Summer time. For many, this means road trips, weekend get-aways, flights to vacation spots. Travel can wreak havoc on your nutrition plans and wellness goals. Awkward schedules, limited resources, unpredictable meal times, slim offerings – all add up all to often to an impending junk food binge. Not only does poor eating on your travels set back your fitness and nutrition ambitions, but it often makes your travels a lot less pleasant, too, as you deal with the consequences of fueling your body poorly and battle headaches, crappy sleep, and tummy troubles.
Make your summer an enjoyable and successful one, not just socially and in your travels, but nutritionally, as well. Keep these tricks in mind, whether you’re going to be out all day for your kids’ swim meets and baseball games, or you’re traveling across the country to visit family.
1) Eat Breakfast – so many times, travel starts early. You’re rushing to get out the door, to the airport, on the road. Unfortunately, this often means skipping breakfast, thinking you’ll pick something up later, resulting in either missing this super important meal all together or electing to gobble down some overly-processed, nutritionally-absent option like a Cinnabon or a greasy breakfast sandwich. Neither is going to prepare you for the rest of your day, or leave you feeling satisfied. Instead, plan ahead: prep smoothie ingredients into a blender the night before; make healthy muffins that you can simply heat up in the morning; cook up some hard-boiled eggs that you can pair with a piece of fruit for a grab-and-go well-balanced meal.
2) Hydrate – traveling takes a lot out of you. It’s stressful on the system, no matter how smoothly it goes. And, it’s easy to forget to hydrate, as you’re rushing from security to your gate, or trying to avoid too many stops on your drive. Do yourself a favor; pack bottled waters or a big, full water bottle for car trips; purchase a huge bottle of water after security, or pack through an empty bottle to fill near your gate.
3) Snacks – with a strange schedule, unpredictable meal times, and likely hunger from the extra hustle and bustle, it’s easy to find yourself feeling fatigued and head-achey as your body begins to run out of fuel. Don’t rely on gas stations and expensive airport kiosks to give you the fuel-up your body is craving. Instead, pack some snacks that you know you’ll have at your fingertips and that will provide the nourishment and energy your body needs. Trail mix with an assortment of un-salted, raw nuts, unsweetened dried fruit, seeds, and maybe even some dark chocolate chips is a great go-to and easy to pack and store. If you’re in the car, bring a little cooler with hummus and veggies, crackers and cheese, and fresh fruit with a side of nuts.
4) Don’t Skip Meals – similar to the first tip, just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feed yourself regularly. Plan ahead and bring a pre-packed lunch or dinner. Plan your route around a good dining option. Just make sure you don’t stress yourself or your body by forcing yourself into a position of either missing a meal or eating something that might make you feel even worse than if you hadn’t eaten at all.
5) Choose Wisely – even the best laid plans often go awry. Be prepared to have to make spur of the moment decisions. Don’t wait until you’re starving to seek out food options and don’t throw in the towel simply because the only food option available is fast food. Most restaurants have their nutrition facts listed or available on site; if not, look them up online on your phone! Look for options that are low in sugar and transf ats, have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats, and try to pick something that offers AT LEAST one solid serving of veggies (French fries do NOT count!). Salads with the dressing on the side, croutons omitted, etc. are typically solid options. Ask for a side salad with your grilled chicken sandwich and extra lettuce and tomato, light on the mayo. Choose water or unsweetened iced tea to drink. Check out the kids’ menu sides: often, carrot sticks and apple slices are available, and you can sub them in for the “traditional” sides, like French fries.
Make your summer memorable for its adventures and the progress you make toward your long-term health goals. For more ways to make travel less stressful and healthy, come see us at CoreLife today!
Aubrey MS RDN LDN