Travel is a part of life, whether it’s for work or family vacations.
I recently took a 2-week vacation to Paris and London. I was faced with so many options that I wouldn’t have had at home and I was not about to restrict myself from indulging. However, I also wanted to feel my best and maintain my healthy eating habits (not a diet, healthy habits).
I followed the basic principles below to help me stay on track.
- Stay Hydrated:
Pack a water bottle that you can fill up right after you get through security (if traveling by air) and don’t be afraid to ask for an extra fill up on the plane. Long flights can be very dehydrating and sitting for long periods can cause swelling in the body. So, drink plenty of water to help flush out your system and keep you hydrated.
With the current heat wave in Paris I also packed some electrolyte tabs with me. Being out in the hot sun everyday meant sweating even more than usual. The tasty electrolyte flavors also helped mask the taste of the Paris and London tap water which according to a certain 12-year-old, ‘taste yucky’.
- Pack Food:
Whether its for work or vacation I always pack extra food from home with me. When I travel for work and vacation I pack some healthy, whole food, high protein snacks.
And for this trip I am glad I did. For my 9hr flight, the gluten free snack that was served was a Snickers bar. They lied when they said it really satisfies. Here is an example of foods I like to travel with:
- Quest Bars (ok not super healthy but better than a Snickers)
- Natural Beef Jerky
- Veggies and fruit (for the plane before I get to customs)
- Hard boiled eggs (not popular amongst my fellow air travelers but a great snack for me)
- Prepare Your Own Meals When Possible:
I don’t know what we used to do before Airbnb but for a 2-week trip it was a life saver (or at least a health saver). Depending on what we were doing for the day we at a minimum ate a home cooked breakfast. Having a kitchen and doing some grocery shopping meant that we could have local, whole food meals, veggies and fruit, all at normal portion sizes. We packed lunches when we could or came home for dinner before heading out and hitting some more sites for the evening. Not only did we get nutritious meals, but we saved a little bit of money as well.
- Include Protein and Veggies When Dining Out
When you do dine out, scan the menu for protein and veggies. When you travel, you will almost certainly be eating higher carbs and fats when eating meals prepared by someone else.
The combo of fats and carbs is calorie dense and our brain sees it as delicious (thanks to years of evolution) and it is also why many restaurant meals taste so good. Unfortunately, this makes those meals nutrient poor and often lacking protein. To avoid this, order a meal that includes BOTH protein and vegetables.
Eating protein and veggies will help you feel satiated and will ensure you consume your vitamins and minerals.
- Rest and Digest
Our normal daily lives are hectic and stressful and most of us live in ‘fight or flight’ mode. So, travel time can be a great break from our busy routines and it is important to schedule in some rest time.
This past vacation was the first time I’ve taken 2 weeks off from training. We walked every day and kept our bodies moving. I track my recovery using a Whoop band and I hit 99% recovery for the first time ever.
Slowing down and allowing our body to finally get out of ‘fight or flight’ and into ‘rest and digest’ mode has a few benefits when it comes to our nutrition:
- Heart rate and breathing rates slow down
- Increased production of saliva which contributes to better digestion
- Hormones like insulin which can be inhibited in ‘fight or flight’ are stimulated, allowing your body to process and metabolize your food more effectively so you get the nutrients you need for growth, repair and energy.
- Relaxation of the digestive system and increased peristalsis of the intestines means better poops. I mean, what more can you ask for.
So, book a spa day, listen to guided meditation while traveling (WestJet has Headspace on their inflight system), sleep in, unplug from emails and work and avoid over scheduling yourself.
For more tips on how to maintain healthy eating habits or for one on one nutrition coaching, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org