Eight Tips for Healthy Travel

new york city

Tips to enjoy your vacation while maintaining your health and fitness.

Be mindful.
Don’t just go with the flow – eating and drinking what everyone else is or just because it’s there. Treat yourself and splurge on one favorite thing each day with no guilt. A small indulgence might be waffles at breakfast, an afternoon mojito, or a crème brûlée after dinner. Eat mindfully. Chew your food slowly, put your fork down between bites, savoring each bite, and eat until satisfied, not stuffed. Avoid over-indulging so you wake up glowing and full of energy.

Move every day.
Start moving right when you wake up before resistance can set in. Get in a brief 20 to 30 minute sweat session to boost your metabolism and overall mood. Take your workout outdoors and enjoy the culture. Go for a run and/or perform bodyweight exercises like lunges, push-ups, planks and squats. Move as much as you can during the day by taking the stairs or going for a walk. If you end up exercising only 2 of the 7 days, don’t try to validate or feel guilty.
If gone for an extended period of time, make an effort to research the destination for local gyms so you can do heavier weight training and maintain your hard earned muscle.

Hydrate.
Drink at least 2 liters of water or herbal tea a day. Bring your favorite teas with you, I like ginger tea in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and rose tea before bed. Aim for no more than 2-3 alcoholic beverages a day and drink a 1:1 ratio of water to alcohol.

Pack healthy snacks.

  • Protein bars (homemade or store bought) and protein powder
  • High quality superfood greens powder
  • Fresh veggies (celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber slices)
  • Apples, bananas, oranges
  • Almonds (100 calorie packs are easy)
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Beef jerky
  • Tuna packets
  • Plenty of water
  • Spices: cinnamon, stevia and cayenne (can’t live without them!)
     

Know how to navigate the buffet.
Limit these foods:

  • Processed foods like waffles, French toast, pancakes, croissants, muffins
  • Sugary cereals, even granola and Raisin Bran have high levels of sugar
  • Foods with heavy creams and sauces or high in fat and oil (ex. French Fries, Fried Chicken, Cheeseburgers, Pasta dishes)
  • Desserts
  • Drinks made with sugary juices (ex. blended margaritas, Long Island Iced Teas)

Healthier Options:

  • Load up on fruits and vegetables. Take an extra piece of fruit for a snack later on.
  • Make your own parfait with greek yogurt or cottage cheese, fresh fruit, nuts or peanut butter and cinnamon
  • Eggs made to order – ask for less oil and choose egg whites
  • Salad bar – choose mostly greens and lean protein

Have access to a kitchen? Hit the grocery store.
Here are just some ideas so you hit all your macros. Be sure to load up on vegetables for micronutrients and fiber.

Proteins

  • Rotisserie chicken (shred and you will have about 4 to 5 servings)
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt

Complex Carbs, Fruits, Veggies

  • Oatmeal
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Rice cakes
  • Pre-washed greens (romaine, spinach, arugula, kale, etc.)
  • Cucumber
  • Baby carrots
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Lemons, Limes

Healthy Fats

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Almond butter, Peanut butter
  • Olive oil, Coconut oil

Other

  • Salad dressing – Olive Oil, Vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon or lime
  • Non-dairy beverage alternatives (almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk)
  • Coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Coconut water (for extra hydration especially after drinking alcohol)

Eat a healthy breakfast.
Eating a solid breakfast will keep your cravings at bay and give you energy to enjoy the day’s activities.

Make oatmeal in your hotel room. Call ahead and find out if your room will have a fridge, microwave and coffee maker.
I bring individual plastic sandwich bags with pre-portioned oats, protein powder, cinnamon, stevia and ground flaxseed or nuts. To make the oats, you can either run the coffee maker with just water, ask the coffee shop for a half cup of hot water or use an instant immersion portable water heater. Pour the hot water over the oats and let sit for a few minutes until they soften. Bring plastic spoons or grab some from the hotel café.

Other breakfast ideas

  • Greek yogurt with nuts
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Protein shake or protein bar with fruit or small handful nuts

Trust that you can reset and get back into your routine when you get home.
You won’t be able to workout and eat the same while away. This is ok. Trust that you are making the best decisions and that it’s never an “all or nothing” approach. Know that when you return home you can get back into your routine. If you return home and feel like you need a “reset”, avoid sugar and alcohol and focus on eating mostly vegetables and lean proteins for a few days.