Last week we spoke about the importance of having the right mindset to have a healthy vacation. The way we think about our time away can predict a lot of what happens, helpful or otherwise. In addition to examining our thoughts, being prepared can really put us at an advantage! Below you will find a few practical tips that you can apply whether you are traveling by air, land, or sea. You’ll discover a few ideas and bit of gear that will help make eating well and moving more consistently while away much easier!
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HEALTHY TRAVEL-FRIENDLY GEAR
Over the years I have come across several travel-friendly tools that make being on the road easier. I hope they help you as much as they have me!
- A water bottle with a built-in filter. Rather than spending $4.00 on a bottle of water, you will always have clean aqua on hand. This setup works great in airports as you can bring the empty bottle past security and fill it up when you arrive at your terminal. Please note, this is not advised for foreign travel as the filters in these travel bottles will not sufficiently clean your water. In this case, you’ll want to opt for bottled water.
- A Blender Bottle is a simple way to mix up protein shakes while on the go. The inner whisk will get all the lumps out and make a simple powder and water shake taste much better!
- A Packit Freezable Lunch Bag. This handy little bag can be frozen prior to leaving and will keep your food cool (not cold) without the addition of messy and bulking freezer packs. Plus, it is foldable and very compact for storage while you are away. Great for on the plane!
- Simple Ziploc bags. To easily pack healthy meals for your adventure, consider using Ziploc bags for just about anything (well, besides soup). Nope, it’s not glamorous and yes, it is messy but you can neatly store several meals + snacks without any fuss. Be sure to bring along disposable utensils too.
- A versatile exercise band with door adapter. While some hotels and cruise ships are equipped with high-end gyms, average accommodations often have less-than-average gym space. A band is a great way to get in a full-body workout without taking up a ton of luggage space. The door adapter is important because it allows you to perform a lat pull down, an easy move to miss out on when you are lacking gym equipment. You can find a ton of workout ideas on Pinterest.
HEALTHY TRAVEL-FRIENDLY FOOD
When on the road having healthy snacks packed is key. Delays and traffic jams, they happen. And if you arrive at an exit where the only meal option is not tasty, not healthy food, having a back-up is golden. Here are a few ideas to fill your travel bag.
NO COOLER OPTIONS
If you are just leaving home, consider taking some foods directly from the house, even though they may not be shelf-stable. Foods like a hard boiled egg, fruit, veggie sticks, hummus, a cheese stick, and if you are brave like me- last night’s leftovers will last several hours unrefrigerated if they are not in a hot environment. Check out the travel gear listed below for a packable lunchbox.
You may also want to consider freezing some items so that they can thaw en route. Great examples are muffins and even mini-meatloaves if you like cold meatloaf.
Check out the travel gear listed below for a packable lunchbox. Other options include:
- Nuts. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans all make a filling and nutritious grab-and-go snack. My suggestion is to portion them out individually in snack size bags to avoid overeating them. Especially the cashews!
- Nut butter packets. Easy and pre-portioned.
- RXBAR. Real food protein bars. For real.
- Quest Protein Bars. Convenient and unlike most protein bars, don’t contain a ton of added fillers.
- Larabars. Bars that are simply dried fruit and nuts. These can often be found in gas stations and airport snack shops.
HEALTHY COOLER OPTIONS
If you have a cooler, anything is game! Below I will list some more travel-friendly options but don’t be shy to pack anything you’d like to have.
- Hardboiled eggs
- Cheese stick
- Hummus and veggies
- Nut butter and fruit
- Turkey and veggie wrap
- Deli meat
- Greek yogurt parfait
- Single serving cottage cheese
HEALTHY EATING OUT
In the first installment of this Travel Series, I discussed the importance of how we approach our meals out. Here’s a quick recap:
- Balance your meals. Aim for some protein, starch, veggies, and a bit of fat.
- Choose only the best. When ordering indulgent foods, opt for those that are truly “worth it”.
- Listen to your body’s cues. Regardless of what and how you are eating, your hunger and fullness cues will give you a huge advantage as you eat.
- Eat your meals mindfully. Pay attention to the taste and experience. Don’t gobble your food.
You are on vacation and you WILL be eating out. Enjoy it but do so with your goals in mind!
HOW YOU TRAVEL:
IN THE AIR
Traveling by air is the most common way to getaway. Unfortunately, taking flight isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Early arrivals to accommodate security checks, overbooked flights and delays mean that planning for the plane can be rather unpredictable. Always pack food for the day, especially if a connecting airport has a poor food selection.
Before you head back home, consider picking up some healthy eats to take on the plane with you, if you know the airport is lacking.
ON THE ROAD
Road trips are fun but pit stop food is not always that great. Be sure to fill up a cooler with plenty of healthy snacks and take a few moments to scope out up and coming exits on a maps app. If you are gas station bound, keep your eyes open for fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, oats that you can easily add hot water to at the coffee bar, and protein bars.
Consider having some tasty, no-calorie drinks on-hand such as Sobe´Life Water or Vitamin Water Zero. This way, if the munchies hit (and we both know they will!) you will have the treat to look forward to. Chewing gum is a great alternative too.
Also, audio books are a great way to pass the time while you are on the road. Your time will go by faster and there will be less of a pull to entertain yourself with food. Most libraries offer free audio books for your phone through the Overdrive app.
Ah, one place you do not have to worry about having available food is a cruise ship! Morning, noon, and night- there is food. Lots and lots of food. Believe it or not, I have actually found cruises a very EASY place to eat well. Buffets have lots of healthy options available and waiters are always willing to accommodate your preferences.
The only “complaint” I have is the drink issue. We don’t do alcoholic drinks, so that’s easy but water and ice tea do get old after a while. Did you know that you can take a case of water or your drink of choice onto a cruise ship? We also take packets of water flavoring and even herbal teabags to make hot or iced tea. It’s just a nice way to add some variety to your day without having to purchase an overpriced beverage plan from the cruise line.
A HOTEL STAY
Similar to a cruise ship, hotels are (usually) happy to accommodate their guest request. Before you leave home, take a moment to check the hotel’s website to see if they offer an in-room mini refrigerator and microwave. If not, call ahead to request one. There may be a small fee but it is well worth it to have the option to keep healthy foods on hand.
Even if your place to stay offers breakfast, it will be nice to have some lighter eats to round out their often rich options.
I hope that you have found these ideas helpful and that they give you some food for thought as you prepare to embark on your getaway. It is a good reminder that being healthy isn’t just about making healthy choices, it is about making healthy choices EASY. By preparing in advance you can make your vacation time that treats your mind and body well!