Healthy Travel Tips

 

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Everyone travels…whether it’s for business, pleasure, a much needed vacation or a spontaneous weekend away. At some point, we all depart from the comfort of our own homes. It could be a quick trip to the next town for a business conference or it could be a 3-month backpacking trip halfway around the world! No matter what type of travel it is, there is one thing that is certain; our normal routines get thrown out the window making it difficult to stay fit and healthy while traveling.

 

If you usually work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment or machines. If you usually take long adventurous runs in your neighborhood, suddenly you no longer have a familiar route to follow. If you usually prepare your own meals, you suddenly may not have access to a kitchen or fridge. Your regular sleep patterns are usually thrown off because from taking a red eye or landing in a different time zone. When we travel, nothing is familiar which again makes it difficult to have any sort of routine. But, stay positive! I have some great tips to keep you healthy and fit while on the road.

 

I am here to encourage you that you CAN make exercise and eating healthy part of your “travel routine,” but it just takes a little bit of planning ahead. I know it is difficult to plan oftentimes because much of it is out of your control when we are traveling. However, here are a few of the tips that I use when I travel:

 

IMG_2087_2Rule #1: Pack snacks for the airport/plane

Your flight might be delayed, or you might be sitting on the runway while something is being checked out… and when hunger calls, you need to answer. The food in the airport and on the plane is usually packed with added calories, preservatives, sodium and fat; which can pack on the pounds quickly if you travel regularly.

 

Snack ideas:

  • Raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc.) You can make your own trail mix by mixing 2-3 of these nuts with dried cranberries, raisins or figs. Eat about ¼ cup serving at a time.
  • Tosi super bites (with chia and flaxseeds – great source of anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid)
  • High fiber cereal (eat ½-1 cup, dry in a zip lock bag). Crunchy cereals that are high fiber, low sugar and contain some protein are a great option (i.e. Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Crunch, Kashi Heart to Heart, Nature’s Path Flax plus, etc.)
  • Turkey’s jerky, salmon jerky or beef jerky (I like the Trader Joe’s brands because they contain no nitrates, no preservatives, MSG, no artificial colors or ingredients).
  • Whole wheat pretzel thins
  • Kale chips (I highly recommend making your own if possible because many of the store options contain added cheese, salt and fat)
  • Dry packaged plain oatmeal (you can always add hot water to this in your hotel room and have it for breakfast or as a snack)
  • Portable fruit (if you’re able to fly with it) such as apple, pear, peach, banana, orange, pluot, tangerine, etc.
  • Granola/Protein Bar: Think thin, KIND Nuts and Spices, STRONG and KIND, Luna Protein, Lara bars, Go Macro bars, etc. These bars are lower in sugar, higher in protein, and lower in saturated fat (the unhealthy fat) then most of the other bars out there.

Rule #2: Stay hydrated! I recommend drinking at least a few glasses of water before traveling because the elevation and air pressure makes us dehydrated. Pure unsweetened coconut water is also great because it contains 4 times the amount of potassium that is in one banana and it will therefore hydrate you very quickly.

Rule #3: Get your rest! The 2-3 days BEFORE you leave for your trip are the most important hours of sleep that you can get. I know we don’t usually sleep well the night before leaving because we trying to finish everything for work, or pack and wake up thinking we might miss our alarm or might have forgotten something. Don’t worry…stay calm and get your rest! If you’re leaving on a Friday night, then Tuesday or Wednesday are the most important days of sleep for you.

Once you arrive at your destination, if you find that you do have a small refrigerator, I recommend stopping into your nearest convenience store to pick up a few of the snacks listed above and a few cold items such as part skim string cheese, nonfat plain Greek yogurt or nonfat plain cottage cheese, hummus and mixed veggies (carrots, chopped broccoli, cherry tomatoes or snap peas). These will be great snacks between meals to tie you over so you don’t allow yourself to get soooo starving to the point where you are at risk of overeating and becoming uncomfortably full when you dine out later in the day.

 

IMG_3684In regards to fitness, you don’t need a gym to workout. I recommend packing a few things in your suitcase that don’t take up much room. Here are a few of the items I suggest:

  • Jump rope
  • 15-20 pound resistance band
  • Stretching bands
  • …and of course a pair of your running/workout shoes and comfortable workout clothes!

You can design your own workouts and if you can get in 20-30 minutes of exercise, you will feel great, more energized and balanced! When I travel, I usually check out my surroundings and go on a short run near/around my hotel and then do some agility training exercises such as high knees, butt kicks, squat jumps, lunge jumps, jumping jacks, push ups and sit ups. I managed to get in some quality workouts and nutrition while I traveled to Cozumel in August this summer for my birthday. It was hot and humid but getting the blood pumping first thing in the morning was the perfect way to start my day. Here is a snap shot of me taken at the completion of my beach workout in Cozumel (August 2015).

 

IMG_3640I encourage you to plan ahead before your next trip. Knowing your surroundings and what will be available to you is half the battle. Stay conscious of your nutrition decisions and remember that if you have one “bad day” it’s okay! Treat yourself and enjoy it once in a while. It’s about the balance of eating right and exercising in the long run. Make nutrition and exercise part of your everyday lifestyle and your body will thank you!

 

To learn more about healthy eating and exercise routines, contact Courtney Sullivan, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition For Body and Mind. Find me on YELP.