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As someone who used to travel for work a lot (hellloooo 6 am flights!), I completely understand the challenges of trying to be mindful and eating healthy on the road. There’s something about not being home that can make us believe we have a “free pass” to eat whatever comes our way. However, it’s completely possible to eat well and still feel great when you’re traveling. Here are my favorite travel tips for just about any journey you’re a part of:

  • Pack your own snacks. Whether you’re traveling by car, train, or plane, find some room for your own snacks as this is the easiest way to control cravings and hunger on the road. I know they have snacks on planes, but they tend to be highly processed. You will also want to stick with still or sparkling water instead of sugary sodas and juice. As tempting as it may be, you’ll want to stay away from coffee and tea since the water used to make these is not sanitary. We used to live next to two flight attendants and that’s the #1 rule about air travel they shared! Never trust the hot water. Good to know, right? Here are my favorite (mostly non-perishable) snacks to pack:
    • Trail mix! Skip the store-bought ones as those tend to be sugary and create your own by mixing some raisins, other unsweetened dried fruit, nuts, and unsweetened banana chips. Sneak in some carbo chips or those Hu chocolate ones. Trust me on this one!
    • The only bar: a great tasting and clean protein bar, but available online only.
    • Thrive Market Paleo snack mix
    • Lesser Evil snacks
    • A banana or apple slices
    • Mezcla protein bars – these contain some refined sugar, but wow, they’re delish!
    • Send me a message if you would like to learn more about additional healthy alternatives! I’ve got a great list to share.
  • Pack your own quick travel meal. Before you get on a plane, do you have some time to fix up a quick sandwich or salad? I often pack gluten-free almond butter-jelly sandwiches and some sliced apples for the plane. Not the fanciest meal, but so much better than airport food in most cases and super kid-friendly as well. I do the same for most roadtrips. You won’t be able to avoid all meal on the road, of course, but if you can sneak in one more healthy meal from home, it’s still a win.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. If your day is not perfectly mapped out, which it tends to be when you’re visiting customers or are at a conference, skipping breakfast could result in overeating later. Stick to high quality protein, such as eggs, or organic oatmeal (conventional oatmeal is heavily sprayed with pesticides) with fruit and some nuts or nut butter. Pastries and bread without quality protein will just leave you hungry later, so steer clear of those. If you can get an omelette with avocado and some veggies mixed in – amazing!
  • Eat veggies with every meal. You will likely not have perfect control over where you eat either, so making an attempt to eat a veggie forward meal will get you a long way. Can you start off your meal with some salad? Can you swap other sides for a side salad? Can you add veggies to a dish? Even if you’re not eating a full salad for every meal, try to add some veggies to whatever you eat. Steamed or broiled veggies are always better than fried or sautéed, since you’re avoiding most of the inflammatory seed oils (canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, sunflower seed oil) this way. 
  • Pack your water bottle. Dehydration can be a problem when traveling, especially on long-haul flights and trips. If you’re able, carry around a water bottle and refill it whenever you can. Although hand-wash only, I like the Sip by S’well since it’s stainless steel and will work well with travel wear & tear. My quest for finding the perfect electrolyte (without Stevia, monk fruit etc.) continues! I will share my findings as I find one I love. 
  • Skip the bread and pasta bowl – most of the time. When eating out at restaurants, remind yourself to skip the bread basket. You just don’t need those empty calories, unless we’re talking fresh artisan baked bread, which very few restaurants provide. I would also steer clear of pasta bowls and focus on soups and nutrient rich veggies and protein instead. But keep reading to find out at which restaurants I totally break this rule!
  • Pack your vitamins and supplements. If your vitamins are not easily transportable, plan ahead so you can figure out a way to carry them with you. Can you get travel packs? If not, can you portion them out into small containers or disposable snack bags? Stick with your normal vitamin routine as closely as you can. Alternatively, you could try taking a break from supplements (a great idea if you feel like your body really relies on them). I would consult with your primary care provider on this first. 
  • Walk. Take a walk whenever you can. Park a little further away from your building / hotel to get extra steps in. If you can and want, travel with gym clothes and use the local hotel gym. You will be out of your normal exercise routine, so just getting some fresh air will go a long way. On family vacations, I rarely exercise and stick to walking and some squats or push ups instead. If you exercise heavily during the week, your body will be thankful for the break. 
  • Drink mindfully. Happy Hours are not so happy when you don’t have a plan and up drinking way more than you like. You’ll want to steer clear of all sugary cocktails (which is most of them) and mix your alcohol with soda water and just a splash of juice, honey, or a lime instead. I always ask for soda / sparkling water instead of tonic, since most tonics contain high fructose corn syrup, which is always banned in my book. Many mocktails tend to be sugar-loaded as well, so if you want to make your own, again, soda / sparkling water with a lime is a good alternative. Though not always available, I find gluten-free beer to taste just as great as regular beer. If you have the option to pick a beer from tap / draft vs bottled beer, always go with the tap since you at least get some beneficial probiotics in this way. A fresh margarita with quality tequila or a vodka soda with a splash of fruit juice are also better choices. Make sure you hydrate in between (and really all day!). I love to travel with Sakara Beauty Water drops for extra minerals and hydration. 
  • Sleep. Trips usually mean unavoidable late nights and sometimes jet lag, but whenever you can, try to stay as close to your regular sleep schedule as possible. I am not a big fan of melatonin (there is conflicting research on this supplement), but would use this only for trying to beat jet lag in the first few days, or when returning from a trip. I like taking a magnesium glycinate supplement every night as well. Did you know that most people are deficient in magnesium?
  • Indulge – you’ll know when. When eating out, I absolutely encourage indulging in a really special meal: a non-chain, local, one-of-a-kind restaurant, your favorite type of meal, a hole-in-the-wall place, a special occasion dinner, a Michelin rated restaurant…you get the point. Eat everything that feeds your soul and enjoy it to the fullest. Then, get right back to eating to nourish and heal your body the next day or when you’re back from your trip. Just because you indulged, doesn’t mean you have to ease into eating nutritious food again. You can literally jump right back into the hormone healthy habits (my clients know what these are and you can always find more info about these on my blog and on Instagram @wellandgreat) that you know and love. 

What questions do you have about eating out when traveling? Are you going anywhere fun this summer?

 

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