It’s almost summer! This upcoming season brings a lot of change in routines and mindsets. We may notice a slower pace at work with colleagues taking vacation or may be traveling more ourselves.
Many of my clients, trying to commit to healthier habits, get stressed when it comes to travel time. One client does a lot of driving on a weekly basis for his role in recruiting, and other than being concerned about sitting so much, he worries about finding nutritious meals on the go.
Whether you’re traveling for work conferences or family vacations, here are some tips to keep those healthy habits at the forefront of your mind!
Pack a reusable water bottle. Sounds simple, but doing this one thing alone can make a huge difference. The low humidity in an airplane can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to sugar cravings, and when you’re surrounded by lots of sugary options in your travels, they’ll be that much more tempting. Aim to increase your water intake before you even leave for the airport, so you don’t have to go on the plane!
If you don’t have a water bottle, here are some of my favorites. If you don’t want to lug one around, buy a large bottle after going through security instead of being stuck with the tiny ones on the plane. Bonus- you can nap whenever you want since you won’t be waiting on the beverage cart!
Keeping hanger at bay is a simple way to avoid fast food or less nutritious options on-the-go. If possible, eating a real meal before you leave for your travel is a great place to start.
If the timing is off (a 6am flight, for example), the next best thing is bringing snacks! Fun fact: your taste buds can change on a plane, tricking you into wanting different foods than normal too. Hard fruit travels best (I’ve ended up with smashed and browned bananas in my purse before- lesson learned). Some of my favorite snacks I bring:
- lemons (so you can have hot water with lemon in your hotel room! I use the coffee maker to brew just hot water)
- nut butter pouches (an example)
- an apple, clementine, or orange would all travel well, along with avocado, carrots, celery, or hardboiled pasture raised eggs
- chia seeds (make your own chia pudding!) on the plane/train or in your hotel - these also help hydration
- seaweed snacks for that salty crunchy craving
- make trail mix, bars or balls and bring them, or buy some with reliable ingredients in advance like RXBar
- Simple Mills crackers (bring the box!) - I typically buy mine cheaper through Thrive Market (save15% on your first order with that link)
Flying can also disrupt your good gut bacteria, so bringing the probiotics or vitamins you may already be using is key! On that same note, kombucha is more widely available these days so you can drink your probiotics that way, too.
Make a Plan
Just as, if not more important, than any of those previous ideas is to be as informed as possible before arriving at your final destination. Doing some quick research in advance on restaurants that have nutritious food options, or even locating something like a Whole Foods nearby, can give you peace of mind and keep you well fueled.
If the restaurants aren’t in your control, try to take a look at the menus in advance to see what foods will work for you. When you’re hungry, staring at a menu often leads to less strategic options because you want ALL of the things! One of my clients has found just looking at a menu before arriving helps her buffer in time to assess what she’s actually craving, removing her tendency to be overwhelmed by the options.
If you’re staying at a hotel… beware of the buffet.
Here's a deeper look into why we overeat at the buffet, but my biggest advice is to plate everything at once (after doing a lap to see what your options are) vs. getting up/down for multiple courses. You'll have a better perspective of how much you're eating. Also, start out with the most nutritious foods like greens and veggies so you're more likely to crowd out the others.
When in doubt, don't forget to chew! Give yourself time to realize you're full.
You can also research fitness options so you get some movement on your schedule. See what the hotel gym has to offer, or look up local studios (many will have first-time client specials!) for class options. One client of mine said this simple, quick research led to her actually going to a yoga class instead of just packing the clothes for it and leaving them in her suitcase!
Find Your Balance
Also know when it’s worth it to soak up the experience and enjoy things! For me, stale pastries at the breakfast buffet aren’t worth it (learned that one the hard way). A martini and a unique locally sourced or fresh and fun appetizer? A different story.
Try to give yourself some time and space to listen to your body and see what you actually want. Decide where you feel like certain foods are worth it, and when you eat that food, enjoy it instead of feeling a pang of guilt with every bite. It's all about balance, after all!
Where are you headed this summer? Safe travels!