While it’s possible to only eat healthy foods while traveling, this can be difficult unless you have terrific will power, given all the ultra-tempting, calorically-dense foods out there! Leisure travel and business trips can cause challenges if you’re trying to stick to a meal plan, but it’s possible to stay healthy if you put in some extra effort. Here are seven helpful tips for staying healthy while traveling.
1. Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast sends your body a message that it needs to conserve calories rather than burn them. Studies show that people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, yet they tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI). Moreover, it’s important to eat before you embark on a daily adventure, for energy and to stave off hunger until your next meal.
2. Practice Mindful Eating
When you’re on vacation, you’ll likely be eating out a lot and probably not following the same dining schedule as you do at home. Vacation is a time to try new things, including cuisine, but that doesn’t mean throwing all caution to the wind when it comes to nutrition! If you already practice mindful eating at home, continue to do so, taking your time to savor every bite. If you’ve never tried this, vacation is a great time to try it!
3. Get Adequate Shut-Eye
Inconsistent sleep can throw off your natural circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock), which can negatively impact your metabolism and overall health over time. Traveling abroad and even cross-country domestic flights can wreak havoc on your body. It’s tempting to use every minute for sightseeing, especially if you’re visiting a foreign country, but jet lag can take a toll if you don’t get adequate sleep. If you’re doing a lot of walking, think about taking a nap or resting in the afternoon – who knows, taking a siesta after lunch may even be a local custom!
4. Stay Hydrated
The body is comprised of 60% water and you lose a lot through breathing, sweating and digestion. It needs to be replenished in order for the body to function properly. If you’re traveling domestically, you don’t have to worry about water sources. You can bring a water bottle and fill it up just about anywhere, or buy bottled water if you prefer. A word to the wise – if you’re traveling to any countries where tap water might be contaminated, stick to bottled commercial water only. Don’t ask for ice cubes with a bottled drink at a restaurant because you could wind up with quite a belly ache.
5. Pack Your Own Snacks
A great way to control the urge to buy fast food is to bring your own snacks. This is easy if you’re going on a domestic road trip, but is more challenging if you are flying, especially to foreign countries that ban bringing in certain food products like eggs or cheese. If you’re flying, you shouldn’t have any problems with wrapped items like granola bars or some of Lindora’s high protein snacks. Do keep in mind in the TSA only allows one quart-sized bag of liquids in carry-on bags, and travel-sized containers need to be 3.4 ounces or less.
6. Travel Shoes Are Made for Walking
Make sure you pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes, because blisters are the last thing you want when sightseeing. Walking is a great way to burn calories and you may see incredible sights you would have missed if you took a taxi or bus. Of course, only do this in areas where it is safe!
7. Research Restaurants in Advance
While it’s wonderful to be spontaneous on a vacation, it’s not uncommon to make an impulsive or poor decision when you’ve been searching for the perfect restaurant for hours! Do research ahead of time so you have several options for every meal. This is especially helpful if you have any dietary restrictions or follow specific meal plans.
A little prep work ahead of time can help you stay healthy on the road. Bon voyage and healthy traveling!
Dr. Amy Lee, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Lindora Clinic