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How to eat healthy while traveling this summer
SUMMER is the perfect time of year for road trips, hotel stays and lazy days. It’s also the time of year when it can feel easier than ever to ditch healthy eating and let your routine slide.
But with the following tips in mind, you won’t have to – this article is all about how to eat healthy while traveling this summer!
Going on vacay, traveling for work, or simply going out for a bite to eat with a friend, all have the potential to mess with the effort you’ve been putting in and the results you see when it comes to healthy eating.
But they don’t have to.
The tips I share here can be used to help keep you on track, no matter if you’re enjoying a holiday, traveling for work, or going out with the fam or friends.
The #1 thing I try to keep in mind is the 80/20 rule, which says that if you’re eating well 80% of the time, you don't have to worry too much about the other 20%... and more importantly, life’s too short not to enjoy cake!
That said, here are some tips that will make healthy eating while traveling that much easier.
What to Do Before You Start Your Trip
It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving home for a day, a week or longer. Here are 3 ways to check in with yourself before you leave that will make your choices around healthy eating a breeze this summer:
1) Ask yourself: Am I going to stick to my healthy eating habits or take a break while I’m gone? Either way is great as long as you make a conscious choice.
2) Decide what your minimums are. For example, will you:
• Have a side of steamed veggies with at least one meal every day?
• Eat 2 pieces of fruit a day?
• Order a salad before each meal?
• Drink a minimum of 2 liters of water a day?
3) Aim for Better instead of Perfect choices. This will help you avoid the Screw It! mentality that would otherwise have you thinking “Oh well, I’ve already messed up, so why bother with any more healthy eating this week?!”
Instead, go to the Gelateria, and have 1 scoop instead of 3. Or choose sorbet instead of the Nutella ice-cream.
Go to the pizzeria and share a “Veggie” pizza or ask your waiter to wrap up half and have it on the beach the next day. Life is definitely too short not to enjoy yourself on vacay!
How to Eat Healthy On Route to Your Destination
Road Trip doesn’t have to scream “Pothole!” for your healthy eating routine. No matter you’re on the road, or in a plane or train, you CAN stick to healthy eating this summer.
Here’s how to get to your next destination this summer feeling GOOD:
1) First up, ask yourself: Do I need to eat on this trip? Remember, hunger is not an emergency, and if the trip time is not very long, free up your headspace by simply deciding not to eat.
2) If you do need to eat on your way, understand that: Your gut is usually happiest with the healthy foods it’s familiar with. So think about what you do well with and pack up a little cooler bag for when it comes time to eat on route to your destination. Things such as:
• Healthy leftovers
• Fruits that travel well e.g., apples and oranges
• Veggie sticks and hummus
• Raw nuts
• Peeled hard-boiled eggs
• Sushi snacks
• Tuna in a pouch
• Greek yoghurt
• Kombucha drinks can help ease car sickness and keep you feeling energised
3) Flying and don’t want to carry around a bag of food? Find out if your airline allows you to pre-order a meal of choice. Many do so these days, accommodating dietary preferences such as Gluten-free, Low-Carb, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, etc.
4) When your travel plans make it necessary to eat at an airport or train station. This is not the time for making “location” the reason for poor choices:
• Breakfast time? Head for a Juice Bar or a place that will make you a fresh juice of smoothie. No, that doesn’t read Hash Browns or Dunkin’ Donuts ;-)
• Lunch or Dinner time? Check out your Mexican possibilities – a high protein burrito bowl, without cheese, will hit the healthy heaven spot in no time. Or check-out food places like Starbucks, Pret a Manger, or Eat for their healthy bistro boxes, grazing pots, and yummy salads.
5) Above all else, make water your best friend!
How to Stick to Healthy Eating While Staying in a Hotel
Whether it’s for work or play, staying in a hotel doesn’t have to mean healthy eating goes on vacay. Try these strategies the next time you book a few nights away:
1) Clear out the Mini-Bar – and by that, I don’t mean into your mouth Put the mini Bourbans and Toblerone into the safe if you have to, and restock the mini-bar with your own healthy snacks and drinks you’ve bought locally.
2) Use the Coffee Maker for Eggs & Oatmeal. Yep, seriously. Pack your own single-serve sugar-free packets, or even hard-boil your own eggs in the coffee maker pitcher, instead of hitting up room-service menu for French Toast.
3) Don’t skip breakfast. If breakfast is included in your hotel stay, make the most of it instead of thinking skipping it is a good idea. It usually never is as this will have you more likely to give into cravings later in the day. So hit up the buffet. Just ensure it’s with bowls of fruit and scrambled eggs, hold the buttery toast!
4) Book a Kitchenette. If you’re staying more than a couple of days somewhere, this can become a good option for sticking to your healthy eating routine that much easier.
How to Eat Healthy AND Enjoy Eating Out
Sticking to a healthy way of eating doesn’t mean you have to avoid restaurants while traveling, or say no to plans with friends or work colleagues. Here are 5 tips to help you eat healthy while eating out:
1) When traveling, ask the locals for suggestions. Let’s face it, most people LOVE sharing about their own town. So ask them for farm-to-table restaurants or their vegetarian favourites.
2) Ask for Subs. Lots of restaurants are happy to be flexible when it comes to making their customers happy. So get comfortable asking the kitchen to “substitute” in a salad or plate of steamed veg instead of the fries. Or ask for meat or fish to be grilled instead of fried.
Smart subs are easy to make and can significantly impact the effect of what you eat.
3) Ask the waiter to box up half your meal. Depending on where you’re traveling, main meal portion sizes could feed a small family. If that’s where you are this summer, ask the waiter to do this for you “before they bring you your food so you won’t be tempted to clean your plate or over-eat.
This is a smart way of not having to skip past your favourite meal on the menu AND having a meal ready for tomorrow!
4) Don’t play the “I won’t eat anything all day so I can eat whatever I want tonight” trick. You and I both know this doesn’t work and or if you can manage it, you’ll simply turn up HANGRY later, ready to eat everything on the menu!
One of the best ways to prevent overindulging while on vacay is to eat as you usually would during the day, and not saving yourself for later.
5) Pro-tip for preventing collateral damage: Carry a small pill box of activated charcoal with you to take when you know you'll be drinking a little more alcohol than you normally would, or you might be eating food of dubious quality (e.g. conventionally-raised meat, or possibly genetically modified foods).
Don’t Worry, Be Happy = THE Bonus Tip for How to Eat Healthy While Traveling This Summer
Above all else, this one sweet life we have is to be enjoyed and lived fully. Without regrets or too much stress. In fact, stress is often the reason for digestive discomfort or not quite reaching your health goals.
We could be eating the most nutritionally dense, just-picked, organic food, but when we stress out over what or how we’re eating, we suppress our immune system and ability to digest our food with ease.
So remember to ease up, especially when you’re on holiday, breathe deeply, give thanks for where you are, and enjoy every bite!
Happy Summer Everyone!