pantry so I can get started cooking all your delicious recipes. We also visited Disney and used a grocery delivery service. Shopped online at home and it was in our room upon arrival. Makes eating clean so easy.

  • laura says:

    Quest Bars have Sucralose in them. I’m surprised you are recommending them

  • Sharon says:

    Love the tips – we are off to Epcot in the next month! Been searching your site for a recipe to make homemade pickles, but can’t find one. Do you have a favorite?

  • Janna says:

    I could not be more excited about this post, as we are headed to the Great State of Minnesota next week. Not only do I have to contend with family functions where My family is the only ketofied family, but it is also the county fair! Yikes!
    I am very excited to bring out some of my own food- doing the dry ingredients in a bag and pre-making- because my dad is now on insulin shots and hopefully there can be a little education for better health for him! I will be bringing him your books for some good reading!

  • Cyndi says:

    These are great suggestions! We travel a lot and I was wondering how I was going to handle it. Thanks for helping me see outside the box. I would also love it if you could do a a post on eating out. I mean, beyond the bunless burger. Maybe best ideas for different types of restaurants like Italian, Thai, etc.

  • Lisa Custer says:

    Thanks for the wonderful travel tips! What cookbook is the shamrock shake in and do you have a link for the recipe?

  • Amanda says:

    The Dr. In the Kitchen flax crackers aren’t too estrogenic?

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks! As you can tell I read your blog with a fine-toothed comb!! Your word is gospel to me!

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