Traveling for work or leisure can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet. The abnormal schedules of travel itineraries and the abundance of unhealthy food options make it difficult to eat well. It can also be hard to maintain a regular exercise routine while out of town. However, with a little pre-planning and intentionality, you can enjoy your trip without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle. Here are several ways to stick to your nutrition goals while on the road.
1. Plan Ahead for Travel Time
Whether you're driving or flying, the actual time spent traveling is one of the biggest challenges for healthy eating. If you don't bring food with you, there's a far greater chance you'll settle for fast food or some other unhealthy option. Rather than getting your trip off to a rocky start with a poor diet, bring snacks with you. Choose high-protein items such as energy bars or nuts, and remember to drink lots of water.
2. Do Some Research
Take a little time to learn about the location to which you are traveling. If you'll be arriving around meal time, locate a restaurant on the healthier side of the spectrum so you'll know exactly where to go. You won't have to settle for the first fast food chain you see or make a meal out of gas station snacks. You can also learn if there are places nearby to run, or if your hotel has a gym so you can maintain an exercise routine.
3. Take Your Vitamins
If you regularly take vitamins or supplements, it's important to bring them with you so your body continues having the nutrients it needs. You may want to consider adding a couple additional supplements, such as an immune booster or even a sleep aid to help you beat jet lag.
4. Supercharge Your Coffee
Don't just count on the caffeine in your morning java to get you ready for the day. Make your coffee work overtime and help fight junk food cravings by adding some protein powder. You'll feel full for longer and give your body more than just a caffeine stimulant to help you get through the morning hours.
5. Drink Responsibly
It can be tempting to overindulge at the bar (or mini-bar), especially when you're on vacation. However, drinking to excess leads to numerous problems and overloads your system with tons of "useless" calories. If you're traveling for business, it's extremely important to be responsible and avoid poor decisions or disciplinary action. When you're out to dinner or enjoying a drink with friends follow some basic rules. Don't drink on an empty stomach, choose beverages to sip slowly rather than doing shots, and remember to drink water to stay hydrated.
6. Find Alternatives to Restaurant Food
If your trip is longer than a few days, it can be very taxing to your system to eat restaurant food constantly for that long. Try fixing yourself a few meals from nutritious ingredients. This is especially easy if your room has a mini fridge. You can stop by a supermarket and get some fruits, veggies and sandwich fixings for an easy lunch or dinner. Choose good-quality meat and cheese, as well as healthy condiments from Hampton Creek. You may even find a natural foods store that has a make-your-own salad bar.
7. Enjoy Treats in Moderation
You don't want to spend your entire trip constantly obsessing about what you're eating. Balance is an important aspect of both diet and mental health, so allow yourself a few treats during your trip. Once you give yourself permission to enjoy a local delicacy or decadent dessert, you can eliminate feelings of guilt. You're also less likely to overindulge on a whim if you've already planned on enjoying a treat in certain situations.
Traveling can be one of the most fun adventures in life, especially when you're able to maintain a nutritious diet. Eating the right foods while you're on vacation or a business trip helps you feel your best and reduces the chances you'll get sick or gain weight. Proper hydration and nutrition are essential, along with moderating alcohol intake and fast food. You can take a break from restaurant food by making a few meals at your hotel with good ingredients from local markets.
A little pre-planning makes it easy to stick to your healthy diet while traveling.