Travel is a part of life.
Just like traffic, house chores, Monday mornings, moving houses and birthday parties—it inevitably happens.
A question that often arises during times of travel, in light of a “healthier lifestyle” is:
“How do I eat well on the road?”
Take a deep breath.
Three words: Keep it simple.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
During travel, while it may seem that all healthy lifestyle efforts are suddenly threatened, there’s good news:
Health is a lifestyle—not an ultimatum.
The MOST important thing to keep in mind while traveling is: Keep it simple.
Eat real food.
Reach for lots of color.
Drink lots of water.
And, when in Rome, eat the pasta (i.e. let life happen and don’t stress SO much).
While travel is inevitable during your lifetime, “falling off the bandwagon” doesn’t have to be.
Just like a healthy lifestyle can follow you whether or not you sit in traffic one day, have a long list of household chores, or Monday morning (or Friday night) rolls around, a healthy lifestyle can follow you wherever you go—especially with a little bit of Girl-Scout-worthy preparedness.
Whether you’re traveling to Timbuktu, Rome, the Big Apple, a weekend get-away bed-and-breakfast or camping in the backwoods of Arkansas, here are 10 travel tips for not just surviving, but thriving, in your health during your travels (PLUS easy, packable 20 travel snacks for you’re on-the-go expedition).
- Prepare to Succeed. Failing to prepare, is preparing to “fail”—you’ve heard it before. No, you don’t need to pack your own sweet potatoes or chicken breasts, but arming yourself with a few handy travel snacks in your bag, along with some basic food storage supplies and utensils in your bag (ziplocks, foil sheets, plastic silverware, etc.) can do wonders for at least providing you with some other options in case you find yourself without any options.
- Request It. Staying in a hotel? Ask if they have a mini fridge for storing a few basics. Air B-N-B? Ask the host for recommendations in the area of grocery stores, healthy restaurants or local fitness and activity options. Friend or family member’s home? Ask them if it’s alright if you stock up on a few things (most people are more than willing to help if you ask for it). Use your voice.
- Hit the Store. One of my “go-to” action steps to do when I travel to a new city is stocking up on a few essentials once I get there. Whether its Whole Foods or Piggly Wiggly, I hit the store to find some staples to keep in my hotel room fridge, such as: greens, rotisserie chicken, organic deli meat, baby carrots, cucumber, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Eat Breakfast In. You may be out and about the rest of the day for meals, but eat a quality breakfast in to jet start the day. Snag your breakfast items at the store (point 3) and they don’t have to be conventional at all! Sometimes my breakfasts on the road include pulled chicken, avocado and leafy greens; additive-free protein powder that I packed, plus a banana and coconut butter and more greens; or canned wild salmon, avocado oil mayo, greens and a piece of fruit.
- Move It. Even if only 20-30 minutes, keep your energy alive and movement routine going with a morning workout at the hotel gym, an Uber to a local fitness studio, a walk around the hotel or block, or a hotel room workout (see ideas below).
- Explore. Speaking of trying out local fitness options, do the same with local eating and activity options. Explore city you’re in and pretend as if you ARE the health travel guide or travel reporter—explore and find the local gems of health culture in the community or place. I love doing this in New York for instance—finding the local hot spots, dives or popular restaurants, activities and people that emulate a similar health and holistic mindset I so great appreciate. And even when I travel home to Arkansas, it’s fun to pop in to a local CrossFit box, or wine and dine my own fam with some healthy revamped dinner creations (ie. butternut squash mac and cheese, turkey burgers and sweet potato fries, fish tacos on coconut flour tortillas, etc.)
- Keep it Real. Keeping it simple=keeping it real. Think: Meat + Veggies + Healthy Fats (avocado, raw nuts and seeds, coconut oil, coconut butter, extra virgin olive oil). Most places will have the first two “ingredients”—meat and veggies. And while many restaurant meals and foods you eat out have questionable oils (hydrogenated oils, canola and vegetable oils), you can simply request your food to come in its true simple form—steamed, baked, grilled with “no added vegetable oils”—and add your own to the meal if quality fats are not an option (i.e. coconut butter or oil packets, ghee packets, travel sized olive oil, etc.).
- Digest-Ease. Traveler’s constipation is real—you know, that feeling of NOT being able to go when you travel somewhere new? Blame it on being off your regular schedule, dehydration in the air (plane travel) and exposure to new or different foods, you’re stopped up—and it’s Bust “traveler’s constipation” by ensuring you drink plenty of fluids. In addition, pack an “constipation arsenal” of your probiotics, digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar for your purse.
- Stay Connected. To your body. Your body still sends you hunger/fullness cues, digestion cues, fatigue or sleepiness cues, etc. when you’re on vacation. In other words, your body doesn’t take a vacation from trying to work for you. Still honor your body. If you typically wouldn’t drink 2 or 3 drinks in one night, do your body a favor and keep it to 1 or 2. If you typically know that rich desserts or fried foods hurt your stomach, honor your body—even though you are “on vacation.” No, you DON’T have to just order bland salads or make sure everything you eat is grass-fed, organic or pasture-raised on a menu, but you don’t have to eat foods for the sake of eating them just because you’re on vacation either. Seek balance and listen to your body.
- Just Breathe. Stress is the enemy. And the more stressed out you are over what to eat or not eat, or if you’re being “good or bad” will only leave you, well…more stressed. Instead of getting uptight, or completely letting “all hell break loose,” what would it be like to find a happy medium—right in the middle? A happy medium that acknowledges, “A healthy lifestyle can follow me wherever I go—I AM the healthy lifestyle” while also realizing, 100-percent perfection or “spot on eating” is not realistic. View times of travel as opportunities to expand your healthy lifestyle OUTSIDE your comfort zone and regular routine (rather than as threats to your lifestyle as a whole).
23 Travel Snacks for Your Bag
- Almond Butter Packets, Raw & Unsweet
- Avocados (day-of-travel, and keeping in your room)
- Coconut Butter Packets
- Coconut Oil
- Ghee Packets
- Raw Nuts & Seeds (almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds)
- Additive-free Protein Powder or collagen
- Canned Organic Roasted Chicken (Wild Planet)
- Canned Wild Salmon & Sardines
- Canned Wild Tuna
- Jerky, nitrate-free & organic
- Bulletproof Collagen Bars
- Primal Kitchen Bars
- RX Bars
Misc. Snack Foods
- Coconut Chips
- Kale Chips or Kelp Sea Snax
- Low Sugar Trail Mix (nuts + 1 dried fruit)
- Plantain Chips
- Simple Mills or Jillz Crackers
- Sweet Potato Chips (Jackson’s Honest; with avocado)
- Veggies (baby carrots, celery, cucumbers; day of)
- Whole Fruits (apples, pears, oranges)