Most of us have a summer vacation planned, whether it’s a “stay-cation”, road trip, or vacation to the beach. Vacations and traveling can be tricky if you’re not prepared; it’s easy to veer off track with the healthy habits we’ve integrated into our normal daily living. The first step to take when traveling is planning, just as you would plan ahead to get a hotel, car, and think of activities, apply the same planning to your nutrition and exercise plan while you’re traveling.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY TRAVELING:
1 // Stay active. This one is probably the least difficult to incorporate, many vacations include sightseeing, walking, shopping, or even swimming in the ocean- all of which will keep you moving. An added bonus if your hotel or resort has a gym that you can get a quick weight session in!
2 // Stay hydrated. Being out in the sun, sweating, drinking cocktails (hey, it’s vacation right!), and moving around will naturally dehydrate you a bit, it’s important to keep water by your side all day long. It’ll also help you from mistaking hunger for thirst. Be sure you’re paying attention to your urine, that’s the best indicator of your hydration (pale-yellow/clear).
3 // Pack food. I never leave the house when traveling without teas, plant-based protein powders, hemp seeds, chia seeds (great for digestion), granola bars, or homemade muesli. Check out my Travel Food Survival Kit for more of my favorites to bring.
4 // Bring snacks. If you’re walking long distances or out and about enjoying the city you’re visiting, be sure to bring a couple snacks with you that you can munch on just in case you’re not by food or when hunger strikes! A couple of my favorites would be trail mix, raw nuts/seeds like almond or sunflower seeds, and of course fruit!
5 // Know your markets. The first thing I do when traveling is scope out the local markets or grocery stores to stock up on raw veggies, fruits, and other things that require a fridge that I couldn’t bring with me while traveling.
6 // Hotel kitchen. Try to get a hotel room with a mini-fridge, teapot, or microwave- most do. This will help you keep a couple snacks on hand in your room to bring with you for the day. My tops: raw carrots, cucumbers, lemons, avocados, bag of organic spinach, fruits, and any other raw produce you can pick up at a local market.
7 // Research local dining spots. Ask the locals where they eat for healthy dining out options. Most often than not, eating the cuisine of the locals is healthier than eating at an American franchise. Think of visiting Mexico for example, you’re better off eating an authentic Mexican cuisine full of fresh ingredients than going to a Mexican franchise restaurant you could easily eat in the states.
8 // Start with a salad. When dining out try to start with a salad or any other vegetable heavy dish that’s available. This will not only help keep you full, but also help with digestion and ensuring you’re getting those veggies in!
9 // When in doubt, ask. Always ask the locals, those around you, and even waiters what the healthiest options are on the menu or local spots to try. They know what they’re talking about!
10 // Give and take attitude. Remember, it’s vacation! It’s a time to enjoy everything that’s going on with the activities and company that’s surrounding you- enjoy the food as well without guilt by planning out the rest of your day with healthy eats as much as possible. Setting yourself rules will help! (i.e. I will make breakfast from my hotel room of oatmeal, fruit, hard boiled eggs, etc.).
I hope these tips last you year round when you find yourself traveling!
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is an internationally known Registered Dietitian, wellness nutritionist and the creator of Nutrition Stripped, a guide to living whole and well. Visit her blog for nourishing recipes, advice on living the whole lifestyle, and for nutrition expertise and advice. She hosts supper clubs in Nashville seasonally, hosts workshops, retreats and cooking videos. The Nutrition Stripped cookbook is available for pre-order here. Follow McKel: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.