For some, summertime brings anywhere from lavish vacations to weekend road trip escapes. Either way, stepping outside the norm of a routine while trying to maintain a nutrition and fitness plan can be challenging. We’ve devised five go-to tips to help keep you on track while traveling.
It may go without saying, but planning ahead is one of the most important factors to consider when keeping health in mind while traveling. Setting out on a long trip in the car? Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruits, nuts, or low-sugar protein bars to avoid last-minute fast food decisions when hunger strikes mid-highway. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be packed in small coolers, as well as water bottles for hydration. If space prohibits room for snacks, be strategic about when and where to stop for snacks. Many larger gas stations have started to sell fresh foods and brands that sell healthy options. Making stops along the way is also an opportunity to stretch the body. Choose to park farther away from the entrance of a gas station or restaurant for added steps, or find a rest stop with space to take a short walk. Planning your route in advance can help inform where may be best to take a pit-stop.
Get Creative with Workouts
Who says workouts can ONLY be done in the gym? Not us. It’s not always realistic to expect every hotel chain or Airbnb to come equip with a state-of-the-art gym facility, but that doesn’t mean your workouts should be put on hiatus. Take 15-20 minutes to complete simple in-room bodyweight workouts using the bed or chairs to simulate gym moves, or higher intensity cardio intervals like jumping jacks, burpees or high-knees. The key is to (safely) activate similar muscles you would with gym equipment and increase your heart rate. Taking a cue from the first tip, planning ahead can also be crucial in making fitness a priority while traveling. Bring packable elastic bands or small weights for resistance workouts and schedule downtime within travel itineraries for physical activity.
Don’t Fear TSA
It’s a common misconception that absolutely NO food is allowed through airport security – and it’s not true! In the U.S., TSA allows almost every type of food through checkpoints. However, regulations around liquids still apply (3.4 oz or less) and all foods must be wrapped or in a container. Pre-packaged snacks and fresh, unpeeled fruits and vegetables are fair game, but any half-eaten produce must be wrapped. Of course, all foods must pass through the X-ray scanner, and homemade foods may be subject to additional screening. What does this mean for the meal-planning jet-setter? With a bit of preparation (and extra carry-on luggage space) it’s possible to stay on track while traveling across the country – or world!
For any trip longer than a few days, it may be smart to explore local options for healthy, fresh foods. Make a small effort to stop by a grocery store or farmer’s market at your destination for healthy produce to stock in your hotel room or pack on the go, or survey the healthy restaurant landscape and make a reservation in advance. While it’s perfectly acceptable – and encouraged – to indulge on vacation, finding local options that are familiar to what may be included in a routine meal plan can keep you from splurging too often.
“Complimentary” Does Not Mean “Mandatory”
Airline companies, hotel chains and restaurants are all a part of the service industry – and likely your travel plans. Each have strategies to keep customers happy, often times through complimentary food or drink. It’s second-nature for us to accept free things, but don’t forget: you have a choice. There is no rule that mandates you to take and consume a bag of in-flight pretzels or hotel pillow chocolates. Flight attendants and hotel service workers won’t be offended if you choose not to take the treat – we promise! Keep your nutritional needs a priority and don’t feel obligated to accept otherwise empty calories.
Interested in learning more about your own nutritional needs related to your health and fitness goals? Speak with our expert nutrition coaches!