Traveling, whether for vacation or for work, can take its toll on your healthy eating habits. You may maintain a nice eating diet while home, but once you our out on travel, all of that seems to go out the window. You are eating out almost every meal, picking up fast food on the go during the day and sitting down for heavy meals in the evening. Well, if this is something you are concerned about, there are ways to maintain a bit more healthy habit eating style while traveling. Here are 10 tips on how to do just that!
TIP 1: Airport Food – Be Selective
If you are traveling by air, do not just hurry to grab food, and sit and wait. Check on your flight and its gate number; then go take a look around. See what options are available before deciding what to eat. You might notice that the McDonald’s next to your gate is not the only options available, but that a wrap shop is just around the corner. Because of current trends healthy options are popping up EVERYWHERE, especially in airports. Consider deli style food instead of the greasy burger – sandwiches, wraps, and salads are great filling options. Deli provides a great fresh option – with greens, lean meat, and grains all in one delicious bite. Also, consider your side options. Is there low-fat yogurt available instead of chips? Maybe fruit or pasta salads?
If you are not flying, then consider pre-packing some deli sandwiches or wraps for the trip, with yogurt or apple slices and peanut butter. This can save travel time from having to stop, while maintaining healthier eating.
TIP 2: Bring or Pick Up Easy & Healthy Snacks
Plan and pack some easy to take healthy snacks. These can include fruits, sliced veggies, nuts, health or breakfast bars, and more. Consider making your own trail mix with your choice of dried fruit and mixed nuts. Also, be selective of which breakfast bars you choose. Try to pick organic bars, low in sugar and higher in protein, to allow it to be more filling with less consumed! Pick those with minimally processed ingredients, at least 8 grams of protein, and less than 12 grams of sugar per bar. Clif bars, Luna bars, and Larabars are great examples. There are also other options such as 100 calorie Popcorn packs, just in case the guy’s chips next to you becomes tempting. Pre-pop them and bag them, or if you know you will have a microwave in your hotel room, pack a few of un-popped bags for the time you are visiting.
Afraid you will not have room to bring a lot of snacks, or traveling by air and limited by what can make it through the voyage? As soon as you land, make it a point to stop and pick up these healthy snacks at a grocery store or convenience store on your way to your hotel. Pick up pre-sliced veggies or baby carrots, apples and bananas, and other easy to carry and munch snacks. If you already have them on you, you are less likely to indulge in the salty pretzel or the churros you pass at certain locations.
TIP 3: Protein or Healthy Drink Powders
If where you are does not allow snacks brought in, or it is difficult to transport, consider bringing protein and other filling drink powders to add to your water. This is a great in-between-meals option and offers a vitamin-packed choice. If you have a reusable water bottle, that is best. However, you can also pick up some bottled water wherever you are and add it from there!
TIP 4: Water! Water! And More Water!
There is a reason our bodies are composed of 60-75% water. Drinking lots of water throughout your day will keep you hydrated, energized, and prevent unnecessary hunger. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, and reduced concentration. You do not want that while traveling! Stay hydrated for your trip with plenty of water. For variety, consider coffee, tea, or sparkling water instead of high-sugar, high-calorie soft drinks. These all help provide water to the body with more variety in flavor, while also saving you hundreds of calories throughout your day! Maybe bring little flavor packets to add to your water as well. Crystal Light and other companies sell travel packs, perfect for adding a bit of dynamic taste to your basic water.
TIP 5: Always include Some Greens!
Ok, well greens are preferred, but veggies of any sort are a good idea to try to include when ordering lunch or dinner. Maybe start with a salad, or pick a veggie side with your meal; just aim to have veggies at least during two meals in your day. Veggie fiber helps fill you up more, and this can keep you from over eating during the day. Wraps and salad bar style restaurants are becoming very popular, so a healthy make-your-own salad or unique wrap could be the perfect veggie added entrée for the day, especially if your dinner is looking like it will be a bit more indulgent and heavy.
TIP 6: Do Not Forget Breakfast
This is easier said than done most times when traveling. However, breakfast is a key component in how your day’s activities go. It helps prepare you for the day and gets your body started. If you have a complimentary breakfast at your hotel, go for things that have higher fiber and protein. This can be whole grain toast with peanut butter, available breakfast bars, certain cereals, and more. No continental breakfast? That is why you brought or picked up so many amazingly healthy snacks! Having those already in your room can help you fit that breakfast meal in even better. Eating that essential morning meal can help you stay full until lunch and reduce temptations to snack on unnecessary food.
TIP 7: Desserts – They are Yummy, so Share!
Yes you may be dying to try that double fudge chocolate cake on the menu. However, consider sharing it with your loved one or other travel companions if you can. This allows you to still enjoy the taste of decadence, without over doing it. When you share it with another person or two, you can enjoy the dessert and feel less guilt – have your cake and eat a bit of it too!
TIP 8: Eat Local
Dining options may be plentiful where you are traveling, so do some research on what options are in your area. Ask your concierge, look it up on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, or just Google Map it. A lot of times local restaurants offer fresh, local produce in their meals, and will cook a little bit more like a person cooking for guests in their home than a fast food restaurant, which can happen at big chains. Take a look at their menus beforehand and see what types of entrées are available. Not only will you probably eat healthier with local grown produce and in-season fish or other meats, but you will also get a more authentic experience!
TIP 9: Alcohol – Enjoy it…with Less Calories
Whether on vacation or working, a few cocktails may be consumed at different times during your trip. Try decreasing the number of high-calorie alcoholic beverages you drink. Instead of high-sugar, high-calorie margaritas, consider drinks with club soda or on the rocks, or choose a glass of wine. These let you enjoy the night out or the cocktail hour with colleagues without consuming as many calories.
TIP 10: BE MINDFUL
Try to be aware of your eating decisions, without obsessing over it. You do not want an upset stomach, a sluggish nature, or low energy while traveling, so eat healthier options. You will feel better throughout the day, and your trip will be much more enjoyable because of it. Also, no mindless eating! Plan the day’s meals and eating times beforehand and you will notice you do not just eat because you can, but only when you need to. You may also feel like you need to eat more at dinner. Sometimes you are not staying in a room with a fridge or microwave. Just because you cannot take it home for tomorrow does not mean you need to finish it. Stop when you feel full. Pay attention to what your body is telling you; it sends a message when it is full. Going past that point will only make you feel uncomfortable and feel like just sitting around, and that is no way to enjoy your travels!
All that said: if you are on vacation do enjoying yourself. Eat healthy most of your trip and you can still have a few splurging meals here and there. Hopefully these tips can help you keep your healthy consumption in order on your travels, and you will come home feeling refreshed from your trip.
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