One of the biggest challenges to a fitness or nutrition plan is staying on track while being away from home. This could be traveling for a work event, going away on an exciting vacation, or having to eat on the road because your daughter has a travel soccer game. If you are trying to stick to a diet and fitness plan, it can cause some uneasy feelings. Staying on track doesn’t have to take all the fun out of traveling or totally derail all the work you have done. Take a deep breath, make a game plan and if all else fails, get back on your plan when you get back. A couple of days or a week in the big picture will be but a small speed bump. Consider using some of these travel tips and remember to aim for “better” instead of “perfect.” 1. Have a game plan before you go. Decide ahead of time if you will be sticking to your healthy habits or taking a short break. Both options are fine, but make it a conscious choice and be sure that it is a realistic expectation.
2. Decide what your “minimums” are. If you have made the decision to stick to your healthy habits, define what that looks like ahead of time. Deciding to stick to your healthy habits does not have to mean you will be 100 percent on track as if you were at home. This may not be a realistic expectation. Instead, decide which habits you feel you are able and willing to stick to. Examples of this are committing to having two servings of vegetables each day, drinking a glass of water with each meal, exercising two to three days, or eating a serving of protein at lunch and dinner. Not only will this give you a game plan, but it will also give you the structure to know you are being successful by whatever terms you set out ahead of time.
3. Drink water! Keep a water bottle on hand and remember to drink it! Not only is proper hydration important for overall well-being, staying properly hydrated will help to steer off hunger and cravings and keep snacking to a minimum. Sometimes we can confuse thirst for hunger, so drink up!
4. Bring snacks. Whether you are traveling by car or flying on an airplane, having pre-packaged snacks can help you skip less nutritious items, like airport fast food or vending machine candy. Bringing healthy snacks will also allow you to make sure the foods you are eating agree with your body.
Healthy on the go snack ideas:
Fruit (apples, bananas)
Quality jerky (preferably lower sodium)
Cut veggies (celery with nut butter or carrots and hummus)
5. Know how to build a plate.
Counting calories, especially when away from home, can be impractical and is usually going to be wildly inaccurate. Knowing how much to eat at each meal by using your hands as portion guides can help you make more balanced meals and keep servings in check. Ideally, meals will have protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and vegetables.
Here is how to judge a serving size with your own hand!
Protein: The size of the palm of your hand.
Carbs: The size of a cupped handful.
Fats: The size of your thumb.
Vegetables: The size of your fist.
6. Eat mindfully.
Put your phone away and be in the moment. Focus on the flavors and textures of your food and pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. When we slow down our eating, we are better able to hone in on our hunger signals, enjoy our food, and recognize when we are starting to get full. This will make us less likely to overindulge.
7. Use your resources.
Many hotels have their own gyms. If you have a gym at your hotel, use it! You don’t need a lot of equipment (or any at all) to have a great workout. If you do not have a gym to use, look for parks with benches for things like push-ups or dips or trails to hike. You could try using an on-demand video streaming service for workout videos you can follow from your hotel room. Make your workout a chance to explore by going on a long walk or run through the town. Have fun with it!