How do you keep your food when you travel?
R Are you ready to travel but not sure how to stick to your nutritional goals when traveling? It’s entirely possible to enjoy every ounce of vacation without overeating. Whether you’re venturing out to a new city, relaxing at a spa, or setting off on the open road, we all know how hard it can be to commit to our energetic vacation ideas once we leave the house.
Vacations are meant to get us back. Who wants to go home feeling bloated and lethargic after a week of eating and drinking a lot? Here’s how to stick to your nutrition plan when traveling, because you deserve to be back again, refreshed, and on the right track!
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1. Access to fast proteins
Stuck at the airport? Should you eat at a gas station? Choose some prepackaged protein, like low-sugar protein bars, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt, string cheese, and mixed nuts, suggests Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, owner of Revival Nutrition, LLC.
Be sure to get some shelf-stable options for the times when you just can’t find a healthy one. “Just be aware of the parts with these types of shots,” she warns. “Even if something appears to be packaged in individual servings, it often contains more than one.”
2. Shop for healthy fare at local markets.
Not every meal or snack has to be indulgent. Head to local markets and grocery stores for fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks to help you eat between meals. If you’re staying at a home or an Airbnb, you can also get some healthy ingredients to make nutritious and light meals, to offset some of the splurge you’ve been doing. Not only is it budget and saves calories, but shopping at the local grocery store is a fun way to get to know a new city or country!
3. Stick to a meal schedule.
While traveling definitely messes up your meal and sleep timings, Sabada suggests trying to stick to your regular meal times. Maintain your regular schedule, with three meals and snacks, she suggests.
Waste will happen! Enjoy it and go back to normal. “The next morning after very few glasses of wine, it’s not about penance or punishment,” she explains.
4. Use the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule is the idea that 80% of the time you will stick to your regular healthy eating plan of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. The other 20% of the time, you eat new or favorite foods.
“A dessert after dinner (or before that—ha!), a muffin for breakfast—this dessert won’t hold you back in the long run,” says Sabada.
5. Plan ahead.
Besides booking tours and excursions, also remember to research where to eat and what to eat before you leave for your trip. Take a peek at the listings to see where you might want to treat yourself. “Maybe a lighter breakfast on the day when dinner is more intense,” says Sabada.
But this also applies to your extra steps. “Find out walking routes or bike-sharing in an effort to stay active in vacation town without being banished to the hotel gym,” she continues.
6. Focus on local sweets.
If you’re going to get a treat, make it good! Avoid processed foods that you can easily go home. Instead of eating dessert at the gas station or fast food at the airport, discover the regional food scene.
“Maybe it’s a local ice cream parlor, Instagram-worthy chocolate shop next to your Airbnb, or your favorite neighborhood bakery, which makes it worth your while off the grid,” says Sabada. “You deserve more than a box of an old powder donut.”