By Dahlas Fletcher Certified Trainer from Bodyfabulous Fitness
If you follow me on social media, you will see I love food and I love eating. J.E.R.F or “Just Eating Real Food” is something I try to do daily. And when it comes to travelling I find this even more important. As it can be difficult to stay healthy when in airport lounges and up in the air, especially if you are not prepared and if you’ve have any food intolerances. Even if you’re allergy free, once you’re tired and hungry, it’s very easy to give into the surrounding unhealthy options – especially if you have kids in tow ! Here are some easy tips to keep you on track :
Prepare ahead and Pack some staples
Many people think you are unable take your own food on an airplane. However, you can ! Just remember if you take any fresh fruit on board you must eat it on the plane or you will have to dump it at your destination for quarantine reasons. A cooler bag with an ice brick packed with a few items such as apples, bananas, natural nuts, natural popcorn, fresh carrot and celery sticks plus some homemade chocolate zucchini muffins, and nut and date balls are fantastic options to boost meal times (as plane food is not the most nutritious option), or stave off hunger if you have an airport or travel delay. Most of this food will keep fresh for 4 days, and if you’re staying in an apartment / hotel with a kitchen or fridge you could even freeze the leftover muffins and use them for your trip home.
I always make sure I travel with trusty T2 Tea Thermos. This keeps my favourite organic herbal teas hot for hours plus I pack a few extra tea-bags with me as it’s easy to ask for a hot water top up if needed. It such any easy and delicious way to stay hydrated. Too much coffee and alcohol can have some negative effects such as headaches, dehydration, restlessness and extended jet lag when traveling.
Find the local healthy spots
Make sure you Google your destination for wholefood / organic shops and cafes before you leave. In NYC you have Trader Joe’s, Life Thyme, Wholefoods all in various parts of Manhattan. In Paris, 2 fantastic organic supermarkets called La Vie Claire and Naturalia. Nothing however beats a local produce market and eating fresh and seasonally when overseas or interstate. When shopping at regular supermarket or eating at a local café try to avoid refined items such as fries, white bread and sugary cakes. Swap them out for a healthier alternative like sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa and freshly made gelato (a must in Italy). Also grilled / barbequed meats rather than deep fried protein plus ask for your sauces on the side as these are often laden with sugar and bad oils (especially in the USA). There are healthy options everywhere, you just need to be prepared to look and ask for them.
Avoid the buffets and meeting treats!
So many hotels offer free buffet breakfast or dinner with hotel bookings. The problem with buffets is that you generally like to fill your plate up with as much as possible and then go back for seconds and even thirds ! Buffets are a real trap for over-eating. If you do happen to find yourself at a buffet, then fill your plate up with as many healthy options you can find first – think fresh garden salads, fresh fruit, grilled meat, fresh seafood etc. At breakfast, ask for a poached egg on wholemeal toast with a freshly squeezed juice instead of the cream laden scrambled eggs and hash browns and again if you are still hungry fill up a little natural yoghurt and fresh fruit. If you fill your plate up with the healthy stuff, you’ll be less likely to overindulge on the unhealthy options. Stay away from the desert bar too, there is almost always nothing good there – try a nice cup of herbal tea instead. I bet you won’t be hungry anyway. If you are traveling for work also be conscious of what is on offer during meetings and conferences. It is very easy to drink excessive coffee and eat too many mints from boardroom table ; plus some cake at morning tea (on top of that buffet breakfast you have already had - yikes). Instead pack some natural nuts to snack on, stay hydrated with unsweetened teas and don’t be afraid to ask ahead about lunch options and pre- order a healthy wrap plus fresh salad.
Keep up your fitness routine
Now I’m not saying go and spend hours at the gym, in fact I don’t promote spending hours at the gym even when at home. But if you can keep up some sort of daily exercise routine when you are away you will feel so much better for it. If the gym isn’t your thing or accessible where you are, then go for a twenty minute run or swim. Or try some Pilates or yoga moves in your room. – there are many You Tube channels where you can find fantastic routines. Another great way to get some sneaky exercise in is to walk everywhere. Rather than taking cabs explore the city on foot. Not only do you get some exercise in but you also get to discover some exciting places that you wouldn’t otherwise see if you were in a car.
Don’t forget to have fun
Yes it’s important to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle when you travel, but also don’t forget to have some fun ! I live by the 80/20 rule – try and eat healthy nutritious food for at least 80% of the time, so you can allow yourself some treats, enjoy them and then quickly get back into your healthy routine as soon as you can. Being healthy isn’t just about nutrition and exercise, it’s also about keeping a healthy mind too, so it’s important to get out there and enjoy yourself as much as possible.
If you have any other healthy travel tips you would like to share with me I would love to hear them! Learn more about Body Fabulous and connect with me HERE.
All images courtesy of Dahlas Fletcher except where noted.