by Justin Bibee, Advance Humanity Fellow
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It doesn't have to be difficult while traveling either. Not sleeping in your own bed makes it much easier to get off the healthy eating track. You have to be conscious of your food choices so you don’t feel bloated, sick, tired, or worse –feel guilty or regret what you’ve eaten. Healthy eating while traveling isn’t always easy. Below are some tips to help you maintain a healthy diet while traveling.
1. Have a plan, start out strong
Before you travel, buy or make healthy snacks like nuts, protein bars, trail mix, fruit, and/or cut veggies that you can take with you and eat on the go. These are great for trips and as substitutes for the often unhealthy and overpriced airplane and airport food. Plus, any extras you have you can eat throughout the trip and on the way back home. Also, do research on the restaurants and hotels where you will be traveling to; some hotels offer complimentary breakfast which is a great way to start your day strong!
2. Eat breakfast like a champ
Don't forget to eat breakfast. This is usually easier said than done when traveling. However, breakfast helps prime your system and prepares you for a full day of activities or business meetings. If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, choose a high fiber and protein meal, such as whole grain toast with peanut butter, to give you instant energy and fill you up until lunch. This way you may reduce the temptation to snack.
3. Keep moving
Whether you’re in business meetings all day, enduring long airline flights, or hours in the car, make a point to get moving every day, even if that only includes some walking and stretching. If you’re at a hotel use their gym or walk around the neighborhood. Keeping your body moving will help you feel like yourself and less inclined to overindulge for no reason.
4. Eating Out
There is no doubt you will be eating out when traveling. Even if you are staying with family or friends, you’re still going to eat out at least a few times - choose healthy options. Ignore the tempting smell of fried foods that are often staples of many restaurants and choose grilled foods instead, don’t fill up on the chips and bread, always ask for sauces on the side - including salad dressing, and skip dessert. As long as you go in with a game plan to eat healthy and stick with it.
5. Pack for emergencies
Make sure you always keep snacks and water with you throughout the day. It’s important to have snacks so you don’t feel an urge to stop for fast food. If you run out of the snacks you packed from home, stop at a local grocery store and buy veggies, fruits, nuts, and gallons of water. Keeping hydrated is so important while traveling and keeps unwanted hunger away too.
Eating healthy while traveling is possible if you make it a priority and are mindful of your choices. Of course, if you want to enjoy something you don’t typically eat at home, go for it and have no regrets. Just remember: have a plan, start off strong, eat breakfast like a champ, keep moving, pick wisely, and pack for emergencies. Also, don’t beat yourself up if and when you stray from the healthy routine. More important than maintaining a rigid diet plan is to act with intention and be confident in the decisions you make.