15 Awesome Nutrition Tips for Traveling (And Still Feel Like You're Having Fun)
Traveling (with all of it's awesome experiences) comes with a slew of challenges that can throw your body a little off kilter. Changing time zones, eating at weird times, and sleep deprivation can all put stress on your immune system. For these reasons, nutrition when you travel is very important. I put together a list of my favorite tips that I try to follow when I'm traveling.
I'm going to be honest, I love to eat!! I definitely consider myself a "foodie". I'm a pretty adventurous eater and love trying new cuisines and crazy things I've never had before! So, how do you stay on track with your nutrition but also still enjoy your vacation? The key is balance.
Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor or Registered Dietician. These are general tips that have worked well for me, personally, as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. You should always consult with your doctor or physician about any specific dietary concerns.
1. Eat Slowly
I love trying new cuisines when I'm traveling! That's part of the experience! If you eat slowly and really savor each delicious bite, then you will start to recognize when you're body is becoming full. Stop eating before you're completely stuffed.
2. Stay Active
After each meal, (if you're not about to go do something active) at least go for a brisk walk. Chances are you will be exploring your destination! My favorite way is on foot. I always feel much better if I go for a walk after I eat than if I just sit around!
3. Split Entrees or Other Portions
If you're not starving, split an entree, appetizer or salad with your travel partner. You'll probably be surprised how quickly you'll get full.
4. Have a Healthy Breakfast
I love Breakfast! If you know you're going to splurge on a meal for dinner that night, try to have a nutritious breakfast. I loved our breakfast in Greece which included Muesli (healthy grain), Greek Yogurt (protein), a big plate of fruit (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants). It got us ready for a full day of hiking! Yes, we also had pancakes (hey it's vacay!), but they were pretty small.
5. Balance Food Intake with Activity Level
My husband and I are usually REALLY active on our trips. So sometimes that means we eat a good bit. On our less active days, we don't eat as much. Simple as that.
6. Eat Fruit and Vegetables When You Can
I always try to get a salad or fresh fruits and veggies when I can. Sometimes your options will be limited, but if you find yourself in a place that has a great healthy selection, go for it!
7. Eat a Vegetarian or Vegan Meal(s)
These types of options are becoming much more available! Just try it! You might be surprised how light you feel after eating a plant based meal.
8. Alcohol in Moderation
Let's be real, it's vacation and you want to have fun! And you should! Just don't feel like you have to go wild the duration of your trip! The key is always moderation. And what is moderation exactly? Here's an article that answers this question and others about alcohol in the diet.
9. Have a Light Lunch
Especially if you have a big dinner planned or maybe had a big breakfast. We did this a couple of times in Hawaii and it was great! Instead of a sandwich and chips we opted for a smoothie or Acai Bowl. So good!
10. Moderate Sugar Intake
This one can be a challenge, who doesn't love sweets and dessert on vacation?! Sometimes I like to buy some dark chocolate in a convenience store and this is my "dessert" some nights. If you have dessert, that's fine, just again, control the portions. Split it with your travel companion! Stop eating before you're stuffed.
11. Purchase or pack healthy snacks
Whether you're on a grueling hike, or in a 3 hour tour of the Vatican it's good to have a little snack to prevent an energy crash! Pack some trail mix or Energy Bars in your bag to keep you going (and prevent being Hangry)! Lara bars are my favorite!
12. Eat Local/Fresh Foods (When You Can)
Chances are this will be the freshest and least processed food.
13. Plan Ahead
Do a little research before the trip to find healthy restaurant options, grocery stores (if you plan to cook). Find out what places will meet your needs and offer healthy options.
This one pretty basic, but it's also very important. Staying hydrated also helps you cue in to your body's hunger cues. If you are properly hydrated you tend to eat less. Even if you aren't hiking or scaling mountains, your body needs water! Aim for about 2 Liters of water a day.
15. Have Fun!
Everything in Moderation - It's vacation. You can (and should) enjoy new foods or some of your favorites! Just remember to stay active and eat a variety of nutritious foods to help you feel your best!
Those are my tips and strategies for traveling! Do you have any tips that work for you while traveling?
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