Raise your hand if you feel your absolute best while traveling? Most likely you don’t. Or if you do feel good while traveling, it’s when you get home that you feel totally off. You know that feeling when you get home from a vacation and you feel like you need another “vacation” just to recoup?
One of the main reasons you don’t feel your best while traveling has to do with your nutrition. Whether you’re on vacation or traveling for work, it can be hard to make healthy choices. You’re out of your routine, eating out for most meals and have limited choices. This can have a huge impact on your skin, digestion, immune system, energy and sleep, which all play a role in how you look and feel.
In order to feel your best well traveling and minimize the need to recuperate once you get home, there are a few things you can do. Here are top tips for eating healthy while traveling from Registered Dietcian & Nutritionist Jessica Kelley!
How to eat healthy while traveling?
Shift your mindset
The worst thing you can do is stress. Shift your mindset to start thinking of your travel as just a few days you need to get through until you’re back in your normal routine. This doesn’t mean you throw in the towel and put aside your health. It just means that you give yourself grace during your travel.
Understand that you aren’t always going to be 100% in control of all your meals. Know your meals aren’t going to always be made with high-quality, grass-fed/pastured/wild caught proteins or organic fruits/veggies. Continue to tell yourself it’s okay and you’ll be back to your routine shortly. As much as you love being in control, the stress can just make you feel worse. Remember it’s not your everyday.
This may seem like just another thing to add to your list, but taking 30 minutes to plan out your trip may make your mind feel more at ease and body feel better while your there.
- Choose a hotel that has the amenities you desire. Some rooms have mini-fridges, toasters, etc. that you can use to your advantage. You may need to request these when you check in.
- Google juice bars, Whole Foods, grocery stores or healthy eating options in walking distance. You can also get meals delivered if you’re short on time using a meal delivery app or service.
Bring your food
I don’t mean you need to pack a suitcase full of food and never eat out. But, packing a few essentials and having snacks on hand in case you need them, allows you to feel a little more in control. This can be extremely helpful when your options are slim or you get in a pinch.
- Travel with a small cooler or insulated bag and make use of a hotel mini-fridge
- Bring snacks in your carry on and pack more food in your checked bag
WHAT TO BRING?
- Nuts, fruit, chia seeds or flax to top yogurt or make an agua fresca (helps keep you hydrated!), protein bars, nut butter packs, collagen packs, fruits and veggies, and gluten-free crackers, kale chips, plantain chips, etc.
- Bring your water bottle empty through security, then fill it up at the gate or buy a big bottle at the airport (hydration is 100% worth the cost!).
- Bring herbal tea and get hot water on the plane or at Starbucks. Starbucks has filtered water!
- Bring powdered greens that you can mix with water.
Hydration is so important! Planes can cause dehydration so make sure you are extra hydrated before you leave and drink a full large water bottle on the flight (even if this means you have to use the restroom). Continue to drink water throughout your trip. Aim for 80 oz per day.
Support Your Digestion
Digestion can be thrown off by stress, dehydration, atmospheric pressure, lack of routine, diet, etc. There are some ways to help prevent it and get rid of it quickly.
- Hydration – aim for 80 oz per day. Add lemon water, herbal teas and debloating/detoxifying teas like peppermint, dandelion, ginger.
- Digestive enzymes – since you know you’ll be eating out and not your typical routine, taking a digestive enzyme before your meals can help.
- Digestive bitters – these tinctures can be added to water to help relieve gas, bloating or other digestive issues.
- Fiber – this is essential for keeping things moving. Pack apples, bring chia seeds or flax to sprinkle on foods or add chia to water (you can even add chia seeds to almond milk you get from a coffee shop and let it sit for 10-20 minutes for chia pudding).
- Magnesium – magnesium supplements can be helpful when traveling. It can help control fluid retention and is great for traveling constipation.
Eating On The Go
Most airports have fresh fruits or vegetables (bananas, apples, etc.). Many airports even have more gourmet food stands with items such as individual portions of hummus, cut veggies, edamame and seaweed snacks, etc.
For meals, this is when locating healthy dining options is key. You can typically always find a salad with protein. You may need to remove some toppings or ask for modifications to make it fit your preference but that’s okay! Many of the chain restaurants offer a dish that is a simple piece of fish or chicken with veggies and rice.
These aren’t going to be the highest-quality but it can be better than nothing or eating a big portion of processed snacks that don’t fill you up.
Get Back on Track
As soon as you’re home, get right back in your normal routine. See what you could have done differently and make an effort to do better next time. You can’t avoid travel, but hopefully you can get in the habit of planning ahead and creating a routine that works for you while you’re on the go.
If you’re looking to plan to help you get back to feeling your best, try my 7-Day Real Food Reset. It’s a free, 7-day plan I’ve designed to get back to eating in a way that makes you feel amazing. You get a grocery list, meal prep guide, and delicious, healthy recipes. No restrictions!
Meet the Contributor,
Jessica Bippen, MS, RD is the founder of Nourished by Nutrition, where she shares delicious healthy recipes, science-based nutrition information and lifestyle wellness. She’s made it her mission to help women uncover their forever wellness by focusing on valuing the journey of your life and knowing that a one-size-fits-all method won’t fit every season of life.