Did the travel bug bite you? If it did, you may be tempted to throw all caution to the wind and ditch your healthy habits. Here are 5 ways to travel healthy while still enjoying yourself.
I love to travel! When I traveled to India several years ago, people thought I was kinda weird. When I say “people”, I mean my Indian relatives. As a health coach and former fat girl, I knew I wanted to enjoy myself to the fullest, which meant packing certain items that most people wouldn’t even bother packing.
And, that is the secret of my success when it comes to healthy travel.
I packed two important items when I was traveling on a 16 hour flight with my husband and child. Those two items were egg muffins and Cream of Wheat packets.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy Indian food- I LOVE Indian food. It’s not as if I was in danger of getting sick from street food- Ma was prepared with delicious dinners every single night we were staying with her. It also wasn’t my intent to embarrass anyone by saying no to their food.
It was my intent to not take a vacation from my healthy habits while traveling. The reason was simple- I knew that even two weeks of indulgence could set me back on the scale. I refused to sabotage myself.
So, why egg muffins and Cream of Wheat? The former was for the airport, because everyone knows airport food is no bueno, and the latter was for my suitcase. Even better, my daughter LOVES egg muffins, and they kept for several days without a fridge. They are packed with protein and veggies. Cream of Wheat is a food you can make no matter where you are, so long as you have access to boiling water or a microwave. Both of these foods helped me fuel up when I was in unfamiliar places and didn’t know when or what I was going to be eating.
You may feel weird to be so particular about your food. Don’t feel weird! When it comes to your health goals, you should be willing to do whatever it takes to go the extra distance, and when other people see your commitment and how excited you are about it, they will support you. It’s not a matter of inconveniencing anyone, or making them feel bad, because in the end if you feel good, we all feel good.
Leaving your home environment, whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, can tempt you to indulge in ways you don’t normally. Here are ways you can travel healthy without feeling like you are depriving yourself.
Plane, Train or Automobile
Depending on which mode of transportation you have lined up for your trip, you have access to different options. It is a good rule of thumb to never assume that you will find an acceptable healthy food to eat when you travel!
When road tripping, you will inevitably be tempted by SAD (Standard American Diet) foods at the gas station, pack snacks for the kids but not the adults, or end up stopping at some greasy spoon because it’s the only thing that you see at the edge of the highway off of the exit.
When flying or traveling somewhere even further away, the challenge may be that you don’t have a kitchen or fridge, no time to hit the grocery store, or you are at the mercy of your relatives’ preferred diet.
Regardless of which method of travel you use, here are ways to overcome those challenges.
1. Start with Protein
When it comes to meal planning, make sure you always plan your protein first. Protein is not hard to figure out, right? It could be a chicken breast, some beans, some cheese, most of which are readily available in most locations. The best bet is to visit the refrigerated section in the gas station or store, because usually the snack aisles are full of carb-heavy snacks. The easiest travel-friendly sources of protein are boiled eggs, beans, tuna or cheese. Bring a cooler if you can.
2. Plan Ahead
If you are staying in a hotel, make sure that there’s a mini-fridge in the hotel. Many hotels do have one, so that’s a good way for you to be prepared. If you bake and take egg muffins, or those refrigerated protein items, you can even pack oatmeal and some other dry things that you can cook in a microwave, because most hotels have a microwave thankfully. Here are other healthy snacks you can take while traveling, some of which can be purchased at many stores.
If you are staying with relatives, look within the area you are traveling to and identify some restaurants that offer healthier options, then don’t be shy about asking your relatives to eat there when you’re visiting. You could say tell them, “I’ve just always wanted to try this restaurant, and I notice it’s nearby, I don’t have one where I live.”
What if you can’t plan ahead? Life happens, and sometimes you’re unable to plan ahead. That’s fine. Read on for how you deal with travel situations when you’re hungry and you’re staring at all these temptations.
3. Must Have Food
I’m a big believer that deprivation is horrible and leads to weight gain and frustration, so it’s not about deprivation, but it is about making choices and prioritizing. When we talk about prioritizing, the problem is we are less discriminating when we are faced with plenty.
We’re kind of eating this and that and a little bit of this and a little bit of that and it all adds up before we know it. If we look at everything that’s available to us and we had to make a choice between food A and food B usually there’s a clear cut winner between those two foods.
You deserve to enjoy your favorite foods when traveling. Go for it. #healthy #travel #dieting Click To Tweet
Once you’ve chosen that one food that is just non-negotiable and part of your travel happiness, then you have to be very strategic about the rest of what you do because otherwise you might end up mindlessly snacking.
4. Drink Up!
If there’s one thing I enjoy when traveling to places like Mexico, it’s a margarita on the beach! (You thought I was going to say sex on the beach, didn’t you?) Followed by a local chocolate or cheesecake. MMMM.
Slow down. If you have both dessert and alcohol then that’s just a bunch of empty calories that are not helping you anyway. You’ve chosen your non-negotiable indulgence. It could be dessert, it could be a drink, it could be anything on that table. You’ve chosen it, and enjoyed it.
You can HAVE it all, just not at once. When it comes to your indulgence, choose EITHER an adult beverage OR a dessert. Believe me, your next meal could include the dessert. Pace yourself. You wouldn’t try to visit every hot spot in the area in one day, would you? The same principle applies to your eating choices.
Does this sound like torture to only stop at one cocktail? Here is my simple trick for reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. Drink a tall, iced, frosty glass of water before you even consider having a second cup or glass. This has helped my coaching clients wean themselves off of their favorite beverages, and prevents you from embarrassing your spouse or kids at the pool with your tipsy ways.
5. Then what?
Here’s what else you do. Make your graceful exit, or, at the very least, keep your hands busy with a glass of water.
Don’t stand next to the table while you’re chatting away with Aunt Kathy or Uncle Joe, and don’t park your behind on a bar stool while chatting with your friends.
You probably worked hard to look good for your vacation, right? Take advantage of that and show off! Wear a tight dress or outfit when you are going to eat. It’s hard to overeat when you are afraid your stomach will strain your seams. No need for loose and flowing clothing at this point. Wearing a swimsuit underneath your clothing might be a good motivating factor, too.
You can also enjoy increase your exercise by enjoying local hikes, outdoor activities, or pool time.
If you’re able to follow these tips every time you travel or go on vacation, you will never have to struggle with staying healthy or fitting in your swimsuit.
Speaking of swimsuits, maybe you don’t feel quite comfortable strutting your sexy self on that vacation. Sign up for the Rock your Swimsuit masterclass, and learn how to feel confident in your suit now, even if you don’t have your ideal body yet.