Eating Healthy while Travelling this Summer
t’s that time of year again for most of us.
The sun is shining. School is out for the summer and it’s holiday season. It’s time to take a break, kick back, and enjoy time with family and friends wherever they may be.
For some of us, this may mean a staycation or the odd day trip close to home. For others, this may mean a road-trip or flight to a destination far away.
But regardless of what travel plans you may have in store, travelling can be a terrifying ordeal.
For those of us who try to eat healthy all year and stick to a clean diet, going on vacation can be a challenge, and down right daunting. It’s easy to abandon all good intentions, throw caution to the wind, and eat whatever is presented to you. Usually, this messes up your digestion and you return home feeling heavy, bloated, and tired - the exact opposite of your original intentions!
Even still, this may work for some people. They can eat clean all year long and consciously splurge once in a while. Upon their return, these people are typically able to get back on track quickly, returning to their familiar, healthy routines without issue.
For others, splurging for a week or two may mean a return to old bad habits. This can make it much harder to go back to healthy eating when vacation time is over. It’s also a prime opportunity to gain back any weight that may have been lost.
Yet for others who struggle with a medical issue that is controlled by diet, thinking about taking a vacation can become a nightmare. In fact, eating the wrong foods away from home and having to deal with the unpleasant or even dangerous side effects may discourage these people from venturing away from home in the first place.
So what’s one to do?
It’s unrealistic to stay home every day of they year. We all need time to get away, to relax and recharge our batteries. Besides, travelling can be fun, exciting, and enjoyable, providing the opportunity to explore parts of your home country or a foreign land.
This week, I’ll give you my top 9 travel tips to maintain healthy eating habits while having fun on vacation, wherever that may take you!
Travel Tips for Healthy Eating [H2]
1. Plan Ahead - Planning ahead is my number one rule when travelling takes me away from home and my regular routine. Search the area you are going (I like using map searches so I can see what’s close to my hotel) and locate all restaurants around where you will be. Look at their menus and the reviews from other patrons. If you need gluten-free options, search for “gluten free…(insert name of city where you are going)”. Go down the list, looking at pictures and menus to find some places that will meet your needs. Write them down or bookmark them, but planning ahead to discover where you can get healthy food that meets your needs is important.
2. Make reservations - Once you have found some good restaurant options, pick the one that has the greatest selection of food options for you, or the place with a dish you simply must try, and make a reservation. Even if it’s a month or two in advance, being proactive takes the guess work out of where (and what) you will eat while away.
3. Bring and eat extra protein - Though it’s unlikely you can pack your favourite tub of protein powder, most companies make individual packets that you can easily bring with you. If not, prepare individual servings in separate baggies. Mix one with almond milk or water in the morning to sustain you, or drink one in the middle of the day for a satisfying snack. Extra protein can keep you feeling full longer and balance your blood sugar levels to prevent you from giving in to the sugary contraband around every corner.
4. Know your limitations - If you don’t eat nightshades due to arthritis, but know you can have half a tomato and still feel fine, then limit yourself to only half a tomato. Know and respect your limitations. Don’t over do it to the point where you feel sick. It’s just not worth it.
5. Bring healthy snacks - I bring healthy foods and snacks with me everywhere I go. If I’m out and don’t see any good food options around, at least I know I won’t go hungry. Bringing healthy portable snacks like individually wrapped bars, nuts, fruit, or protein powder that can be added to water can be a lifesaver. This is especially true if you are travelling by car. Pre-packaged foods don’t take up a lot of car space, but knowing you have healthy food options nearby can prevent you from stopping at the street corner for a hot dog.
6. Have a back-up plan - In case you find yourself in another part of the city or with a group who opts to eat at a restaurant that was not on your “safe” list, have a strategy or back up plan. Most restaurants are very accommodating to dietary restrictions, so speak up. Have some food options in mind that you can get anywhere. My stand-by is a salad with oil and vinegar on the side with grilled protein of your choice. Every restaurant serves salad, vegetables, and various options for protein. Create your own off-menu meal if you have to, just don’t give in to the greasy fried foods that others may be ordering around you.
7. Enjoy yourself - This can be a challenge if you remain rigid and fixed in your food plan. Know that you will probably not be able to eat perfectly every day while you are away. Please be okay with that. Allow yourself some grace and don’t beat yourself up if you do stray. We are all human and sometimes make poor choices. Should this happen while on vacation, accept it and move on.
8. One cheat does not mean “game over” - If you do splurge or eat something you normally wouldn’t, acknowledge that it happened but do not make it an excuse to throw your entire clean eating plan out the window. One cup of gelato should be enjoyed without guilt, but should not turn into 5 cups or derail your good intentions for good.
9. Drink lots of water - Staying hydrated can help keep you regular and fill the void until you can locate an appropriate place to eat. Keeping a full water bottle around may also tide you over until your next meal or snack. And if nothing appropriate happens to be around, water can help temporarily fill you. Plus, it’s essential for overall good health. So if nothing else you eat on vacation is healthy, at least you’ll be done one thing right!
Eating healthy while travelling, whether for business or pleasure, is easier than you may think. It does require a little extra work and preparation, but the time you take to be well prepared for your journey will save you from worry, headache (and stomach ache) while you are away.
As always, I welcome your feedback. I’d love to hear your tips for healthy travel this summer. Comment below or email me with your favourite ways to eat healthy away from home. I look forward to hearing from you.
Happy, safe travels!