Eating healthy while travelling is hard even for the most hardcore health buff, so if you’re just starting out on your wellness journey, it can understandably be quite daunting. But travel we must, and while it might be tempting to think of that time period as your ‘cheat’ time, getting back on track after your holiday can be difficult.
This is usually when we slide back to our old eating habits, so keeping vigilant while travelling might just be a good idea if you’re serious about your health and wellness.
Travel messes up your routine
Nothing messes with your routine like travel, whether you’re taking a two hour drive to the next town, or a 12 hour flight across the atlantic. On a regular day we’re pretty sure you’ve got your healthy routine down - especially if you’re on a more strict diet - and having to change that can be quite stressful it not sometimes impossible. Rest assured though, unless you have a serious condition you’re eating for, then the body can be quite forgiving if you follow the 80-20 rule of eating (80% healthy, 20% cheat meals).
Being prepared is half the battle
It’s the lack of prep that usually causes the well intentioned traveller to struggle. Being frequent travellers ourselves, we’ve been there - the quick muffin at the airport to ‘calm our stomach’, the cheeky bag of chips because there’s nothing else available at the museum and you’re hungry. You’ll get no judgement from us, no siree! But we are also keenly aware of the need to eat healthy no matter where you are. So here are our 5 tips to stay healthy while travelling:
Do the research
Following on the theme of being prepared, before any trip, use Google to your advantage! Search for local healthy blogs and websites that review healthy restaurants. Get on Facebook and search for a local chapter of whatever diet you’re following (for instance there is Going Paleo in Malaysia on Facebook). Some other sites include Go Gluten Free or if you’re headed overseas Healthy Dining Finder is a great option. If they don’t have information on their site, get in touch with them. I’m pretty sure they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Or better still, they might have a gathering that you could join!
You’re probably already carrying a bag during your travels anyway, so why not pack a few nutritious snacks or meals in there with you? Our health expert Carina Lipold says, “When I travel on planes and busses where I know I will not get any healthy options, I usually take a green smoothie, some nuts, fruits (fresh & dried), veggies or some raw granola with me - delicious, healthy and filling.”
But I’m on holiday! Yes you are! And one of the great joys of visiting new places is to be able to taste all the yummy local cuisine! But each place will also have healthy options for you to eat. So be sure to look out for alternatives wherever you are. Maybe you won’t find the exact same food you’re used to eating back home, but some local variations and dishes might fit your dietary needs just as well. And remember the 80-20 rule? Yea, every once in a while, it’s ok to try that yummy new dish only available in that region.
This is a biggie. If you’ve given up before you even arrive, then you most likely will fall off the wagon, and hard! So make a commitment that you will continue your routine. Setting measurable minimum goals that you want to achieve also helps a lot. For instance you can tell yourself you will eat three portions of vegetables a day and workout at least three times a week. With this in mind you can be flexible and explore while still keeping with your diet and goals.
If you’re on a business trip - and we know that usually involves a lot of group meals - then whenever possible try to suggest (pre-researched) restaurants that have healthier options. If that isn’t possible, order the healthiest meal option you can. Pay attention to the menu, look for organic foods, stir-fried instead of deep fried, lots of veggies and fruits, lean protein (without crust and not deep fried), fresh juices and smoothies (ask for no sugar!), whole grain instead of white - basically the same guidelines as you would have at home. It is amazing what you can find if you look! Another tip is to be mindful when you are full. Surrounded by people and engaged in discussions we can eat up to 40% more than our bodies actually need.
We hope that our tips can be of use to you on your next trip. Would love to know what methods you use to stay healthy while travelling. Let us know in the comments and share with our community! You can also download our quick guide here!