Who doesn't love the excitement of travel? Being able to immerse yourself in a new culture is such an incredible opportunity. Being flexible, seeing new places, and trying new foods is all part of the experience. If we worry about our lack of routine we can stress our bodies more than if we just relax and enjoy the ride. That said, before you travel it's important to identify what your health goals are for your trip. Is this regular business travel or a holiday? If you are a person that travels regularly for business then in order to stay on track you can't let every trip be a free for all if you want to stay focused on your health. Everyone needs an unscheduled break so if the trip is truly an opportunity to explore, rest, relax and to indulge a little then you won't be looking for routine so just do your best to stay active and to keep portion sizes in check.
If this is regular business and you are looking for routine then be sure to plan what type of workouts you are going to do ahead of time. I always suggest morning workouts as with business meetings and dinners you can never be sure what the day will throw at you so better to get it out of the way first thing. You can use your hotel gym, get outside for a run, use the hotel stairs to do some intervals, or do a hotel room workout. My Online Fit & Fabulous Program consists of really quick workouts that can be done anywhere and are so great for travel. You can get a really good sweat on with just your bodyweight and resistance bands are super easy to travel with. Do your best to walk to where you are going, to take the stairs and to generally stay active which will help keep you awake through meetings and keep you adding in bits of exercise throughout your day.
Most hotels have healthy breakfast options however you can stop at a nearby grocery or convenience store and pick up some plain greek yogurt, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, cut veggies & hummus, oatmeal, raw nuts etc so that you have more affordable healthy options in your hotel room. I like to pack my protein powder with me as then I can make up some oats in my room and add a scoop of protein powder and a few raw walnuts to have a well balanced breakfast. I would also say to pack a few low sugar Kind bars or some raw nuts for when meetings do run long. When you are prepared with healthy snacks, you'll never get ravenous and it will keep you so much more alert and focused. My personal rule for lunches & dinners out when traveling are that 1) I try to get as many veggies as I can into my meal and 2) I skip the sauces or ask for them on the side.. Lunch will typically be a big salad with some lean protein and the dressing or olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side. A lot of restaurants really douse their salads with dressing which can negate the objective of keeping a salad light. At dinners I do much the same, ordering a lean protein with a big side of steamed veggies, holding the sauce. Alcohol is tough because often times business dinners include nice wine and I know how tough it is not to partake. If you know that you want to have a drink, make a deal with yourself before you go as to how many drinks you will have and commit to it. Alcohol really is just empty calories that add up fast.. I typically commit to having one or maybe two glasses of wine (or a wine spritzer which cuts it in half!) and I sip on and really savor while drinking a lot of water too. If you stick to your goal you'll not only have a better sleep, you'll also able to get up and get your workout in - win win!
Flying can be time consuming...the commute to the airport, checking in, waiting, waiting, and more waiting, and finally getting on the plane and keeping fingers crossed that there are no delays. There is nothing worse than being hungry at the airport or in the air and being faced with crummy food choices. High sodium, high fat foods can make you retain water and feel sluggish which is the last thing that you need when you're already subject to the dehydrating, dry air of the plane. Speaking of dehydration, I always pack along a reusable water bottle. More and more airports have bottle filling stations which gives you easy access to water without the cost and saves the planet from the disposal of more crappy plastic bottles!
My hubby likes to poke fun at me for packing a big bag of snacks but honestly with the uncertainty of travel with me and two kids who are used to regular healthy snacks I'd rather be too prepared than underprepared! The funny thing is that it's usually all gone when we we arrive. Fruit and veggies can be tricky to travel with depending on where you are going and the rules about agriculture. If you travel a certain route regularly then you will likely know which fruit(s) and veggies are ok (if you don't know, ask) as these are obviously easy choices that will fill you with good nutrition.
Here are some of my favorite things to pack:
- Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts & pistachios)
- A good quality whey or vegan protein powder pre-measured in a shaker cup.
- Healthy trail mix - raw nuts (again!), low sugar cereal, organic raisins, flaked unsweetened coconut, pumpkin & sunflower seeds and a few dark chocolate chips.
- Low sugar Kind bars (look for the bars that indicate that they are under 5 grams of sugar)
- Puffins or other low sugar cereal (the kids love this!)
- Rice cakes (I like the Suzie's kamut or spelt cakes) and sometimes bring the little squeeze packs of almond butter to spread on them.
- Mary's Gone Crackers or Twigs
- Natural nut butter sandwiches with banana (I'll use up all of my sprouted grain bread and bananas)
- Tuna or turkey sandwiches with a few slices of avocado (again using up what's left at home and will go bad)
- A few packets of Eco- Planet instant hot cereal (check that they have no added sugar). Just ask for 1/2 cup of hot water and pour the oats in. I usually have packets of Sweetleaf stevia so will add a little stevia to sweeten.
- The Good Bean (roasted garbanzo bean snacks) or roasted edamame are great as they are high in fiber and protein.
- I'm not a huge fan of protein bars in general however have been know to take a Jay Robb or Quest Bar along as a 'treat'
Planning ahead & packing healthy food choices will have your body and your wallet thanking you. What are some of your favorite healthy travel tips? I'd love to know!