Spring is here, which means we’re coming out of hibernation mode to soak up the sun and maybe take some warm-weather trips. If there’s ever a time for culinary indulgence, it’s vacation. After all, what good is visiting a new place if you can’t appreciate the local cuisine?
But when your stomach starts to hurt and you feel tired all the time because you’re eating too much heavy, sugar-filled food, it can start to cramp your vacation style.
An easy solution to this common travel problem may be to eat a healthy breakfast.
“Prioritizing a good breakfast while on vacation can set your whole day up for success in terms of blood sugar management, and fuel you up for adventures and exploring,” explained Maggie Michalczyk, a registered dietitian and founder of Once Upon a Pumpkin.
A balanced breakfast that contains protein and fiber will ensure that you don’t experience a huge blood sugar spike, and that you’ll feel fueled up until lunchtime, Michalczyk said. It could also encourage you to make healthier food choices throughout the day, since you won’t have to deal with a blood sugar surge that leaves you craving even more sugar and unhealthy fats.
“With a little pre-planning or a simple game plan, I think there are some easy options that you can bring with you or look for at airport kiosks or stores to help build a healthy travel breakfast that can help ensure you’re feeling good on vacation,” Michalczyk said.
From pre-planned breakfasts that are easy to assemble in your hotel room or Airbnb to options at chain restaurants, here are the best breakfasts to eat on vacation that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Starbucks egg white bites or oatmeal
For better or worse, there are very few towns or cities that don’t have a Starbucks. And fortunately, Starbucks has some excellent healthy (and delicious!) breakfast options.
“I’m a big fan of their fluffy egg bites, as they’re a good source of protein and contain veggies,” Michalczyk said. “I like Starbucks oatmeal, too, because their oats are a good source of fiber. I would ask them to hold the brown sugar on the oatmeal or ask for it on the side so you can control the amount of sugar added.”
Head to the breakfast buffet
Yes, really! If you’re staying at a hotel, there are usually some solid options at the breakfast buffet that will leave you feeling full and energized. “Make sure your breakfast contains a source of fiber (fruit, veggies, oats or whole-grain toast), protein (eggs, yogurt or scrambled tofu) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts or seeds),” suggested Jenn LaVardera, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for Daily Harvest.
If you have a toaster in your Airbnb or hotel room, avocado toast can be a great option. “Avocado is a good source of healthy fats that increase satiety,” Michalczyk said. “Grab whole-grain bread if available, as it contains more fiber, and top it with an egg if you can for more protein.”
If you’re vacationing somewhere with a Panera outlet, take advantage of the oatmeal. “Oatmeal is a great breakfast starter, but it can be boring if you don’t spice it up. Panera has a tasty cinnamon-spiced steel-cut oatmeal with strawberries and pecans,” said Kim Rose, a registered dietitian with Lose It! “To accentuate the flavor profile even more, sprinkle on a touch of cardamom. Cardamom pairs well with cinnamon, rendering a warm, citrusy flavor that’s pleasing to the tastebuds.”
All you need for this easy travel breakfast is a fridge, since you can assemble the ingredients ahead of time. “Protein-packed overnight oatmeal is a great option,” Abby Grimm, registered dietitian for FWDFuel, said. “Combine rolled oats, your favorite protein powder, eight ounces of almond milk, almond butter, and chia seeds, and mix together.”
A smelly option, sure, but you can pre-boil some eggs and keep them in the fridge of your hotel or Airbnb, then grab a few for breakfast every day. “Eggs contain high-quality protein at 6 grams of protein per egg,” Michalczyk said. “I’ve also seen them pre-packaged at some airport kiosks.”
Find a local cafe
Often, the breakfast options at a cafe will be healthier than what’s available at chain restaurants — and less expensive. “Exploring coffee shops is the way to go when you’re out and about,” Rose said. “You can enjoy their unique culinary expertise and still indulge in your favorite breakfast dishes while making healthy choices. For example, seasonal fruit, egg white or veggie omelets, and any type of herbal, spiced or green tea are nutritious and delicious additions.”
Bring a few packets of oatmeal
Michalczyk noted that packets of plain oatmeal are great to have on hand “because you can quickly make them with just water in your room and can almost always find a piece of fruit at the airport and nuts to add on top for a balanced breakfast.”
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day — and making an effort to start your day on a healthy note might just make your vacation.