Airplane (or Car Travel) – Most airport food is generally pretty bad (especially at Logan), so bring your own delicious food and snacks. On my last flight to LA, I packed small bags of roasted sweet potatoes, protein pancakes, carrot sticks, apple slices, grilled chicken and a PB&B sandwich. Ok, that might seem like a lot, but it’s about 9 hours of travel time. Plus, I was flying JetBlue and they walk around with the basket of chips and cookies the whole time. Guess what? I had zero desire to reach my hand in for a bag of cookies (a peanut butter and banana sandwich is kind of like a dessert, right?).
Here are a few other ideas of food that travels well (bring a small cooler that fits in your carry on or a big cooler if you’re traveling by car):
- Cut-up veggies (carrot, celery, string beans, cucumbers – what ever is your favorite)
- Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, etc.
- Hard-boiled eggs or egg muffins
- Hummus or nut butters
- Pancakes, yogurt, cheese sticks
- Homemade trail mix, mixed nuts, kale chips
- Sandwiches – PB&B, Chicken sandwich, etc.
- Pack a regular dinner
You’ll feel so much better if you eat “real food” then if fill up on chips and bars. If you can’t bring yourself to pack a sandwich then look up your food options in the airport terminals. You’ll make much better decisions and feel more satisfied if you plan ahead!
Always eat a good Breakfast – Breakfast sets the stage for the rest of the day. Even if you’re staying in a hotel, you can have a decent breakfast. You don’t have to eat every meal out. Pack a Blender Bottle and have a protein shake and some fruit. If you’re eating all three meals outside the hotel, then stick to something healthy. Go for something similar to what you would have at home—hard-boiled eggs and multigrain bread, oatmeal (hold the dried fruit and brown sugar), or an egg white omelet loaded with veggies (see if they can go light on the oils). Just skip the bagels, cinnamon buns, and donuts – you get my point.
Stay Hydrated – make sure you’re drinking enough water (at least 8 cups a day). Drink more if you’re flying! If you’re staying at a hotel, the first thing you should do when you get to your room is make sure you have enough water. Or bring your re-useable water bottle with you.
Mindful Meal – This is a great opportunity to slow down and eat to 80% fullness at EVERY meal. If you’re on vacation, hopefully you’re not in a rush and you can enjoy the company of the people you’re with, so put your fork down between bites and enjoy the taste and texture of the food you’re eating. Try to eat outside if it’s possible!
Prioritize your indulgence – You’ve heard this one before, but it’s important. If you’re going to indulge at dinner, then order a salad for lunch—use olive oil and lemon for the dressing. If you want a burger, then skip the bun and fries and ask for a side salad. Decide if you want the unhealthy meal, a cocktail, or the dessert; but don’t pick all 3, and certainly don’t indulge at every meal. Try to eat healthy and pick the indulgence you want the most!
Cocktails – Stick with sparkling water at lunch. When it comes to ordering cocktails, avoid the sugary drinks and reach for a light bottle of beer (100 calories) or a 5-ounce glass of wine (120 calories). Vodka, rum, and tequila are around 100 calories per 1.5 oz. shot. Get soda water over tonic water. Soda water has zero calories and tonic water has 80 calories, crazy right? Avoid the juice – most likely it will add another 60 calories.
Exercise – try to exercise everyday. When you consume restaurant food you are consuming a lot more calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Move your body in some way; use the hotel gym, bike, hike, or walk the city.
Staying in a hotel – Call ahead and ask if they have a refrigerator in the room. If they don’t, sometimes they’ll add one. If you’re driving, bring a cooler and use the hotel’s ice to keep it cool.
Healthy Snacks – bring healthy snacks or call ahead to see if there is a market near your hotel. Bring snacks you like and commit to eating them (don’t raid the mini-bar). If you’re bringing protein bars make sure you look at the labels, and try to find ones with few ingredients—less than 5 grams of sugar; and make sure you can pronounce all the ingredients—if you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
Meal planning – You do meal planning at home, so why wouldn’t you do it when you’re traveling? Find the healthier restaurants near your hotel and look at the menu before arriving at the restaurant to map out your meal.
Recovery – If you’re traveling for pleasure or work, then most likely you will indulge a little. That’s ok; if you made good choices and enjoyed it then don’t feel guilty! Just be ready to get things right back on track when you get home. Try to have some healthy food in your fridge or freezer for the day you return. Sometimes it takes people a few days to get back on track because they don’t think past the trip. When planning for your trip, make sure you include your recovery day—this way you’ll have healthy options available until you have time to get to the grocery store. Have some frozen soup or frozen vegetables on hand to make a stir-fry. Onions, carrots, potatoes, winter squashes, apples, and eggs can keep for a long time, so they are good to have in the house to make a healthy meal the day you get home.
No Guilt Zone – In the end, give yourself a break. Vacations aren’t the time to be on your best behavior. Please – NO GUILT! If you’re traveling for pleasure, this is your time to unwind from your everyday routine and enjoy the place you’re visiting and people you’re with. Don’t get wrapped up in eating perfectly. If you have chocolate cake, savor every bite; order champagne at lunch, then cheers to you; miss the morning run because you stayed up all night dancing, then don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world; I promise it won’t derail all of your progress, and the memories will be worth it!
To Your Amazing Health,
* This information should not be seen as medical advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing a licensed health professional. You should discuss any dietary supplement use and should not discontinue any prescription medication without first consulting your doctor.