How often have you been traveling for work or pleasure and found yourself stopping at a fast food joint out of necessity, overeating, or finding yourself starving at an inconvenient moment with no food on hand? It is common that, when we travel, we pack the necessary clothes, toiletries, chargers, and devices, but food is not even considered. This can be fine once in awhile, as we are able to adapt to our surroundings and “make things work as we go,” but if we are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not get thrown off balance while traveling, food has to be a consideration in being prepared for a trip. As a professional competitive dancer, I travel at least once a month so have come up with the following tips that have helped me and can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle while on the road!
- Pack non-perishable, healthy snacks- Sometimes you do not know your schedule for your trip or your accommodation’s amenities. Having healthy, single serving non-perishable snacks such as trail mix (self made with dried fruit and mixed nuts), more natural protein bars such as Lara and RX bars, or whole grain crackers with nut butter packets.
- Choose hotels with a continental breakfast- With a continental breakfast, you can help yourself to fruit and can usually choose at least some healthier options such as oatmeal, whole grain toast with peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, etc. When possible, take a couple pieces of fruit to keep in your room as an emergency snack as well.
- When eating out, choose healthier options and manage portion sizes- Sometimes we don’t have a choice of where to eat, but most restaurants have at least one or two healthier options. Even if you happen to choose a less healthy option, order a box at the beginning of the meal or split the meal with a friend and only eat portion sizes that match your usual healthy eating habits.
- If you are going on a road trip, bring a cooler- If you are driving and don’t need to worry about storing food like you would on a plane, pack a cooler with pre portioned out meals and snacks that are easy to eat cold to avoid those otherwise inevitable convenience store or fast food stops.
- If possible, get a unit with at least a fridge and a microwave- Especially for longer trips, a unit that has a fridge and microwave, if not a full kitchenette is ideal, allowing you to do a quick grocery run for your necessities in advance as well as allowing you the option to store and use restaurant leftovers to save you money and open the door for healthier, perishable options.
- Make a plan when possible- If the travel situation allows, plan out general time frames or ideas for restaurants you want to check out or when you may have a meal in your room/at the hotel, while also ensuring you have enough healthy snacks to keep with you to sustain you throughout the day if your plans go awry and you cannot get your desired meal in.
- Utilize the hotel’s workout facilities- If you don’t want to get off track with your physical activity, find out how you can adjust your routine to work with the hotel’s facilities or incorporate other forms of exercise throughout your trip such as finding time to hike if you are on vacation, exploring the city on foot or by bicycle when possible, or finding a good body weight workout you can fit in in your hotel room!
These are just a few of the tricks that I have found helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even when traveling frequently!
Do you have any tricks you use to maintain your healthy lifestyle choices while traveling?
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Wishing you a happy, healthy week and safe travels wherever the year may take you!
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”