How to maintain healthy eating while TDY

When you try to make healthy eating a priority, it can be tough to stay on track—especially when you’re not at home. But maintaining a routine around eating while you’re in temporary housing is easier than you might think—and can help reduce TDY-related stress.

By cooking with limited equipment on hand—a microwave and a fridge—you can reduce the number of meals you eat out and save money. Cooking in your temporary housing also can help you stay on track with your eating plan and might even make you feel more at home. Aim to eat healthy meals at least 80% of the time. Whether you follow a structured performance eating plan or just focus on general clean eating, you can succeed if you plan ahead.

Most residential-style hotels and temporary housing have a fridge and a microwave. Luckily, there are plenty of ready-to-eat, microwaveable, and shelf-stable items you can buy at the grocery store to stock your temporary kitchen. With these grocery items, and a little creativity, you can assemble healthy meals and snacks with just a microwave and fridge.

Breakfast ideas

  • Instant oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts or nut butter
  • Microwave egg-and-cheese omelet with canned veggies
  • Avocado on an English muffin with a microwave egg and piece of fruit

Lunch ideas

  • Tuna or chicken salad sandwich
  • Salad topped with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken
  • Veggie or turkey wrap with hummus

Dinner ideas

  • Microwavable rice with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and frozen veggies
  • Frozen fish or pre-cooked chicken with a microwave baked potato and bag of steamed veggies
  • Burrito with canned beans, microwaveable rice, frozen or steamed veggies, and cheese

Snack ideas

  • Trail mix or mixed nuts
  • Tuna snack packs with crackers
  • Microwave or bagged popcorn
  • Fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt

Healthy eating is possible when you’re TDY. Help yourself transition to your new location by keeping your body and your wallet on track.

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American Heart Association. (2019). What is clean eating? Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Defense. (2019). What to expect with a TDY move. Retrieved from