Whether you are going on vacation with your best friends, heading to the city for a weekend stay, or you are going on a business trip, your diet is likely going to suffer when you travel. Between grabbing quick food on the go, trying the local cuisine, and having an “I’m on vacation and so I can eat whatever I want” mentality, you are going to go home with a few extra pounds that you probably don’t want.
While you shouldn’t restrict yourself from everything, you do need to find balance. If you are going to be doing a lot of walking, hiking, and swimming, you may be able to up your caloric intake. If you are going to be doing a lot of tour busses, business meetings, theater sitting, or napping on the beach, you need to watch it.
Here are some foolproof ways to eat healthy while traveling, wherever you are going:
You need to plan a little bit to be able to eat when traveling. Depending on how you are traveling, you may want to pack up on foods for the journey. If you take a road trip, you can fill your bag with everything healthy so that the appeal of a gas station hot dog doesn’t tempt you. Grab things like beef jerky, nuts, healthy bars, and whole fruit. If you can’t bring food with you onto the plane, train, or bus, then try to buy those things where you can. They’ll probably be a bit more expensive, but it will be worth it. Wait until you get to your destination before you purchase foods. You will want to eat every few hours to keep your metabolism working, so you’ll need to have a protein bar or a handful of nuts every now and again.
In the end, look for foods that are nutrient dense and will keep you fuller for longer.
When you get to your destination, you will want to plan for where you can eat. Use the internet to find restaurants that have healthy options or plan to cook your own meals. Download apps like Yelp AroundME so that you can find things on the go for a road trip.
Pack Certain Foods
Even if you can’t pack a lot of food, there are still some things that you can pack into your suitcase. Buy yourself a few supplements and some protein powder to amp up the foods that you will eat. There are plenty of green powders out there that will ensure your morning smoothie will keep you energized throughout a day of meetings or beach volleyball. You can bring supplements as well to keep your body in check – like melatonin for sleeping, vitamins to make up for what you’re lacking, and even something to amp up your fat burning.
Most importantly, bring yourself some high quality protein powder. Buy vanilla or plain flavored, and you can add it to almost anything – your coffee, your oatmeal, a smoothie, or even sprinkled on ice cream if you want to cheat.
The most important thing you can pack is something very simple, however: a reusable water bottle. Now, of course if you go to certain parts of the world you will only want to drink bottled water. However, most places have a perfectly fine tap water system so that you can fill up your bottle while on the go. Drink at least eight ounces of water every hour to keep yourself hydrated and more if you are sweating a lot – and even more if the resort you are staying at has included alcohol. Keeping hydrated will flush toxins from your body much more quickly and will help you feel fuller.
Avoid Problem Foods
Of course there are going to be temptations when you are traveling, that is to be expected. Whether you are at the beach or a business dinner, avoid drinking more than one or two low calorie drinks. Keep your drinking to something simple that doesn’t have too many sugary mixers. Know that if you drink more, you are also likely to eat more, which will just double up on calories very quickly. Remember to always go for quality over quantity with alcohol as well.
Eating while traveling gives you the option for many problem foods that you wouldn’t buy for yourself – so stick with your convictions. If you wouldn’t buy it or eat it regularly, do not eat it while on vacation if you can avoid it. For example, eating tons of processed foods while on a flight can make the rest of your vacation a bit sickly.
Avoiding problem foods also means avoiding problem scenarios. If you are in Vegas, buffets are everywhere. How can we not overeat when at a buffet – especially with those prices? If your friends want to go to the buffet or you don’t have an option, do your best to only pick out the foods that will work with your body. Create the best salad you possibly can. Always choose lean meats. Vegetables should be your best friend. Avoid fried foods, pastas, or things absolutely dripping in sauce.
Allow Yourself Some Cheat Space
Of course you are allowed to cheat a little bit while you are on the road, but stick to one item per day. If you are in New York, eat a piece of Junior’s Cheesecake or a cookie from Schmackary’s, but don’t get both. If you want to drink a high calorie drink while sitting poolside, don’t also get the chocolate chip pancakes. If you know you are going to drink a few beers while at the bar, stay healthy the rest of the day. Remember that even on vacation, moderation is extremely important.
When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do. Remember that wherever you go on vacation, people live there as well and they don’t gorge themselves on the food. Think about how someone from Italy or Ireland or the Bahamas would eat and try to emulate it. You want to explore local cuisine and have a great experience, but not at the risk of your health.