4 Priorities for Stress-Free Healthy Eating while Traveling
It's hard enough getting into a healthy lifestyle and routine. And then when you finally feel like you've gotten a handle on the healthy eating thing, you have to go out of town on business or have a fun trip coming up. And then in comes the bread baskets, fast food, steak dinners, alcohol, etc. Sound familiar?
So how do you keep healthy while remaining sane during travels?
Certainly, things are usually a bit different on domestic business travel versus international travel for leisure. Culinary differences, activities, and schedule.
On business travel, you might have catered office food, craft services, and fast food restaurants to navigate.
Then while traveling internationally for fun, you're navigating foreign dishes that you might not know what ingredients go into making it, more social drinking than usual, and "treats" that are staple to a country you'll want to experience.
I always encourage my clients to break free of the mindset that food is punishment or a reward in general, but especially while on travel. It's about checks and balances, but most importantly- stressing about your food (either stressing about resisting food or stressing about how "bad" you've been indulging) is NOT what anyone wants to do while traveling, right?? You've got work to get done, sights to see, and memories to make!
So, here are 4 priorities I share with my clients to keep in mind for stress-free healthy eating while enjoying your travels:
1. PPP: Prioritize Protein & Produce
Fill up first on protein and produce, especially during the main meals.
You're less likely to mindlessly overeat sweets and the bread basket when your stomach is happily digesting some awesome protein and produce. Look for good protein sources like seafood, chicken, eggs, legumes, etc, and try to always include a salad or vegetable side dish as a starter or accompaniment with every meal.
This can be hard while on business travel with chain restaurants all around, but I promise you can find something healthy that prioritizes protein and produce at any chain restaurant. May not be the type of quality you wish, but you simply do the best you can. Have catered office food? Do the best you can for that meal, and make the next one that's more in your control a better choice.
2. Don't Resist the Local "Treats"-
Just Adjust Accordingly
Are you going to Paris and really going to try to ignore the freshly-baked croissants & cheese? Or go to Italy and turn down authentic homemade pasta & pizza?
Yeah, try to muscle through that and let me know how that feels...
You will likely either be miserable, picking at your crudités while everyone else is in culinary heaven, or say "well, I was so good at lunch, I'm gonna go ham on dinner" and end up with an upset mind and stomach. OR worst of all, regret that you didn't fully enjoy your travel experience for the sake of your "diet." Half of travel is trying out local, authentic cuisine!
Thoroughly enjoy what you are excited to try, and then make sure to get the rest of your nutritional needs too. For instance, if you just had a big bowl of fresh pappardelle for lunch, then perhaps for dinner make sure to order some extra vegetables, fresh seafood, and go easy on the vino. For instance, in the photo above on our first morning in Zürich, we had cappuccinos, Swiss chocolate, and my all-time favorite European breakfast of ham & cheese on a fresh baguette. Later for lunch, I made sure to get a salad with lots of veggies and some grilled chicken. Happy girl in Switzerland, I was.
3. Stay Hydrated.
Stay hydrated with that white wine? Haha, not exactly.
Hydration is one of the most important things for good health, and I find that it very easily is the first thing to go out the window while traveling. Make sure to stay hydrated to combat fatigue (you need energy to explore!), keep hunger in check, and stay well (who wants to be sick while on the go?).
ALSO, if on vacation, you might find yourself indulging in a few more glasses of wine or cocktails than the norm, and while I'm a big proponent of keeping that in check, I find it even more important to stay hydrated. Alcohol dehydrates you, and many of your hangover symptoms are simple dehydration symptoms. For every drink you have, have a full, tall glass of water in between. This will naturally pace you at a healthy intake, as well.
4. Messed up? Move on.
Maybe the most important of all. You have better and more important things to do while traveling, than to stress out about how you had a horrible day of eating yesterday. And we all know that berating yourself only leads to further guilt and partaking in the same indulgent behavior and thinking "oh, to hell with it, I already messed up."
If you had an over indulgent day, simply make it a priority to choose foods that nourish your body the next day. Take the time to savor your foods and enjoy the experience.