Staying healthy is a lifestyle that takes commitment and ongoing effort to maintain. Frequent travel can add up to a host of obstacles that could derail the habits we’ve worked so hard to develop. Whether you fly frequently for work or plan to take an extended trip, having tools to keep you on track while you travel can keep you motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter where you are.
#1: Decide Your Food Protocol
If you are on a ketogenic or low carb diet, planning ahead will be of the utmost importance. Airports have few options, so do your best to eat before you arrive. Pick up a snack box high in protein and fat from a café or grab a bag of organic beef jerky before you board so you aren’t tempted by the flight attendant’s offer of carb-laden pretzels, cookies and candy.
Intermittent fasting is my favorite option, which is to simply abstain from eating until you have food options that serve you. The benefits of IF are far-ranging and go beyond the scope of this article, but I highly recommend Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s podcast to learn more about the subject. You can ward off hunger by drinking herbal tea, coffee, and sparkling or still water. To boost adherence, I use Zero, a mobile App for tracking fasts that uses a simple yet wildly effective timer.
Another option is to use the IIFYM, which stands for “If It Fits Your Macros”. Depending on where you are, local cuisine can and should be a big part of your experience. Using IFFYM, you can embrace the freshly-baked baguettes with divine cheese in Paris, or indulge in a plate of pasta after a long day of exploring. With this protocol, you calculate your daily budget of macronutrients you can eat and, regardless of the source, eat whatever you want within that budget. Though this diet skips over the quality of the foods you eat, it can certainly come in handy when on the road. Learn more about IIFYM with this article from SELF.
#2: Stock Up on Clean Eats
Once you get to your destination, scope out the nearest store and stock up your mini fridge or backpack with whole, ready-to-eat foods that you can take with you while in transit or exploring. Pre-hard boiled eggs, raw almonds, fresh or dried fruit and vegetables, individually-wrapped humus, guacamole, yogurt cups and beef jerky can make for easy small meals and snacks while you’re on the road.
#3: Work Exercise in Naturally
Long road trips aside, there are plenty of opportunities for travelers to walk, hike, run, swim, surf, ski, snowshoe, and more. Take advantage of walking tours, bike rentals, or other low-impact activities like kayaking. The key is to move as much as possible while sightseeing, and take advantage of every opportunity to get your heart rate up. Taking the stairs each time you take the subway for instance can elevate your heart rate enough to induce the health benefits of HIIT training. My secret weapon is packing a skipping rope and resistance bands and doing body-weight workouts that you can find on Pinterest or Instagram.
#4: Order off the Kids Menu or Order Off the Menu
Most restaurants really don’t care whether you are under 12 years old or not. I enjoyed a perfectly satiating meal at a spot just off the Santa Monica Pier that had rice, white fish, avocado, salsa and black beans. Not only was it a perfect portion size, it was healthy and simple–and came in at under $8 USD. Another option is to order an assortment of side dishes instead of an entrée, and you’d be surprised how accommodating most restaurants are when you ask for a side of steamed vegetables, poached eggs, baked potatoes, and other items not listed on the menu.
#5: Use Essential Oils
Circling back to the intermittent fasting strategy, I always pack a roll-on essential oil blend when I travel to help me relax and take my mind off the person across the plane from me eating a burger and fries. Simply roll it on your wrists and take a deep breath when you start to feel cravings. My favorite is Crave Away from Saje Wellness. It uses sweet benzoin and fennel to relax the nervous system, refreshing spearmint and peppermint to create a sense of satisfaction, and orange, grapefruit and lemon essential oils to cut sugar cravings.
Whether you use one or all of these strategies while you jet-set, it is important to be kind to yourself and remember that a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Travelling allows us rare opportunities to try new things and relish in new experiences that I promise you’ll remember much more vividly than the workouts you missed.