The weather’s getting warmer and vacation time is here! If the last time you went on a trip, you came home with a few unwanted pounds along with your souvenirs, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself fit and healthy without spoiling your vacation.
Here are my travel survival tips:
1. Pack a Go Bag for the Plane
I don’t eat airplane food — not that they even really serve food anymore — because normally it’s not healthy for you. If I’m going on a long flight, I pack my own snacks so I’m not starving on the plane and tempted to eat the cookies, sugar-filled granola, or other junk food! And don’t forget water — the air on the plane is incredibly dehydrating. Check with the airline ahead of time and think ahead about how much water you can bring past TSA. (Some airports have UV-filtered water fountains, so if you bring an empty water bottle, you can refill it after you clear security!)
Here’s what’s in my bag:
- Protein bars (Quest bars are high in protein and low in sugar.)
- Nuts and seeds
- Salad or other fresh food that customs/security allows
Note: If you’re starting your vacation early with a glass or two of wine or other spirits on the plane, drink extra water! A good rule of thumb is to drink two 8 ounce glasses of water for every drink you imbibe.
2. Eat Whole Foods
I don’t mean the store — I mean whole foods, as opposed to processed foods.
When you’re traveling, research where you’re going, and map out the closest healthy restaurants. There are healthy options everywhere. Big cities can be a great spot to find organic or vegan food. If you can’t find specific restaurants, always select veggies and lean protein. Try to avoid carbs like French fries, bread, and white rice. Swap them out for healthier alternatives like sweet potatoes and quinoa. And remember to ask for your dressings or sauces on the side.
If you’re staying in a hotel, watch out for the free buffet breakfast. The problem with the buffet is you are tempted to fill your plate up all the way before going back for seconds to eat more and more and more! If you can’t avoid the buffet, fill your plate up with the fresh fruit and the healthier options offered (and try to steer clear of the dessert bar.)
3. Keep Moving
If a gym is not accessible when you’re away, or the gym is not your thing, go for a 20 minute run. Or, walk everywhere you go, rather than taking a cab. It’s great to explore the city by foot — not only do you get exercise in, you see places you wouldn’t otherwise by car. You can do a whole workout in the hotel room, no equipment required. Here’s one sample routine to try:
Do each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest. Repeat entire circuit up to 3 times.
Running in place
Alternating reverse lunges
4. Take Your Recipes With You
I love to cook and I don’t want to eat out all the time, so I look into accommodations that have a kitchen. Either I rent a house, or check into a hotel that has a kitchenette. That way I can go to the local grocer and cook for myself.
I don’t need to cook for myself the whole time I’m there, but even one or two meals give me balance.
I recommend sticking to a few simple recipes with minimal ingredients and prep work required. This Ginger-soy grilled chicken is a simple and healthy recipe you could easily cook while away from home.
5. Don’t Forget to Enjoy Yourself!
It’s important to stay healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but don’t forget to have fun. If you’re going someplace, part of the experience is to experience the cuisine. So, 70% of the time, make sure you’re eating healthy and walking and then, the other 30%,, enjoy where you’re going and what they have to offer! Just make sure you’re balancing it out. And having fun!