Raise your hand if you’ve ever come back from a weekend away feeling less than great. Whether you’re traveling somewhere close by or far away, it can feel really tough to stick to your health goals. Between not so great food choices (hello fast food, gas stations, and airport eats), pushy family members, or just a lack of control over when and where you’ll be eating, it can be tempting to just say “screw it” during travel time, and vow to get back to your regular routine once you’re at home.
But here’s the thing – for a lot of us, travel (and sometimes just weekends in general) can add up to a significant chunk of time. There’s weddings, holidays, road trips, and reunions – now more than ever after a year plus spent indoors without seeing our loved ones. If you aren’t careful, you can end up taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, constantly left wondering why you aren’t reaching your goals.
Now don’t worry, we aren’t here to tell you that you can’t have a piece of wedding cake or a serving of your grandmother’s famous mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. You should absolutely enjoy yourself, and food can still be a part of that – that’s what travel is all about, right? But in order to stay on track with your goals, it’s helpful to control the controllables. Meaning: plan ahead and pack some healthy options so that even on days when you may be indulging more than usual, you can still have a solid breakfast option, or a veggie with your snack, or drink plenty of water, or move your body in a way that feels good to you. You get the idea – small changes to make travel time still align with your goals.
Here are some tried and true travel tips that you can follow next time you set off on your next adventure.
01 – Make a snack bag for the road or plane. Here are some of our favorites:
- Crunchy roasted chickpeas (we like Biena and Saffron Road)
- Homemade trail mix (nuts + dried fruit + coconut flakes)
- Dried edamame
- Portable fruit (think clementines, bananas, apples, pears)
- Jerky (we like The New Primal and Chomps)
- Avocado (bring whole and use a plastic knife to slice) + rice cakes
- Nut butter packets (Artisana is a great brand with the only ingredient being nuts)
- Protein bars (Elemental Superfoods and Raw Crunch are favorites, or RX bars are a good choice that are widely available)
Check out this post for some more of our favorite portable snacks!
02 – Look up menus ahead of time.
If you know where you’re going, try to take a peek at the menu. If you want something indulgent, go for it! But is there a salad or steamed vegetable side you can add to balance the meal? The goal here is to make your choice consciously.
03 – At restaurants, pick one of three: bread (or chip) basket, alcohol, dessert.
We often end up over doing it on all three of these without even realizing it. Pick whichever one sounds the most delicious to you and enjoy it!
04 – Include protein and produce at breakfast and limit the added sugars (granola, cereals, pastries, etc.).
With a solid breakfast on board, you’re setting yourself up to make better choices throughout the day. Even if you’re stuck with a conference center breakfast or diner food, you can usually include protein and produce. Examples might look like: hard boiled eggs + a bowl of melon, banana + nut butter, vegetable omelet, Greek yogurt + berries, or scrambled eggs + avocado.
05 – Move your body!
This might be walking to your concourse at the airport instead of taking the shuttle or 15 minutes of yoga in your hotel room before a long day of meetings. It might not be a full 45 minute workout, but every bit counts.
06 – Drink enough water.
We’re talking a minimum of 8 cups per day. For a more individualized recommendation, divide your body weight in half – that’s how many ounces you should be aiming for. This helps with energy levels, cravings, bowel regularity, and mood.
07 – Last but not least, have some grace with yourself.
One meal, or even multiple meals, is not going to make or break your health. You deserve to enjoy your life AND support your health – the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive.