Travel is notorious for making it difficult for people to stick to their usual healthy habits. However, it doesn’t have to be that way
You can explore the world while also keeping your body in tip-top shape. You just have to do a little bit of prep work! Here is the ultimate travel guide to eating healthy when you are constantly travelling and on-the-go.
Healthy eating takes preparation
Without preparation, whether or not you’re on the road, your food choices can be severely restricted to just fast food. However, if you make a plan in advance and make a stop at a grocery store, you will be able to stock up on whole and healthy foods.
Fill your shopping cart with fruits, bagged carrots, nuts, hummus, or take advantage of supermarkets which feature a salad bar. By preparing in advance, you allow yourself to have some healthy options and not just whatever is convenient in the moment.
Eat Frequently but in Smaller Amounts
To be honest, this is how you should consume food each and every day. If, throughout the day, you eat small amounts of healthy food, you are sending a signal to your brain that you have a plentiful food supply, and so it is just fine if it burns through those calories quickly. Additionally, eating this way (and limiting your calorie load in a single sitting) provides your body with a constant supply of energy.
On the other hand, rapidly consuming too many calories in one meal — even if they’re healthy calories — communicates to your brain a misleading message that famine and hunger are just around the corner. Your body will respond accordingly and store those calories as fat. This pattern of overeating at one time will also make you feel sluggish and sleepy, and we all know how that feels!
Protein is essential
Protein is key to staying healthy while on-the-go. You need to consume the correct amount of complete protein (defined as one that offers your body all the essential amino acids) for your weight, and your current activity level. Doing this stabilizes your blood sugar which, in turn, prevents your energy from waning. This enhances concentration, and keeps you healthy and in great shape.
Protein to stock up on includes the following food items.
1. String cheese
2. Cottage cheese
3. Plain Greek yogurt
4. Hard-boiled eggs
5. Tuna pouches that can be consumed by themselves or even tossed into salads or bread
6. Dry-roasted edamame or chickpeas
7. Jerky (either beef, turkey, chicken, or fish)
8. Nuts and seeds
9. Nut and seed butter
10. Hummus: Look for single-serving cups or packs
11. Minimally processed health bars made from nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
12. Low-sodium cold cuts
13. Protein powder (pack some in a zip lock bag and shake with water)
When travelling, you will find yourself requiring energy for long hikes, long drives, or long days sightseeing in cities, or sunning yourself at the beach. So don’t forget to fill your body with high-quality lean protein.
Make your own breakfast
There is no doubt that eating healthy can seem so much harder when you’re travelling as you are always on the move, flying during odd hours, and probably eating at restaurants for every meal. For this reason, one of the best things you can do to offset some of the dietary damage is by making your own healthy breakfast.
It is easy to move around with a box of whole grain cereal in your bag. This can help you kick-start your day with a healthy routine. If you don’t want to pack an entire box, bring portioned out servings in zip-lock baggies, and then purchase a container of Greek yoghurt for some added protein when you arrive at your destination.
If you do opt to eat breakfast at a restaurant, pay attention to dishes that are fatty and high in calories. A good strategy is to ignore the entree and instead devise your own “skinny plate” by ordering a plate of scrambled or poached eggs with a cup of fresh fruit and a mug of black tea.
Pack snacks so you’re not skipping meals
One of the issues when travellingis that you don’t always have a way to purchase and consume food at regular intervals. Obviously, this depends on where you are visiting, but you never want to be skipping meals.
On the other hand, even if you do have access to food, don’t you dare skip a meal so that you can have a big bowl of pasta and an even bigger piece of carrot cake later on. This type of mentality creates tremendous problems for your body as it wants to protect you and, therefore, responds to this erratic eating schedule as if it were facing a food shortage. This means that your body will be storing fat, and won’t be able to burn the calories you ingest as efficiently.
So, to prevent this from happening, load up on healthy snacks. Useful items to stock up on include:
2. Yoghurt and berries
3. Raw vegetables and hummus
4. Hard-boiled eggs
5. Fresh or dried fruit.
Be strong and avoid junk food
Everyone on the planet craves junk food which includes those snacks and meals that you lust after, but eventually leave you feeling sick or exhausted minutes after you ingest them.
Unfortunately, when you are travelling and on the road, it’s even more essential to bypass these foods and substances that deplete your energy and worsen your mood.
For a quick list, here are four leading contenders to avoid like the plague.
1. Simple carbohydrates/high glycemic foods, such as sodas, fruit juices, sugary snacks, or refined grain products.
2. Snacks and spreads that are partially hydrogenated (this would include non-dairy creamer, highly processed peanut butter, margarine, and most packaged baked goods).
3. Non-fat desserts and sweeteners which are actually loaded with chemicals that your body can’t efficiently metabolize.
4. Deep-fried everything.
Always have a water bottle on hand
There is no point eating healthily and preparing if you deprive your body of water. The human body requires water for practically all of its activities. Not only will drinking an abundance of water help you eat less, but it will also assist in flushing toxins out of your body and keeping your skin looking young, fresh and vibrant.
Especially crucial for Travelers, drinking lots of water helps to fend off travel jet lag, symptoms of overexposure to the heat or sun, and those nasty junk-food cravings. Believe it or not, those junk food cravings you often experience (both on the road and off it) can be silenced and satisfied with a refreshing and rejuvenating drink of pure, cool water.
As you will be eating in lots of restaurants which, hopefully, will be serving food as delicious as what they offer at the best South Indian restaurant in Dubai, be mindful of portion sizes. Offer to share a large entree with one of your travel buddies, or take half of it home for a meal the following day. And learn to say a firm “no” to dessert. Doing this will save you both calories and money
Remember that the average restaurant meal contains far more calories to be consumed in one sitting than what the average person needs in a day. Over days and weeks, these excess calories add up and ensure you lose your beach body, and pile on fat.
So, to stay healthy while on-the-go, make sure to remember all these things and enjoy your travels stress-free.