As the days are getting warmer I know many of you are planning to get away with your families and eating healthier becomes a chore or something that is perceived as “hard“.
I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that.
Instead of focusing on “how to eat healthy while you’re gone” focus on “how do you want to feel when you travel (for vacation, with or without kids or for business)”.
This question helps you to reframe the entire process and get you out of overwhelm.
You know that eating healthy is simple – eat less move more.
Simple, but you and I know this is not easy. Unless you set yourself up for success and plan ahead, then it becomes easy peasy. Your job is to make this whole thing seem manageable and doable.
And honestly, it is not that big of a deal.
When you prioritize yourself, you learn to take actions that support who you want to become and how you want to feel, everything else is nonsense.
Because no matter where you are, at home or away, why would you want to feel anything less than your best?
- What to look for and what to ask for when booking accommodation?
- What to pack with you?
- What to pick up on arrival?
- General guidelines for eating healthy while traveling
No one wants to spend their entire time away thinking or prepping food, common girl, you have a life.
Make it easy for yourself and have a good time!
What to look for and what to ask for when booking your accommodation?
- Do they have a kitchen?
- If yes, then is the kitchen stocked with dishes, cutlery, and cooking pans?
- Do they have a fridge?
What to pack with you?
- If flying – keep your snacks dry (trail mix, granola, oatmeal, hemp seeds, chia seeds)
- If traveling by car, bus or train – I recommend to pack light and decide that the first thing you are going to do when you get to your destination is to go shopping for fresh food. For the road, depending on how far you’re going I would stick to fresh fruits and veggies cut up and ready to go.
Fruit – apples, peaches, pears, clementines, basically any fruit that is easy to grab and eat without needing to be washed and/or peeling is not too messy.
Veggies – peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots. Cut them up in sticks and take hummus with you for dipping.
Sandwiches – use wraps as sandwiches, they are light and travel easy (skip the bagels, buns, and anything that is heavy to carry)
Meats – we love camping and there’s no way we go camping without hotdogs and burgers, but remember that this stuff is processed and has nasty ingredients, so while I want you to have a life I also want you to take it easy on your digestion, so skip the processed stuff and opt for
- Quick snacks to take with you – hard boiled eggs, cooked corn, oatmeal, nuts, trail mix, canned tuna,
- Supplements – digestive enzymes and probiotics are a must, especially when you know that you’ll be visiting a restaurant that offers delicious food that your body might struggle to break down. The secret is in intentionality and being deliberate about your options. Radical self-care is not a joke. You want hanky panky at night, so keep it light during the day.
What to pick on arrival?
Let’s say you do have a kitchen or at the least a cooler you’re traveling with, the first thing you should do when you get to your destination is go shopping for fresh food! Buy some ice in a bag to keep it all cool in case you don’t have a fridge with you and stock up on apples, cucumbers, baby carrots, peppers, wraps, mixed greens for salads and for filling up your wraps.
Keep hydrated!! Choose water (and if you need the frizz, get some sparkling water) but do skip the sodas!
The rule is simple – keep it light and fresh as much as possible and remember to have plenty of fresh food with every meal, even when you’re having that burger.
Here are some general guidelines for eating healthy while traveling
Healthy Breakfast options:
- Fruit platter – Almost all continental breakfast bars offer fruit. You can eat as much fruit as you want;
the fruit is full of nutrients and fiber.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal will sustain you with complex carbohydrates and fiber. Make it with water; add nuts, berries, or honey.
- Hard-boiled eggs – If they’re offered, hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein. Don’t skip the yolk as most of the egg’s nutrients are in the yolk!
- Herbal Tea – is a much better option than coffee, as it ignites the production of stomach juices and supports digestion.
Avoid the following breakfast options:
- Sweet pastries – Danishes and bear claws may taste good, but they’re far from good for you. They’re often high in fat and calories, which can leave you with a sugar crash, feeling hungry again soon afterward.
- Croissants – While they may be enticing with their flakey crusts and buttery taste, croissants are loaded with sugar and fat.
- Juices – Unless they’re 100% fruit juice, orange drink, and other fruit flavored juices, usually contain high amounts of sugar. Don’t be fooled!
- Coffee – caffeine stimulates the flow of stress hormones, which can produce increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion, insomnia and decreased immunity.
