Healthy Nutrition Tips for Traveling
Q: What advice can you give my clients and I on eating healthy while traveling?
A: Often when we travel, we think that it is ok to let our nutritional-guard down – either because we like to indulge, and see traveling as an excuse to do so, or because we feel like we are at the whim of whatever is convenient and available.
The most important advice I can lend is to: plan ahead and prepare.
It might take a little bit more effort before and during your trip – but it will be well worth the perceived trouble. And, often when people take the time to think about food options before they leave – they enjoy the options they have while they are away even more – because they were able to choose the foods that they wanted – instead of being forced to eat somewhere, or order something they usually wouldn’t, just because it was the only thing available.
What to do:
Take the time to think about where you will be going
What will be available
How you can access healthy options
Your body is in a slightly heightened level of stress while you travel, so it is best to give it nourishing and hydrating options rather than turning for the short-term fixes that create even more internal stress and resulting energy crashes (you know, short term fixes like …. the occasional energy drink or triple-shot americano. Highly processed (especially fried and sugary) foods increase internal stress as well). Indulging on the go is okay – and it is fun to try new foods and get yummy treats along the way – but remember – everything in moderation! … Travelling isn’t an all out excuse to fall off the wagon!
Choosing nourishing whole foods and hydrating beverages will help maintain your energy and health while you are away!
Here are some helpful hints to help you travel with delicious and sustaining food options:
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Always carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated, and limit dehydrating beverages (coffee, soda and energy drinks). When I travel, I pack the herbal and green teas I drink on a daily basis, so that all I will need is hot water for a little pick me up … and herbal and green teas are also a great way to sneak in your hydrating beverages. Drink water (or tea) between each snack and each meal to ensure proper hydration: this will help keep your energy up (dehydration can cause fatigue and symptoms of low energy), as well as, help your body recognize when it is actually hungry, keeping you from over eating at meal times.
What kind of grocery store and restaurant options will be available?
Do a Google search before you depart, and check out grocery stores, restaurants and cafes that have healthy/sustainable/organic choices – print a list with the names of the grocery stores and restaurants along with their address to have on hand.
Schedule in some time for a grocery store run!!
This will enable you to have healthy choies that you choose on hand. This is great to do if you will need snacks or breakfast on the go. Also – being prepared with snacks to nosh on throughout the day means you will be less likely to scarf down gigantic meals at restaurants.
Some ideas of staple snacks to have around are:
– Fresh fruit & veggies
– Almond butter (which you can now get in handy individual sized packets, convenient for travelling)
– rice cakes or whole grain bread / whole wheat pitas
– dates and dried fruit
– Instant oats are great too (make hot water in your hotel room coffee pot and throw in some almond butter and sliced banana and fresh berries!).
Also – if the hotel you will be staying at has a fridge, you can have even more options on hand, like hummus or yogurt!
Check your schedule:
What times of the day will be available to eat?
How much time will you have for each meal or snack?
Would it be best to be prepared to keep a snack or small meal with you throughout the day? Thinking about these things before you leave home allows you to anticipate what your nutritional needs may be – and ensures smoother on-the-go eating options.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT AND HOW YOU FEEL!
It might sound silly, but just think about it!
How many servings of fruit and veggies have you gotten in?
Are you going for the whole grains or do you keep reaching for the bread basket?
Are you eating healthy animal products?
How much water are you having each day?
Check in with yourself. How is your energy?
Do you need some more protein, or do you feel like maybe it would benefit you to eat lighter meals?
Other tips and tidbits:
-Pack snacks for the plane ride so you aren’t stuck at the airport with candy bars and fast food options (fresh fruit & veggies, trail mix, Larabars, etc)
-When eating at restaurants, don’t be afraid to ask how meals are prepared, or what ingredients are in them.
-Pack some tupperware, ziplock bags and utensils for your snacks and purchased foods. Or, get the little things you might need from the hotel! Call room service and ask for plates, bowels and utensils for your in-room on-the-go cooking show
-When exercise is limited, going for even a 15 minute walk can do wonders. Try doing 3 sets of 40 squats, 20 pushups, and 50 crunches to get a fast calorie burn and rev up your metabolism. Squeezing in whatever physical activity you can will help you feel better overall – as well as help you from feeling like a blob by the time you get back home to your regular workout routine!
Happy and Healthy Travels!
Certified Holistic Nutritionist
Certified Health Coach and Educator