Vacation & travel can add some extra stress when you're focused on healthy eating. But it doesn't have to. I've been on the road prepping for our winter trek to Colorado and thought this would be a great time to share the ways I sta on track.
The first and most important step is to make a decision in advance about how you want to approach the trip.
Instead of thinking of it as a “free for all” or “Falling off the wagon”, decide what your minimum commitments are to your health. This could mean at least 2 fists of vegetables each day, getting in 10,000 steps, or limiting processed treats to 1 portion. Whatever minimums you decide on, be aware of what the effects may be. It takes a surplus of 3500 calories to gain one pound of fat. So, an extra treat each day can really add up. Just one restaurant dessert, for example, can be up to 1500 calories alone. If you aren’t moving as much on the road, this can add to quick weight gain. Be mindful of how and when you will indulge on your trip.
Here are my guides when traveling:
- Planned indulgences tend to be much more satisfying than impulsive ones. So, when you can, know when these moments are coming and enjoy the anticipation of them.
- As much as possible, try to stick to your regular eating schedule. Just because you are in the car or the air doesn’t mean you have to be snacking. If you only have one snack at home each day, aim for the same on the road.
- Be Flexible. You can always replace your lunch or dinner with a snack until you are able to get to a place that offers decent food. While you are traveling, be flexible with what meals occur at what times.
- Enjoy local cuisine. Here is when it is best to plan ahead. If you are headed to the BBQ capital of the world, you’ll want to sample some! Plan to eat healthier meals for the rest of the day, get adequate water intake, and most importantly, eat slowly and just until satisfied, no matter what the content of the meal. This is a skill you can take with you anywhere (like I did with the Beignets below, lol) and works with any type of food. It will help you feel full more quickly and also allow you to better enjoy whatever you are eating!
- If eating out, order an extra salad with dressing on the side for lunch on the road the next day.
You can always add fresh lemon instead of dressing as well
- Unless you are hitting an EPIC breakfast spot, attempt to start fresh each day with a typical healthy breakfast.
- Yogurt, berries and nut butter
- Eggs or Veggie Omelet with side of fruit and avocado
- Plain instant oatmeal + protein powder + boiling water
Whatever you choose, opt for lean protein, a handful of carbs and a bit of fat. Not only will this keep you full until lunch, but you’ll start the day off on the right foot, which can lead to healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.
- NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) during travel.
If you plan on being stuck in a car or airplane for a significant period of time, get your non-exercise activity in where you can. Get up every hour to stretch and walk a bit, even if it is up and down the aisles of the plane. Park far away from the entrance of rest stops to get in some extra steps. Take a walk around the parking lot. If, on a road trip, make use of the hotel fitness center for a quick workout. The more active you are, the less stiff you will be and the more your calorie burn will mimic a typical day at home.
So there you have it......the simple guidelines I follow while I'm on the move. I'd love to hear how you guys navigate travel.