Eating breakfast in a restaurant?
Order the following healthy options:
- Omelets – they are high in protein, which will give you long-lasting energy for the day. Fill them with tons of vegetables! Hold back on the cheese and if you want to add meat, try turkey.
- Side dishes – Breakfast platters usually come with home fries and toast. Skip the home fries and ask for some fruit on the side. Choose wheat toast instead of white bread toast.
- Breakfast sandwiches – Stick with wheat toast, eggs, and a little cheese. Skip the unhealthy breakfast meats, such as sausage.
Avoid the following:
- Pancakes, waffles, or french toast – Filled with refined sugar and fat, these food items provide little nutritional value. The sugar will be in and out of your bloodstream before you can blink, leaving you sleepy and quickly hungry again. You want to save your energy for trips and sightseeing instead!
- Bacon, sausage, or any other fried meat.
- Stay away from anything that includes the words: stuffed, double, triple, slammed, dunked, crispy, or glazed.
- If it comes in an edible bowl, don’t order it.
- Salad dressing can make a salad unhealthy. Get it on the side and choose non-cream based lite or fat-free salad dressings. Or just go with olive oil and vinegar.
- Sometimes, a bowl of soup and salad may be enough to fill you.
- If possible, lighten your lunch and make your dinner a bit heavier. Too much food can affect your energy levels, which you need while traveling.
- Skip the appetizer and just order an entrée.
- Instead of an entrée, have a salad and an appetizer.
- For a side dish, skip the french fries and get a side salad or other vegetable.
- Sharing is more than caring: If you’re lunching with other people, share food; you’ll be less likely to overeat.
- Choose baked or grilled entrees over fried.
- Start by eating half of your meal and take a break; you may not need the whole meal to be full.
- Salad – Pick salads with a variety of vegetables, dark leafy greens, and/or fresh fruits. Include lean protein, such as grilled chicken, salmon or beans in your salad. Lean protein will help you feel full for longer. Order salad dressing on the side and choose vinaigrettes or olive oil and vinegar. Avoid cream or mayo-based dressings (i.e. Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, French).
- Soup – Choose soups made with broth or stock, versus those made with cheese, cream, or milk (i.e. New England Clam Chowder, Broccoli Cheese, Bisques). As with salads, choose soups with plenty of vegetables.
- Other items – Choose items with vegetables, lean meats, or fish.
- Avoid items that are fried, contain a lot of cheese, and dips with chips, pita or bread.
A few words about portion sizes
Gauging appropriate portion sizes can be difficult while traveling, especially with oversized meals. Use these tips to help you keep your portions on the right track!
- One serving of fruit, such as a medium apple or orange, is about the size of a baseball ball.
- The appropriate serving size for a potato is about the size of a computer mouse.
- For meat, such as chicken or beef, a deck of cards is the size of a 3-ounce portion.
- One serving of hard cheese is one ounce or the equivalent of four dice.
- One serving of fats, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing, is two tablespoons, or 2 dice.
- Even though you get the whole can, one serving size of soda is only 6 ounces or half the can.
Why do we even bother with this stuff? Because if you are like me then you need a vacation from vacation, especially when you’re traveling with kids, you will feel like you need to recover from that vacation. If, however, you take it easy on your digestion and focus on feeding your energy instead this time period will be minimized. So you will need fewer naps, less time away from everyone, less grogginess, less annoyance. Instead, you’ll have more fun, more play, more laughter and yes, even more, desire for sex during or after travels.
5. Avoid “feel bad” foods
You know what these are: They’re foods you crave, but leave you feeling sick or depleted after you eat them. When you’re on the road, it’s particularly essential to avoid foods that drain your energy and deflate your mood.
Foods to avoid: (1) simple carbohydrates or high glycemic foods, such as fruit juices, sodas, refined grain products, or sugary snacks; (2) anything deep-fried; (3) nonfat desserts and sweeteners, which are loaded with chemicals that your body can’t easily metabolize; (4) anything partially hydrogenated (this includes nondairy creamer, Jiffy-style peanut butter, margarine, and most packaged baked goods); and (5) excess alcohol.
While I love to travel and discover authentic restaurants around the world, I also like to go back home feeling vibrant, energized, rested and preferably wearing the same jeans