Traveling can throw a wrench in anybody’s healthy routine. Limited food options, delays, time changes, and the inability to exercise are just some of the challenges that face those of us who travel often. As a frequent flier, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks on how to stay on track when traveling by air, land, and sea. The most important takeaway? Be prepared
1. Three Square Meals:
If a time change will make you miss your regular mealtime, pack a healthy snack or make sure to have a plan when you get to the airport. If you wait too long, you risk overeating later. And remember: just because you’re traveling doesn’t give you an excuse to indulge all day! Make sure to stick to 3 meals a day and a few healthy snacks.
2. Snack Wisely:
For short trips, I always pack a few apples, some dried fruit and nuts, Lara bars, or instant oatmeal packets to ensure that I’m prepared for delays or a sudden hunger pang. For longer trips, I’ll also include small portable meals like an almond butter on Ezekiel bread, quinoa with diced tomatoes and olive oil, or a 2oz single serving hummus with some whole grain crackers and chopped vegetables. Remember to avoid liquids and gels like yogurts, soups, or shakes over 3.4oz if you’re flying.
3. Have a Back-Up Plan:
If you don’t have time to pack a snack or if you’re delayed at the airport, take a walk around the terminal to get an idea of all your food options. Not only will this burn a few calories and stretch your legs, but you’ll also be able to make an educated decision about where to dine. One of my go-to spots is Au Bon Pain, where you can pick up a premade salad (the Vegetarian Deluxe is my favorite, 280kcal, 18g protein) or customize a sandwich, which allows you to avoid added sauces, extra cheeses, or fried accompaniments. Starbucks is everywhere and now carries Evolution green juices, which are perfect for jet-setters. If you are a Starbucks Gold Card Member, remember that you can use your rewards towards these juices. Huge savings! If you choose a sit-down restaurant, look for nutrient dense, not calorie dense options like vegetable dishes, salads, and broth based soups. Ask your server for sauces or dressings on the side so that you can control the amount and if you’re traveling with friends, offer to split a salad and an entrée to keep your portion sizes under control.
While a full bottle won’t make it through security, pack an empty one that you can fill up at a water fountain or bubbler once you’re inside the terminal. Since the dry air can leave you extra dehydrated, plan on sipping water throughout the day and avoiding excess sodium, which can exacerbate any swelling in your hands and feet. Herbal tea with is available at most coffee shops, or bring your own tea bags to enjoy on the plane. Although it may be tempting to imbibe in alcoholic beverages while traveling, drinking can leave you more dehydrated and lethargic at your destination. To feel your best, avoid the booze.
Pack a large scarf or shawl so you have something to keep you warm on the plane. This can double as a pillow for longer flights. I’ll even pack an eye mask and warm socks to make sure I’m as comfortable as possible. Some other must-have accessories include a travel-size rosewater face mist, hand sanitizer, and moisturizer to feel refreshed at your destination. Last but not least, try to move your body as much as possible. Simple neck and shoulder stretches can be done discretely in your seat, or feel free to use the bathroom or bulkhead areas to stretch your back and legs.