I’m leaving for a two-week vacation in just a few days, which is going to involve many long hours in an airport, on a plane, in a car and then finally in paradise. Although I do plan on indulging in many of the delicious ‘unhealthy’ foods that the places I’m going to have to offer, I want to stay away from high salt and high sugar meals while I’m travelling there. Unlike the last time, where I stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee and doughnuts, then McDonald’s for a burger, fries and a milkshake, all within a span of a few hours. Eating junk makes you feel like junk, especially when you plan on spending the next few weeks in a swimsuit. Here are a few of my tips for staying healthy while on the road:
Healthy Eating Starts Where You Stop
Just because you’re travelling doesn’t mean you have to eat foods that will leave you feeling depleted, bloated, and tired. If you’re on the road and stop at a fast-food joint, your food choices will be limited to fast food. But if you stop at a grocery store that offers whole or healthy foods—fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus—or a grocery store that features a salad bar, you quickly expand your choices (and reduce junk-food temptations).
Eat Frequently, But In Smaller Amounts
Eating small amounts of healthy food throughout the day sends a signal to your brain that the food supply is plentiful, so it’s OK to burn those calories quickly.
Limiting your calorie load to a single sitting also gives you lots of energy. Eating too many calories in one meal—even if they’re healthy calories—sends your brain the message that tough times must be around the corner so those calories will get stored as fat. Eating too much at one sitting can also make you sluggish and sleepy.
Eat Lots Of Protein
Eating the right amount of complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids your body needs) for your weight and activity level stabilizes blood sugar (preventing energy lags), enhances concentration, and keeps you lean and strong.
If you need energy for a long hike, a long drive, or a day at the beach, fuel your body with high-quality, lean protein. I always carry a few different protein bars around with me where ever I go. Pack a few extra with you, if you plan on leaving home for a few days.
Pack Snacks So Your Not Skipping Meals
Often when we’re travelling, we don’t have access to food at regular intervals. Or worse, we skip meals so we can have extra dessert later. The problem is your body responds as if it’s facing a food shortage and your metabolism slows way down to prevent you from starving.
To keep your mind and body running at its peak, pack healthy snacks in your car or backpack. Examples are nuts, raw vegetables and hummus, berries, fresh and dried fruit, granola bars and protein bars.
Avoid “Feel Bad” Foods
You know what these are: They’re foods you crave, but leave you feeling sick or depleted after you eat them. When you’re on the road, it’s particularly essential to avoid foods that drain your energy and deflate your mood.
Foods to avoid are: (1) simple carbohydrates or high glycemic foods, such as fruit juices, sodas, refined grain products, or sugary snacks (my precious donuts are in this category)(2) anything deep-fried (3) nonfat desserts and sweeteners, which are loaded with chemicals that your body can’t easily metabolize (4) anything partially hydrogenated (this includes nondairy creamer, margarine, and most packaged baked goods)
Drink LOTS Of Water
Yes, water is a food. The body needs water for virtually all of its functions. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body of toxins, keep your skin fresh, and help you eat less. It will also help you avoid travel lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and junk-food cravings.