A vacation should leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle your responsibilities— If you take a vacation from healthy eating at the same time, though, you are bound to come back feeling somewhat sluggish. If you aren’t careful, you may even encounter food-borne pathogens along the way and have a hard time ‘starting back up’ when you come back.
There are simple measures you can take to stay on top of healthy eating while you are in transit, staying in temporary accommodations, and exploring your destination. Take your health into your own hands with these tips for health-conscious snacking and dining while you travel:
- Road Trips:
It can be tempting to throw all caution to the wind when it comes to getting calories during a road trip.
To prevent illness and keep your mind and body properly nourished…
- Make a Pit Stop at the Market
Instead of filling up on snacks from a gas station convenience store, make a pit stop at a market on your way out of town. This will give you more options for nutrient-rich snacks and stop you from over-indulging in simple carbohydrates. Some ideas for healthy road-trip foods include pre-washed veggies and hummus, fruit and yogurt, and sandwiches with lean meats on whole-grain bread.
- Keep Perishables at Temp
To prevent an upset stomach from getting in the way of a good time, put a cooler in the back of your vehicle. This will help to ensure any perishable items you pack stay out of the ‘danger zone’. If you neglect to do this and your body encounters pathogens along the ride, a good amount of your energy will go toward fighting them off instead of making the most of your trip.
- Skip Fried Items at the Drive-Thru
While it is best to avoid fast food altogether during a road trip, this is not always possible. If you do visit a drive-thru to fill up on bodily fuel, avoid fried menu items. Not only are these full of empty calories and increase your risk of heart problems, but they can also leave you feeling bloated and low on energy. Some healthier drive-thru menu options include grilled meats and salads drizzled in low-calorie dressing.
Airports and airplanes are full of germs and indulgent snacks.
To keep fatty foods and foreign germs out of your system…
- Pack Non-Perishable Healthy Snacks
Snacks provided to passengers by airlines are typically full of fat and sugar. Packing non-perishable healthy snacks, on the other hand, will help you to feel light and energized when you land. Especially if you tend to get hungry or bored during long flights, take your calorie intake and energy levels into your own hands by having healthy ready-to-eat morsels on hand.
- Disinfect Your Hands & Tray
It is important to disinfect your tray and hands before eating on an airplane— If you don’t, your body could come into contact with foreign bacteria from previous passengers or those currently on-board. While a little bit of exposure can be healthy for your system, close contact with people from around the world can lead to immune overload and sickness.
- Eat Airport Meals Within 2 Hours
Any meals bought inside the airport should be eaten within two hours. If you bring leftovers with you on your flight, make sure the rest is eaten before bacteria has a chance to thrive. If you can’t finish it within the two-hour limit, it should be thrown away. A great way to ensure you follow this food safety rule is to set a timer on your phone as soon as you put in your order.
- At Your Destination:
Hotels and the cities surrounding them are full of delicious foods to explore, but they can also be dangerous for your caloric intake and digestive system.
To stay on track with your diet and keep your gut healthy and happy…
- Stick to Fine Dining & Craft Cuisine
While sampling the flavors of a new city can certainly be a rewarding experience, it can also lead to food-borne illness and overindulgence. To avoid this, choose restaurants that truly care about what they feed their patrons. High-end restaurants that serve craft cuisine often approach cooking methods meticulously, utilizing from-scratch techniques and locally-sourced ingredients like American Wagyu beef.
- Utilize Your Hotel Appliances
It is a lot easier to stay on top of a healthy diet when you don’t eat out for every meal. A great way to do this is to utilize the appliances inside your hotel room. If you have access to a mini-fridge, fill it up with nutritious foods. If a fully-equipped luxury hotel suite is above your budget, you can always make use of what is available to you in a creative way, such as cooking superfood oatmeal with your coffee-maker.
- Use Caution at Continental Breakfasts
Continental breakfasts can lead to pathogen exposure and overeating, causing you to feel nauseous and lethargic throughout the rest of the day. To start your morning off right while still taking advantage of the buffet, make it a point to avoid temperature-sensitive items that are sitting out and consciously choose low-calorie foods that are high in nutrients.
Practice conscious eating and follow food safety guidelines, and you will have a more fulfilling travel experience.
When you stay on top of your health by watching what you eat while in transit and at your destination, you will retain more energy to fully enjoy your trip and return home feeling replenished and ready to tackle your responsibilities.