5 Tips to Eat Healthy When Holiday Traveling
Chances are, you’ll be traveling during the holiday season to reconnect with family and friends or take a much-needed vacation. While holiday travel can be great for your psyche, it can take a hefty toll on your health. The journey itself can be filled with stress—traffic, flight delays and causing a disruption in your sleep schedule and eating habits. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll likely face large festive meals not great for your waistline. If you have a smart action plan, though, you might be able to clear some of these hurdles to stay healthy and fit during the holiday season. Here are my 5 tips for dealing with holiday travel:
Make it happen, it’s worth it.
Have a plan. Think about all aspects of the trip and plan accordingly. Know your departure, arrival and layover times and use that to plan your meals. For example, if have a morning flight, arrange for enough time to eat breakfast at home before you leave, or if you are flying during your normal lunch time, then bring something with you to eat. This helps to keep you on your regular meal schedule and avoid the temptation to eat at the food court or on the plane.
We often underestimate the amount of time a trip can take. You must consider the time in the airport before your flight, and travel time to and from the airport. A two-hour flight could actually mean five to six hours of total travel time. Be sure to eat a meal full of protein and fiber, which will keep you feeling full for longer.
Stay hydrated. Airplane air just might be the driest air in the world. Also, hunger is amplified when you’re even slightly dehydrated. Combat both these afflictions by drinking plenty of water both before and inflight.
Bonus: this will require you to get up and stretch your legs at least a couple of times during the ride, which can reduce your sedentary time during the flight.
Get a full night’s rest. Make sleep a top priority on the night before your trip. Get the packing and other preparations done early in the day, so you’re not driving drowsy on the road or slugging through the airport with a fatigue headache. Research has shown skipping even a few hours of sleep can make you more susceptible to catching a cold the next day.
Stay active. Exercise will boost your energy and mood while traveling. Wear comfortable shoes so you can walk around the airport terminal instead of sitting down to wait for boarding. And make a few trips up and down the aisle during your flight, even if you don’t need the restroom. In the car, take breaks every two or three hours for a quick burst of fresh air and brisk walk around the service station.
Pick wisely and don’t be afraid to mix and match. Being aware of hidden calories, unhealthy fats, added sugars and salt are always important when comparing easy, quick convenience foods. Condiments (cheese sauces, sour cream, gravy, tartar sauce, salad dressings, and mayonnaise), pre-packaged foods (chips, crackers, and yogurt covered nuts or raisins), and some breakfast foods (croissants, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and flavored oatmeal) can all increase your sugar and salt intake, and can pack a lot of calories for very little nutrition benefit. Of course, it is always recommended to avoid fried foods, but prepared salads (tuna, chicken, egg, potato, pasta) can also be filled with extra unhealthy fat calories.
Some more nutritious choices may include: fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt, grilled chicken, baked potato (with butter or low fat sour cream on the side and no cheese), salad with an olive-oil based dressing on the side, sandwiches on whole grain or pita bread, or a grilled fish sandwich.
If you can’t find a whole meal at one restaurant that satisfies you, don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Incorporating these simple tips will help you enjoy your holiday travel , but keep the unwanted pounds away. I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite tips or strategies you use to maintain your waistline when traveling? Comment below!