Over the last week I traveled several hundred miles on the road and thousands of miles in the air on a trip from North America to South America and made a few observations about health traps that you can avoid when traveling with a little forethought. Here are five tips to help you make that next trip a healthier one – even if it’s just an over-night in another town.
- Carry some healthy snacks with you. This is probably one of the biggest problems for people. They forget or decide not to carry something with them and end up buying candy or a “snack pack” or just eating cookies or peanuts or pretzels or whatever snack is provided. A few suggestions: raw almonds, an apple, dried fruit (a small amount – it’s concentrated), carrots and or celery. Avoid candy bars, packs of cookies and most packaged trail mix; these are all high in sugar; you can be creative about finding healthy things to bring with you.
- Try to eat regularly. Many people forget to snack on something healthy (see above), and skip meals because of flight schedules, etc. Plan to grab a small healthy meal or have something healthy to munch on so that you won’t gorge yourself. Waiting too long between meals also slows down your metabolism, signals your body that you might be starving, and actually causes you to retain and store more body fat. The compounded effects of waiting too long to eat can include weight (fat) gain, unhealthy swings in insulin levels, and gorging.
- Make some deliberate exercise part of your plan. Throw a pair of running shoes in your bag and spend a few minutes at hitting the treadmill, doing flights of stairs, walking around town or around the hotel. It’s important that you plan to spend time doing some physical exercise otherwise you will find yourself going to bed at the end of a day that largely consisted of sitting and eating. Even if you’re waiting in the airport, spend some time walking around before your flight – you’ll have more than enough seat time once you’re on that flight.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean that you should get that rich meal or that large dessert. One big meal or large dessert does matter. You wouldn’t want someone to put a spoonful of water or sugar in your car’s gas tank every once in a while and you shouldn’t do the nutritional equivalent of that to your body either. You’ll feel better when you return home if you maintain a healthy diet and don’t feel like you have to undo or make up for poor dietary choices on your trip. Remember – it’s more important to develop a healthy lifestyle than to find a “diet” for after your trip.
- Drink plenty of water. Depending upon where you’re traveling, you may want to skip the ice and stick to bottled water, but it’s important to make sure you take in enough fluids when traveling. Avoid the “free” in-flight soda (and its sugar or high fructose corn syrup) and stick to water or seltzer water.
Staying properly hydrated can help protect your throat and sinuses on that trip and also help you avoid eating when your body is actually craving water, not food.
Want to know more about anything mentioned in this post? Let me know – leave a comment.