5 Tips For Staying Healthy While Traveling
Spring has sprung and for many of us that means spring break trips, weekend getaways, and the start of what can often be a busy travel season. I spent last weekend traveling and have a few more road trips coming up yet this spring so I thought I would share my tips for staying healthy on the road.
1. Pack healthful, travel-friendly foods
If you're driving, pack a cooler full of no-heat snacks and hand-held meals that are easy to munch on in the car. Some of my favorites are sliced peppers, carrot sticks, and cucumber to dip with containers of guacamole or hummus and chicken, tuna, or egg salad with gluten free crackers. Prepare these foods the day before you leave and store them in the cooler.
Maybe you're flying or you don't have room for a cooler. No worries! There are plenty of dry goods that travel well and make a great snack. Some of my favorites are Epic bars or other forms of beef jerky, Rx bars, plantain chips, coconut chips, individual packs of coconut butter and almond butter, and nuts.
2. Get moving and stretch those legs
Your poor legs want to MOVE after all those hours of sitting in the car or on an airplane. If you're driving, whenever you stop for gas or to use the restroom, be sure to spend 5-10 minutes moving around. If you can, walk a few laps up and down the parking lot at the rest stop. Then, take a few minutes and stretch those legs!
Grab onto the car and do 10 leg swings across your body and 10 leg swings front to back on each leg. Then, do a forward fold and stretch into those hamstrings. Stand up and grab hold of your foot and gently pull your heel to your butt and stretch out those quads. Reach your hands overhead and side to side to stretch out your side body. Whatever feels good to you! Just get your body moving and stretch it out to get the blood flowing.
If you're flying you can incorporate these stretches before and after your flight. I'm also not ashamed to walk the cabin on longer flights or stand in the aisle when it's clear and stretch my legs.
3. Get your veggies, protein and fat where you can
If your snacks aren't enough and you do find yourself stopping for a meal, find a way to get the most fresh vegetables you can in a dish and add a healthy source of protein and fat. The protein and fat will keep you full for longer than a high carbohydrate meal and vegetables pack vitamins and minerals along with fiber to keep your gut happy.
Think bunless burgers with a side of broccoli instead of french fries and big salads with a piece of meat. Ask for olive oil for dressing and add avocado to everything for additional fat. I've even seen grab-and-go packages of hard boiled eggs and raw veggies at some airports. These would be great when you're in a hurry.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
I know it can be tempting to skimp out on the liquids to limit bathroom breaks if you're driving. I get it. But quick bathroom breaks double as an opportunity to stretch your legs (see tip #2) and you will feel better if you're hydrated.
Airplanes are incredibly dehydrating so it's more important than ever to make sure you're hydrating regularly. This includes before, during, and after your flight.
The day of your flight try and get in as much pure water as you can before leaving for the airport. Bring a refillable water bottle with you and head straight to the drinking fountain after making your way through security and fill it up.
Avoid diuretics on the plane such as alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, and soda as these will only dehydrate you further. Continue to be mindful of your water consumption even after landing.
5. Stay in a place with a kitchen or kitchenette if possible
One tip I recommend if possible is to book an Airbnb or vacation rental with a full kitchen for your accommodations. If you're stuck in a hotel, request a mini fridge for your room if possible. Just the ability to store some fresh, perishable goods can be really helpful. Hard boiled eggs, raw fruits and veggies, and cured meats can make for great hotel breakfasts. So much better than any continental breakfast of pastries and breakfasts cereals.
If you're staying in a place with a full kitchen, it's your lucky day! I'm not saying you have to cook all of your meals in, but you can save money and make sure you're getting a couple of healthy meals in each day by preparing 1-2 meals a day at home.
Make your life easy and buy packages of pre cut vegetables, easy cuts of meat like ground beef, and quick breakfast foods like eggs and bacon. I recently stayed at an Airbnb for 4 nights and ate breakfast and lunch in each day, so I only had to purchase my dinners out.
I bought pre cut veggies and sauteed them with a pound of ground beef and topped it with avocado for lunch every day. Breakfast was bacon, precooked sausage, sauteed spinach, and half of a microwaved sweet potato. Nothing took longer than 15 minutes to prepare.
Ultimately, staying healthy while traveling just involves a little bit of preparation and planning. Of course I want you to enjoy your trip, especially if you're traveling for vacation, but that doesn't mean you have to resort to consuming mass amounts of fast food. The more you can stick to your routine of movement, hydration, and nutritious meals, the better you will feel and the more you'll be able to enjoy your trip. Happy travels!