Travel and healthy eating. Are these two opposing thoughts or complementary possibilities? The purpose, whether business or pleasure, often guides your viewpoint and approach to eating. Do you take travel as permission to eat however, whatever and with abandon? Do you travel for business dreading how to mitigate the damage from hotel happy hours and client dinners? I’ll tackle these questions and challenges that arise from eating on the road in my Healthy Eating Travel Series. I’ll provide tips on how to maintain your health goals without too much denial. So this means you can indulge on vacation? Of course it does. We all need a break and vacation is a time to enjoy, but without setting you back months in your wellness achievements.
How do I know? Cause I’m the person that doesn’t exercise on vacation. That enjoys drinks, desserts and the food of the region without worrying if it fits my personal health guidelines. I take a vacation.
This first installment starts at the end. The return home. Why? Because I was inspired by my own travels and often working backwards helps you plan for the approach. Will you feel more confident about your food choices – whether indulging or conscious – if your kitchen is prepared for your return? A well-stocked kitchen or freezer with healthy meal options, a meal plan ready for implementation, or some short cut resources helps you muddle through until you can replenish your clean eating supplies. This goal is important because you will be able to mitigate any damage done on the trip faster, bounce back into your health routine seamlessly, and decrease the time spent agonizing how to return to your health goals.
Top Travel Tips:
- Make extras of meals cooked/prepped the week prior to your trip and put them in the freezer. Made too much of that chili? Didn’t finish those lentil patties? Just freeze them the day before you leave and pull them out upon your return. If a late flight back, pull them out to defrost over night for an easy lunch the next day. One of my favorites is Semolina Quinoa Spinach Cakes. Eat some now, save some for later. Put the whole pan with foil or plastic wrap covering it directly in the freezer. Make it simple.
- Stock the fridge and pantry with easy to prep staples or even packaged if necessary – quinoa, oats, rice, mixed nuts, beans, frozen veggies. Even freeze meats for easy weeknight prep. Grass fed ground beef. Individually portioned chicken breasts.
- Ensure a grocery store trip is possible within a day or two of your return for at least some staples. Items such as apples, nuts, fish, arugula, veggies for sautéing.
- The week of your return try to lay low socially. Avoid too many social engagements that will tempt you to eat out and drink more. I use this time to catch up on work, house items; knowing that in a week I will return to my active social life.
- BUT, make sure you have some fun incorporated so you don’t dread the return – splurge on Wholefoods hot bar or maybe try that new sushi restaurant. Savor that dark chocolate you brought back from your travels. Too rigid rules will lead to self-sabotage. Budget in fun healthy ways to indulge post vacation.
- If a short trip (2 – 3 night), shop the day prior to your trip for items to cook immediately upon your return. Most things like fresh vegetables, eggs, yogurt, fruit, and well packaged meat will last up to 3 days in a fridge not continually opened.
- Meal plan before you leave; choosing interesting meals, but with minimal prep. Often when I return from vacation, although I’m inspired from local cuisine or dining out, I don’t feel like cooking. It’s been a nice break! It is easier to incorporate these fun ideas into known dishes then spend time investing in some totally new dishes. Treat the return as a mini-detox.
- Healthy meals after days or week(s) of eating on the road. Clean, home cooked food.
- Food to give you energy and sustenance for those post vacation work emails.
- Escape the health deficit from eating on the road. Rather than be in the minus, maintain your health goals; facilitating the new progress.
- Easier to jump back into the health routine with less withdrawal symptoms.
- Confidence and faith in your abilities to maintain health while still indulging responsibly. Ultimately reducing self-sabotage.
Stay tuned for further installments on eating well on vacation, international travel, road warrior’s business travel tips, and family road trips. Have an idea or question? Don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org