With the disruption in your routine, long days and eating meals out every night, it can be tough to make healthy choices when traveling.
“When you’re at home, you maybe plan your meals out for the week, but when you’re on vacation, you might be going out to dinner or getting ice cream every day,” says Megan Leith, owner of BarreTend. But she’s quick to point out, “It’s okay to do that. We don’t need to get upset with ourselves. We can allow ourselves to get that ice cream or splurge a little bit.”
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Nutritionist Sara Jank, MS, RDN, CDN, agrees but adds it is important to balance it out because “taking care of your body during traveling can help you feel better and more energized during your trip.”
Both say the key to success is planning ahead.
“Even if it is supposed to be a short trip, you never know how things will work out. Bringing your own satisfying snacks can help reduce the potential to overeat when it is mealtime or to be left with snack options at the airport that don’t align with your health goals. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are easy and packable. I also always bring my own empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain as soon as I am done with security,” says Jank.
She adds that thinking ahead can help find restaurants with healthier options. “Look for veggie options and keep in mind that portion sizes when out to eat can be quite large.”
It can also be helpful to slow down while eating out. “Try to be mindful while you are eating, putting your fork down between bites and taking time to enjoy the company of those you are with. Check-in with yourself during your meal to determine if you are actually still hungry and still enjoying the food, or if you are approaching a feeling of being over-full. Consider asking for a to-go box at the start of the meal and putting a portion of your food away at the beginning,” says Jank.
When it comes to working out, Leith says she usually does research about local yoga studios and fitness centers before any trips, so she can schedule a few classes. Plus, she always brings her running shoes. There are a lot of options for working out, whether it is going to a class, logging into Zoom or YouTube, walking or running, or doing your own body weight moves in your hotel.
Regardless of the exercise option, Leith recommends getting up early to fit it in. “Once you get started with your day, it’s so hard to stop and say you have to work out or go to that class I scheduled. Getting it done in the morning is really helpful.”
But Leith adds, it is important to give yourself a break and recharge if you need to. “I see so many women who come into BarreTend, and they’re not putting in that rest time. , That’s something we’re trying to focus on more, doing the yoga classes, the stretching classes, going for walks and just taking that time off because a lot of women don’t even take one single day off of working out. If you’re used to doing something super intense, it’s okay to give yourself permission to go for a walk or a light jog to rest your body.”