How To: Travel & Still Eat Healthy

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I just got back from Texas where I attended a 4 day yoga training, and got inspired to write this very post. One of my favorite things to do is travel, but there's no doubt that it's challenging to stick to your healthy eating habits when you're on the go. Over the years and adventures I've had, I've thought this through a lot and I will surely continue to refine and learn new ways to make this easier. For now, here are my thoughts on traveling while still maintaining something that resembles a healthy diet. ​
Two disclaimers:
1) I truly believe that what works for me may not work for you. It's just like fine tuning an exercise routine. We all have to find the right balance of what exactly works best for us. If you have read my Exercise Manifesto (linked here) then you'll remember that I firmly believe in small decisions and consistency over big dramatic choices. To me, the same goes for a healthy diet. Hence this post is not necessarily giving you a specific grocery list or specific things to eat, but simply sharing my perspective to prove that you, too, can choose wisely with your own set of preferences and dietary guidelines. For example, I eat dairy. You may not. The point is, with exercise and diet, we are all wired differently and I embrace the attitude of making the right (and healthy) decisions that are tailor made for Y-O-U. Look at it this way: It's a constant experiment, so just keep tweaking it as you continue to learn.

... It's a constant experiment, so just keep tweaking it as you continue to  learn. 

​2) When you travel (even if it's for business and you barely leave the hotel... yuck!) I believe in having treats along the way. What is the point of being in Philadelphia if you don't try a cheesesteak? Or visiting Chicago and not trying deep dish pizza? Which, actually, really drives my whole point home. Choose healthy options, make them easily available, and decide to stick to them for the majority of your meals, so that you CAN try the local things and really enjoy them.Here's what I did for my recent 5 night visit to Texas, with details listed below:
1) Packed healthy snacks.
2) Went to the grocery store.
3) Chose wisely when at restaurants, so that I could splurge when I wanted to.

• Packed healthy snack options...
I literally packed them in my suitcase. These included oranges, cashews, almonds, and a couple protein bars. When I needed a snack, I had several healthy options already there.

Lesson: Have healthy things available so that you don't reach for a Snickers.

• Went to the grocery store...
When I arrived, the first thing I did was walk to Whole Foods and get some groceries. This works great as long as your hotel has a mini-fridge, which most of them do now. I bought Greek yogurt for all 5 breakfasts, apples, bananas, lemons, a box of salad (arugula), a small bottle of salad dressing, and deli turkey. Oh, and wine. Obviously.

I was able to go ahead and PLAN to eat these things. It took the decision out of "what am I going to eat?" for all 5 breakfasts, a lunch, and a supper. Because I had planned ahead and made these foods available, I didn't get tempted to go out for a less than healthy option. In the mornings, I woke up, had my warm lemon water like I do every morning at home, a piece of fruit and Greek yogurt. I was able to make a simple but tasty salad with the arugula, turkey, and salad dressing for 1 lunch and 1 supper.

Lesson: Again, have healthy options available and decide to stick to them. I had already purchased them, so it made the decision very easy.

• Went to restaurants for lunches and suppers with friends...
When I travel, I try to eat decently healthy for at least 2 out of 3 meals per day. This includes when I'm at a restaurant. Because I stuck to a healthy plan for the majority of my meals, I had the freedom to go out to lunch or supper with friends and get whatever I wanted. Yes, sometimes I'll get a healthy salad. But then sometimes I'll get the cheeseburger and fries. Or spaghetti and meatballs. I don't want to brag, but I'm kind of a spaghetti and meatballs connoisseur. Oh, and we had an amazing meal at a steakhouse one night with steak, potatoes and lobster mac and cheese. (That meal was huge. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas.) See?? Choose wisely for MOST meals, and savor your splurges. I will probably never decide to just whip up some lobster mac and cheese at home, so I made a decision to enjoy it when it was available. I didn't feel guilty about eating so richly since I'd had healthy meals for the other 2 meals that day.

If I choose wisely most of the time, then I still get to experience some splurges here and there without completely wrecking a healthy diet. I feel so much better (physically) when I can be this thoughtful with my meals. I think this is one reason that we have the tendency to have digestive issues when traveling...we just get careless and we choose foods that are too rich, too often. I have done that soooo many times. However, you'll notice that when you do adopt a healthy diet, if you go back to a certain food, soda, snack, etc., that is not "healthy", you will feel awwwwwful. Your body is trying to speak to you. Why don't we listen?

Lesson: At restaurants, stop and think "is this a good choice? Is this my splurge today?" before you order.

I'm going to round this post off with a short list of easy and practical tips to keep you feeling tip top when you travel.7 EASY Tips That I Stick To When Traveling:
• Drink water. LOTS of it.
• If I'm flying, I'll drink a SmartWater, or something similar, since flying is so dehydrating. I also buy these Nuun Tablets with electrolytes that pack very easily and dissolve in water. They are great for flying, if you're going to be active/sweaty, or anytime you're feeling a little dehydrated.
• I have warm lemon water every morning. So, yes, I pack or buy lemons. This hydrates your body first thing in the morning, boosts digestive function and immune system.
• Buy a few practical groceries if you can. It is healthier and cheaper.
• I choose to eat healthy for 2 out of 3 meals.
• I only eat when I'm hungry. If I have a big breakfast/brunch on vacation, I may not even need lunch. Maybe I'll have a healthy snack (nuts, fruit, etc.) in between to last until supper.
• I stick to my Exercise Manifesto: move a little every day.

Got some tips of your own? Comment below and let me know! I'm all ears for any tips to help make life easier.
Love, Light & Safe Travels!

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