Tips for a Healthy Trip
Summertime brings lots opportunities to get out of town; spending time with loved ones, living it up at the beach or an amusement park, or just enjoying some cooler weather. With that, it’s common to let your goals take a backseat — but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can have a great time on your trip while still making progress (or at the very least, not regressing) by keeping just a few key principles in mind.
Below are a handful of tips for you; by no means do you need to do all of them, but pick and choose a few to stick to on your vacation based on what seems like it’ll work for you. And, if you aren’t headed out of town soon, bookmark this post to revisit later as a reminder. :)
Keep these things in mind when traveling:
Before you get to your destination, look up the area and see if any grocery stores are near where you’re staying. As soon as you arrive, swinging by the market and grabbing a few healthy options to keep in your room helps you have quality choices on hand at all times.
Similarly, beforehand look up some good restaurant options. A service like Yelp will allow you to filter nearby restaurants by price and cuisine, and then you’ll have go-to places to suggest when the opportunity comes up.
Incorporate lots of movement! Walk as much as possible, and even squeeze in short workouts where you can. Something is better than nothing, and getting your heart rate up even a little bit each day will promote higher energy, better sleep and a positive mood.
If you’re going somewhere sunny, don’t forget to pack the sunscreen; and make sure it’s free of harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone. For a list of chemical-free sunscreens click here, and for EWG’s report on chemicals commonly found in sunscreen, click here.
Make sure you're drinking lots of water (not just because it's healthy — keeps you fuller, and combats some of the bloat associated with sodium/eating out/drinking). Bringing a Hydro Flask is a great way to always have a water bottle with you (most restaurants will fill it up for you!), that also is nearly indestructible and keeps your water cold.
When eating out:
Once you feel satisfied, put your napkin on your plate or push your plate away. This may sound silly, but you're far less likely to then remove the napkin/pull the plate back to continue eating socially/because you're bored, when you're already satisfied and don't need to.
Eat slow! Chew your food, and set your fork down in between bites. This helps you know when you're full, too.
Try to always get a veggie when eating out; a real, hearty veggie would be better than a salad, but something is better than nothing!
Opt for baked or roasted anything, and skip marinated, fried, crusted and sautéed when possible; often if you ask the waiter, they can offer you a baked/roasted option instead of what's listed on the menu. Don't be afraid to ask — I know sometimes we don't want to feel like a pain, but the waiter is there to help and as long as you're nice, you're not bugging anyone!
If your meal comes with something you know isn't ideal (garlic bread, for example) just ask for it without; better to not have to force yourself to see it on your plate and try to refrain.
If you get a salad, skip the cheese, tortilla strips/croutons, and always get dressing on the side.
If you know where you're going to eat, look up the menu ahead of time. It's a lot easier to pick a mindful choice when you're not super hungry, and the food isn't in front of you to tempt you. Then when you get there, you'll be ready with a plan instead of having to execute will-power.
One of my favorite ways to pick what to order is by "eliminating" options. With menus that are so diverse, it can be overwhelming to look at each option and weigh back and forth what's best for you, what sounds good, what you really want, what everyone else is getting, and so on — talk about decision overload! Try picking a central ingredient that you know is aligned with your goals (veggies for example, or chicken!), and then only look for the items on the menu that contain that ingredient. Now, you've narrowed your choices and don't have to spend as much time/energy figuring out what to get.
If you’re trying to track your meal when out to eat, just snap a picture of it real quick and track if after! That way you don't feel like the odd one at the table trying to estimate portions before eating your meal, and you can be really thoughtful with your guesstimating and tracking afterward.
If you can, pre-eat before you go out — having a banana, apple, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, RX bar, nuts, or something like that before you head to dinner will help you not have to order as much/eat as much at the place that's harder to track and easier to indulge. You can often find healthy snacks like that at a nearby Starbucks, hotel market or gas station.
Having healthier options available is key, and it helps prevent you from having to made do with what’s available to you when you get really hungry (layovers, long stretches on the road, etc.). Here’s a few things you could pack and bring with you:
Protein powder and shaker bottle
Peanut butter/almond butter packets
Bars (Lara bars, RX bars)
When you get there, at a local gas station, grocery store or hotel market (and even sometimes Starbucks) you could grab:
Nonfat Greek yogurt
Sliced deli turkey
Mini bell peppers/sliced bell peppers
Hard boiled eggs
And most importantly, travel safe and have fun! Use traveling as an opportunity to break away from the normal routine and enjoy yourself, but don’t use it as an excuse to become a totally different person who doesn’t care about their health, goals, or quality of life. :)