Because I travel frequently, I often receive questions on how I stick to my healthy eating routine when I’m away from home or just on the go. It can definitely be tricky to eat clean when you’re somewhere that doesn’t serve salads or vegetables everywhere (ahem, Asia!). I also love to eat, and always indulge whenever I travel (sometimes too much!!)… to me, that’s one of the best parts of visiting a new place! I love diving into the local cuisine and getting a taste for every little thing they eat over there. As I’m sure you’ve seen from my travels or even big weekends in Dallas (like this last one when friends were in town!), I go big or go home. I’m super healthy and eat very clean when I’m home and cooking for myself, that way I don’t feel so guilty about indulging on weekends or trips. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to eating in moderation when I’m out with friends or traveling, but here are my tips on how to stay the course and come home regretting nothing.
#1: TAKE SNACKS WITH YOU
Before any flight, I always cut up a big apple and put it in a Ziploc to take with me on the plane. Knowing I have a yummy snack available and easy to eat will keep me from buying a bag of chips or candy at the airport or on the plane! If you know you’re going to be on a long flight and need an actual meal, prepare a salad at home and bring it with you in a throw-away container (like the ones they have at the Whole Foods salad bar)! The salads at the airport are never good, and the food they serve on the flights isn’t healthy. I’m also one of those people who has zero self-control with fast food at the airport, so having a healthy meal on hand keeps me out of trouble! When traveling internationally to somewhere you aren’t sure you’ll like the food, pack a few dry snacks you can eat throughout your trip: RX Bars, pistachios, turkey jerky, chia seed packaged snacks, etc! It’s just nice to have those on hand in the hotel room/AirBnB or in your handbag so you’re not tempted by every vendor you pass on the street.
#2: MAKE VEGETABLES OR SALAD THE FOCUS FOR ONE MEAL EVERY DAY
I may or may not have mentioned this before, but the key to me losing and maintaining my weight is to make sure I eat a healthy salad or vegetable-focused plate for at least one meal each day. When I’m at home, this means I’ll eat a salad for lunch and a vegetable-focused dinner with a protein. When I’m traveling I just plan to eat a salad at lunch – that way I feel less guilty about indulging a bit more at dinner! If salads aren’t your thing, try ordering a vegetable plate, egg white omelet with veggies or some other veggie-centric meal. Not every salad is healthy though – try to avoid salads with grains, croutons and a ton of bad stuff on them like bacon, cheese, etc. Since I don’t put a ton of bad things on my salads, I usually don’t worry much about the dressing, but you could always ask for lemon and olive oil if you’re afraid of the sugar content or calorie count! The point of this meal is to eat clean and avoid starchy foods at lunch, so that you can enjoy those later at dinner when you want pasta, ramen or whatever other delicacy the destination presents! When I eat this way, I rarely wake up feeling super bloated the next day… even when I’ve had a big dinner!
#3: GO TO THE GROCERY STORE RIGHT WHEN YOU ARRIVE
One thing I always do when arriving at a new destination is hitting up the local grocery or drug store to pick up lots of bottled water, fruit for breakfast (bananas and apples usually), coffee or tea, and any other healthy items I want to have on hand. Here’s another tip within a tip: eat breakfast at home. I’m way more likely to stick to a healthy routine all day if I start my mornings with a healthy, light breakfast of a smoothie, fruit, yogurt or egg whites. If I start out with something like a croissant, my inhibitions for all other meals that day will be lowered because I know I’ve already eaten something unhealthy! Maybe that’s just the way my mind works, but consider this before your next trip and see if it works for you.
#4: DRINK LOTS OF WATER
The last tip was a nice segway into this one, which is drink as much water as you can. For one, your body gets severely dehydrated when you fly. Two, a lot of times when you think you are hungry, it’s actually your body telling you it’s thirsty. Carry a water with you wherever you go so if you feel that pang of hunger too soon after a meal, give it a chug instead of reaching for a snack. If you get bored of regular tap water like I do sometimes, grab La Croix or some other type of sparkling water – it’s also great to have if you’re craving a cocktail but trying not to drink much!
#5: INDULGE WHEN IT MATTERS TO YOU
I’m too much of a foodie to miss out on a fabulous meal just because I’m trying to be healthy and eat well. If there’s a restaurant or dish you have been DYING to try/have, DO IT! Traveling is about new experiences, and you definitely should not hold back when it matters to you. I’m not saying indulge for dinner with carbs or a cheat meal every night if you’ve had a salad for lunch, but eat what you came to the restaurant for – if the place is known for their incredible pasta, get it! Eat with purpose – don’t just indulge to indulge because you’re on vacation.
#6: WHEN IN DOUBT, AVOID CARBS
This may not be true for everyone, but the easiest way for me to avoid bloat and maintain my weight on a trip is to avoid carbs. If I’m going to Italy, I’m definitely going to have my fair share of pasta and pizza. Who goes there without indulging in at least one bowl of carbonara?! With that said, I may not come back from my trip feeling as light and lithe as I did when I left… especially if I eat carbs every day. When I’m home and cooking for myself I nearly never eat carbs or starchy foods, so my body will definitely change on vacay if I overdo it in that department. When you’re traveling, just make the conscious choice to avoid eating carbs with every meal – if you’ve gotta have ’em, narrow it down to one meal a day. And maybe don’t make it the focus of the meal when you do want them! Maybe you share a salad and a pasta with your friend or beau, instead of eating the whole plate of pasta yourself.