When you're trying to eat healthy and maintain a wellness-based lifestyle, traveling often makes it hard to stay on track. Your schedule is thrown off, food options seem to be nothing but fast food and sleep is rarely a priority when you're exploring a new place. Luckily, there's good news! Today, there are way better (and healthier!) options than ever before. Here are my suggestions for how to keep from tipping the scale when you get home from your trip.
1. Make time for a meal.
Staying at the top of your wellness game is tough when you haven't eaten, especially if you're headed straight from the airport to a meeting or conference. I know my hosts mean well when they have cheese and crackers or fruit trays waiting, but no one can live on cheese and crackers alone!
Instead, try to leave yourself enough time for a proper meal. Whether you bring something from home to eat on the plane (instead of in-air "food"), take the time to sit down in a restaurant in the airport or leave yourself a window to stop for real, whole food on the road from the airport, starting your trip off with a wholesome meal is crucial. Start the trip off on the right note food-wise and you'll be grateful you did.
2. Plan and pack ahead.
If I can, I pack food for my trips. Sometimes it's raw veggies for the flight so I'm not stuck with pretzels or peanuts. If I have the space, I'll pack my Nutribullet blender or shaker cup, portion out protein powder and hit a grocery store after landing to pick up almond milk, fruit and veggies for smoothies.
You know that standard hotel breakfasts of waffles and other sugary carbs aren't going to be the best way to start your days, so take control of your food situation and plan ahead.
3. Seek out healthy options at the airport.
If I don't have time to pack food or stop at a restaurant, airport concession stands are a good alternative ... if you know what to look for. The keys to look for are high protein, low salt, low sugar and hydrating ingredients. Look for protein bars, nuts, fresh fruit and bottled water.
Not only are these foods good for you in general, they'll help with the inevitable bloating and dehydration that comes with airplane travel and change of location. Your digestive tract and energy levels will thank you.
4. Familiarize yourself with your destination.
Boulder, Colorado is my home base and I'm very lucky in that it's a health-minded city full of vegan, organic, healthy restaurants. But when I leave — especially if I go abroad — I find it difficult to easily stumble on healthy food options. So I do research ahead of time! Look for grocery stores and restaurants that fit into your lifestyle, and spent time preparing a list of where and how you can eat once you arrive. If you know the options are limited, make sure you pack enough stuff from home.
5. Fit in a little movement.
I used to be super-neurotic about exercise, obsessed with getting a full workout in, even when traveling. But I realized it's way harder to make time for daily exercise while traveling than it is to eat the right way, so I make sure to work out extra hard before I leave and when I'm back to take the pressure off when I'm on the road.
If it's a long trip, bring running shoes and try to at least get a daily walk in, or check out a yoga class the locals love. Even taking the stairs up to your hotel room will make a difference, and can serve the added benefit of helping you relax between the craziness of travel.
You're not always going to be able to eat healthy when traveling, so be kind to your body before and after a trip. Lay off the sugar, salt and caffeine, and detox your body with smoothies, rehydrate with lots of water and use a few drops of peppermint oil to fight inflammation. Most of all, be gentle to yourself.