5 Healthy Tips to Help You Eat Clean While Traveling
Posted by Stuart Smith on
By Brandan Fokken Maybe it’s a much needed vacation getaway, or just another one of those business trips, maintaining healthy eating habits while traveling can be a big challenge. Avoiding unhealthy foods is tough enough as it is, but it can seem impossible if you are rushing to a long flight and will be spending the next few days running in and out of meetings. For most fitness minded people, travel causes stress. They think that their whole fitness plan is going to crumble and they are going to lose all of their hard earned progress. If you’re traveling for vacation, you are supposed to go on vacation to relax and to take a break from your normal life routines. That doesn't mean stop your healthy habits, but if you are worried the entire time about failing you won’t truly enjoy your getaway and you set yourself up mentally to fail. The same hold true for work trips or travel in general. You CAN make it through these trips with a little back end work and planning before you go.
5 healthy tips for travel
- Pack It In Advance: At the moment, food is still allowed in all forms of transportation (plane, bus, train, boat) so use it to your advantage by packing easy to-go meals and snacks to keep in your carry on. Getting yourself a food travel bag such as a Fitmark bag that is specifically made to travel with food can be a huge asset to have when traveling. You are able to have all your meals pre packed along with your cutlery and keep them fresh as you jet set around the country. If you are traveling through the airport, all foods must be wrapped, packed, or contained. Also, the no liquid over 3.5 ounces rule applies. If you are traveling by car, bring a larger cooler. This will expand your options tremendously!
- Buy food at your destination: If you weren't able to pack in advance, which is ideal, you CAN make the right choice when you arrive at your destination. You can use one of the MANY national meal prep services and have food delivered to your hotel. You can also look in advance and find yourself a hotel with a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals. Lastly check ahead for co-ops or stores like Whole Foods that offer healthy meal options that you can pick up fresh daily. These have all been a life saver for me. I personally use Icon Meals for all of my food prep needs.
- Call/check ahead: If you are on a flight that will be serving meals, call the airline ahead of time. Most airlines will accommodate your health needs by offering meals that are low-fat, vegetarian, gluten-free, low sodium, etc. Or, opt out of airplane food all together by packing your own meal. Check out what restaurants in your hotel provide for food and even call ahead to see if they can accommodate your nutrition needs. I also do a search of the area to see what food options are available in the area that I am staying. If that area isn’t great when it comes to what I need I often find myself booking a different hotel to be sure I have access to the foods that I want.
- Stay Hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated while traveling. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, and reduced concentration, but ALSO most importantly can lead to food cravings and even binge eating.
- Smart Restaurant Choices: These can make or break a diet. Think about the same things you would if you were home: Take a look at the menu online or ahead of time, if available. Choose meat and fish items that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted. Choose vegetables that have been steamed over sauteed or fried. Ask for dressing accompaniments on the side such as dressing, sour cream, cheese, and mayonnaise. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions and food prepared the way that you want. YOU are the customer and the restaurant in most cases will cater to what you want.
- Share dishes: If you are eating out and getting off of your normal plan, order a few small plates and split it all, or you can get an app, entree, and dessert to split with two people. That way, you not only get to try a wide variety of new things and multiple courses, but you can also cut back on the amount you eat.
- Make it an active trip: I found this especially easy in more rural locations. You can hike, kayak, go rock climbing, etc. Ask the front desk at the hotel or locals you encounter what people do for activities in their area. Of course you can bypass all of this and do a Google search in advance. I have found however that when you ask someone from the area they sometimes will steer you towards something that may not be found online, or they will advise you on something not to do or that isn't worth the time that was highly regarded online. If you're in a major city, tour the city on foot. You'll be moving all day, and will definitely get your fill of exercise in.
- Find a gym: This sounds simple right? I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck with a gym that closes early or one that is inadequate for my needs. So always investigate before you travel. Also check online for free day passes or weekly specials and if that isn't available ask at the desk. Periodically they will give you a deal. Also ask your hotel if they are partnered with any local gyms. You can sometimes get free passes or a reduced rate.
- Bring exercise bands with you: They're easy to pack, and cheap to buy before you go if you don't have them. Don’t forget body weight exercise. You can do push-ups, crunches, squats, jump squats, mountain climbers, burpees, lunges, etc. as a quick morning circuit to start your day.