When you’re on the road, healthy options can often be few and far between. Plus, whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, it can be challenging to even find the time to concentrate on your health with all of the distractions that surround you. However, travelling doesn’t mean that your healthy lifestyle needs to be placed on ‘pause’ – it’s absolutely possible to fuel your body while on vacations or work trips. The old adage ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ just doesn’t apply here, especially when the choices you make while you’re away can influence how you feel during your trip, and also have consequences long after you return home.
With these handy tips in mind, you can learn how to stay healthy while travelling so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest (or work with maximum efficiency).
Do some research before you go
No matter where you’re going, perform a little internet research about the food options at your destination. If you’re travelling to a large city, it’s likely you’ll find health food stores, farmers markets, whole food restaurants and large grocery stores. Scout where all these places are in location to where you’re staying, so if you need to grab ingredients or a healthy meal you won’t be stuck with fast food or baked goods at a coffee joint. The ACN blog has a growing list of healthy city guides, so check them out to see if your destination has been featured.
Stay in a place with a kitchen (or kitchenette)
Healthy travel is a breeze when you’re staying in a spot with a kitchen, or at the very least a kitchenette. This allows you to prepare fresh food whenever you like, and will likely save you some cash because you don’t have to rely on pricey restaurant meals. There are a ton of rental sites like Airbnb where you can find affordable, clean accommodations with functional kitchens that will help you keep your health on track.
Bring some kitchen tools with you
If you’re unsure of what tools will be available to you, bring along a few essentials to help you with healthy cooking. How much you take with you will depend on if you are flying, or using ground transportation like a car, bus or train. We like to bring a compact, single-serve blender to make smoothies and salad dressings, as it’s light and easy for air travel. A small cutting board and a knife are super helpful essentials for virtually every kind of meal (just be sure to put your knife in your checked baggage, not your carry on!). A mini spice kit is also handy to take along, as you can add flavour to your food without having to spend a fortune on full-size spices.
If you are travelling by car, you might want to pack a regular blender or food processor to help with meal prep, or bring along your favourite pan. You’ll also find a lot of chemical-laden cleaning supplies, so you could bring along a natural dish soap for cleaning.
For those who have allergies and are concerned about cross contamination, allergens can sneak into porous materials like plastic and wood even if they have been washed well. Pack a large cutting board and a small variety of utensils such as stirring spoons and spatulas. It’s also helpful to take a roll of parchment paper, which you can use to cover baking sheets or other surfaces for protection.
Load up on non-perishable foods and snacks
There is a wide variety of healthy, non-perishable snacks you can pack in your suitcase that will keep your hunger at bay. Foods like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, granola, gluten-free crackers, single serve nut butters, protein bars, dried or canned beans, protein powders and greens powders are relatively easy to travel with. When travelling by car, pack a cooler with fresh fruit and veggies. If you are travelling internationally with fresh produce, double check with that country’s border authority to see what you are allowed to bring with you.
For more healthy travel staples and meal ideas, check out:
- This video blog post about travel meal ideas
- How to Keep Nutrition On Track When Travelling with Kids
- 20 Best Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Snacks
- 10 Must-Haves for Gluten-Free Granola
- 25 Best Bite-Sized Snacks
Say no to plane food
Have you ever noticed that some people on planes seem to crack open the junk food as soon as the wheels lift off? Skip the processed plane food and sugary snacks, and bring along your own food instead. Roasted veggies, buddha bowls, hummus and veggies, rice wraps, quinoa or wild rice salads, home baked muffins, energy bites and bars are all great options. Animals products such as hard boiled eggs, cooked chicken or fish can work too – just be mindful of how stinky they are!
Pack helpful supplements
Digestive supplements can be incredibly helpful to take along with you on your travels. Digestive enzymes and bitters will aid with digestion, and probiotics will help keep our gut flora stable and healthy. You can also carry some immune-boosters like Vitamin C and Vitamin D, which will keep you system strong when confronted with unfamiliar germs (especially on those airplanes). Essential oils such as lavender can help keep you calm and protects the immune system, while lemongrass contains anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Don’t forget to move
It’s often more challenging to squeeze exercise into your schedule when traveling for work; however, long stretches of lying on the beach – even though this is relaxing! – can make you feel sluggish and stiff. Remember to move your body and practice gentle exercise – walking, stretching, yoga, swimming, or whatever you enjoy are all helpful.
What are your best tips for staying healthy while traveling?