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How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

It’s easy to fall into a routine at home, especially if you are working with a trainer and have a plan for everything. But what happens when you have to leave town on a business trip, vacation, or holiday? So many people end up falling off the wagon the moment they leave their comfortable environment and have a really hard time picking up the pieces once they are back.

Let’s face it, maintaining healthy eating habits while traveling can be hard. Avoiding bad food is difficult at home but feels impossible if you are rushing to a long flight, or spending days in and out of business meetings.

8 tips for healthy traveling:

Prepare and pack your food in advance.

Don’t take chances that a healthy option will miraculously present itself at the airport or on a plane: prepare your own snack-type meals and take them with you. Some of my favorite foods to bring with me on the plane are beef jerky, dried nuts, fresh fruit, and healthier protein bars. I don’t suggest whipping out the tuna or boiled egg on the plane as the other passengers will hate you.

If you are going on a road trip, pack a cooler for the car. Something about driving seems to give people the munchies and lead to frequent fast food stops. Have a cooler full of healthier choices. Try lettuce wraps with turkey and avocado or tuna salad, fresh fruit, nuts, boiled eggs, and hummus with celery or carrots sticks. Homemade soup or chili in a thermos is a good choice also.

Buy on your way.

If you are driving and don’t have time to prepare your own food in advance, grab that empty cooler and stop by a store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to pick up pre-cooked chicken, deli foods, salads, and snacks.

If you are flying, airports are not known for the best foods, but in the worst-case scenario pick up a roll of sushi or a salad with grilled chicken. If you are going to have a long flight, allow enough time at the airport to order a decent meal at one of the airport restaurants. Expensive, I know, but it is better than being so hungry you end up eating pastries, Starbucks sugar drinks, and chips. When it comes to beverages, stick to water if possible. Carbonated drinks, even the no sugar ones, tend to cause bloat and gassiness, not great for plane travel.

Stay Hydrated.

That’s your number one priority while traveling. Staying hydrated while traveling cuts down on consuming more calories than you want, eliminates headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue and keeps you full. I like to bring some herbal tea bags with me whenever I go.

Make Smart Restaurant Choices 

Eating out doesn’t have to stress you out. Most restaurants can accommodate a healthy diet if you know what to ask for. Let the waiter know right away that you have “dietary requirements.” Most restaurants are prepared to deal with that. Choose meat or fish that is steamed, grilled, broiled, baked, poached, or roasted. Choose steamed veggies over sautéed or fried and always keep sauces and dressings on the side…even better, skip them altogether. Limit alcohol and don’t drink juices at breakfast unless it’s a 100% freshly squeezed green vegetable juice.

I can order appropriate food at most restaurants, except maybe fast-food joints. I like Mediterranean, since the menu is very meat based. Sushi restaurants are great because I can order hand rolls with very little or no rice. Grilled salmon or chicken is usually also available along with the raw fish choices. Another great choice is the traditional American coffee shop. You just need a bit of willpower to stay away from the burgers, milk shakes, and pie.

Skip dessert.

It’s tempting to have “just a bite” when your colleagues or family indulge in frequent after-dinner desserts. But the way to stay in shape is to opt for berries or light fruit instead of baked sugary creations.

Say NO to free food.

Just say “no” to all that conference free food. Trust me, you will pay for it later in weight gain and fatigue. Make yourself a cup of tea and sip on it if you must have something.

Eat every 2 or 3 hours.

It doesn’t have to be much but having a little something every few hours will stop you from being hungry and eating everything that looks good in sight.

Stay near a gym.

My last tip for traveling? Book hotels with their own gym, or near a gym. Some people never think about working out on vacation, or on a business trip. I would never think about NOT working out. Having a convenient place to work out is always my first thought when booking hotels. Plus, sometimes the food just isn’t going to be great. Balance it out with working out when you can; it will save you the extra pounds and frustration of trying to regain your momentum when you get home.

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