This summer, more than 20 million Americans will leave their homes and travel for a part of the summer – either alone, with their families, or with their friends.
So, what does that mean for those of us traveling while on a healthy eating plan, since keeping up your wellness routine on the road can sometimes be a challenge.
The healthy eating habits you’ve established in the comfort of an environment you’re familiar with, aided by daily habits you’ve formed around your healthy lifestyle, should carry you through your entire trip away from home.
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, making healthy choices is possible – even when you’re following the Beyond Diet program meal plans to a T. You can still make it work even if you've left the country.
You may need to plan things ahead of time, make a few inquiries and/or requests, go the extra mile for food shopping at your destination, and most of all be mindful and let go of the ‘ideal’. Even if your diet isn’t perfect during your travels, there are plenty of strategies to keep you on track!
Arrangements Before Your Trip
Planning your outfits isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing in the preparation of your upcoming trip.
If you really want to stick exactly to your Beyond Diet meal plans on your trip and cook everything yourself, the easiest (and cheapest) way to this is to rent an apartment or house, or a hotel with space to mini-fridge and a kitchenette store/cook food.
If you're traveling for a long period of time, it may be worth bringing along your rice cooker or crock pot. You can easily cook some simple, yet delicious meals in your hotel room/rental such as steamed vegetables and meat, beans, soups and stews, and of course rice among plenty of other things.
But let's say you just want to stay on track without sticking to an exact meal plan.
Another great alternative is to take a cooler bag or an airtight container for your perishable foods and snacks. It’s against airport security rules to take liquids more than 3.4oz, but fruit (fresh and dried), nuts, precooked sweet potatoes or fresh veggie slices, energy bars, and Daily Energy can make past the security check. If you're taking a long international flight, consider packing more substantial food to hold you over for longer. If you prefer to buy food at the airport, you can also easily pick up a salad, yogurt, or smoothie with no sugar added at the airport and take them on the plane. Many airports are trying to meet the demand of healthy foods and offer better dining options. So, if you visit the website of the airport you’re flying from and check their airport restaurant chart it won’t take you long to decide where to eat.
Plane food isn’t just tasteless; it can even be bad for you. Request a special meal, like gluten-free, to make sure there’s plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on your food tray. Skip the airline’s unhealthy snacks and enjoy your prepacked food.
Are you traveling to a destination where tap water is safe to drink? If so, bring a refillable water bottle with you. You can fill up your bottle at the beginning of every day and take it with you to ensure you drink your daily amount of waterThis is also a great way to make sure you have a scoop of your Daily Energy in the morning.
After the security check you can fill up your refillable water bottle at one of the fountains. Airplane air can be quite dehydrating, so have a full bottle for your flight.
At Your Destination
You've arrived at your destination! Relax and enjoy your time there while making healthy choices.
If your hotel offers free breakfast, make sure to check your options and see what you can fit into your daily meal plan. Chances are your breakfast buffet offers a variety of healthy foods ranging from eggs, fruit, veggies, oatmeal, and meats. You can have them for breakfast or sometimes request to take some up to your room for a snack later in the day. Just be sure to say no to the orange juice and wheat products.
It’s always good to know your surroundings, so use Trip Advisor, Yelp, and even Google Maps to find grocery stores or markets nearby and restaurants where you could try the local healthy cuisine. You might even end up finding a fantastic local healthy restaurant you'll want to head to for every meal throughout your entire trip.
Stock up on water and groceries you might need. Except for raw foods, you’d want to consider getting salmon or tuna (if you haven’t taken some from home already), hummus, or a small bottle of olive oil for some salad dressing. Remember to request that mini-fridge ahead of time!
One of my favorite places to head to when I'm traveling is Whole Foods. Not only can you pick up some groceries or even eat at their restaurant. The last time I traveled, I bought grilled chicken breast, zucchini noodles, and some roasted tomatoes. It was fantastic. I brought my leftovers back to your hotel room and saved them for later in my mini-fridge.
Also remember to avoid getting stuffed with empty calories, or going hungry. Drink plenty of water and eat every three or four hours. If you can’t eat as often, make breakfast or lunch your biggest meal of the day and carry some snacks with you to keep your energy up.
Staying Active on Vacation
To stay active during your trip you can book a hotel/rental with a fitness center and a pool. But if the hotel/apartment you’re staying at doesn’t have a fitness center or a pool, then you can find ways make use of your surroundings.
Sure, you can bring along your resistance band, install an exercise app on your phone and do an exercise routine in your room to start the day, or better yet, you can explore the neighborhoods by going for a walk, a hike, or even a light jog. If you get the chance, book a bike tour of the city or region you’re visiting. Some cities have city jogging/walking tours and goes by so quickly, especially when you’re sightseeing. Instead of driving, taking the bus, subway or taxis between city landmarks, take your time to get to know your destination and walk as much as you can. You’ll appreciate the diversity of appearance and vibe between different neighborhoods and enjoy some hidden gems.
Another great way to make use of your surroundings is to use the stairs instead of the elevator. That might seem unthinkable if your room happens to be on the 15th floor, but you can always hit the button of a lower floor and walk several flights of stairs to your room.
While sticking to your healthy eating plan is great, accidental slip ups can happen. You can let go of perfections –we're human after all! Don't beat yourself up if you try a famous national pastry, some ice cream from a popular local gelateria, or a fried national dish. Just be sure to know your limits and do your best with your daily eating goals while you're away.
Have yourself a safe and happy vacation!