A lot of our conditioning around food comes from living a hyper-busy life. Think about it: if you had 12 hours per day with nothing to do, you might start making new types of food from scratch instead of reaching for fast food and instant meal solutions.
Photo by Brian Wallace
One of the most busy times is during travel, when food is either an inconvenience or turns into a massive drain of energy.
If you plan on traveling this summer on vacation, for work, or to visit friends and family then this article is for you.
Here are my tried and true ways of staying healthy (and not getting sick!) while you’re traveling.
1. Drink lots of water
That’s because we tend to be more rushed, to be thrown out of our routine, and to forget to hydrate. It also happens that you never know when you’re going to have access to a source of drinkable water, so always carry a reusable water bottle with you.
2. When in doubt, eat less
One thing I noticed when I travel is that people seem to eat more. Either because the plane / train is trying to sell lots of snacks, or because there’s nothing to do.
I’ve been there before: between a long flight, a never ending bus ride, or a 10 hour car ride… there’s not much to do unless you’re the one driving. So you dig into the snacks in an effort to stay awake or keep your energy up.
What does all of this increased snacking lead to? First, it causes major stomach traffic jams because you’re eating different foods in quick succession. It also leads to major bloating and constipation. It’s no wonder travel messes with our regular bowel movement schedules.
That’s why I recommend you keep your snacks and meals to within a few hours of each other. Bring a book or take a nap instead of entertaining yourself with food.
3. Research juice bars and restaurants
One thing I love about the internet is that you can research the restaurants and juice bars before you even set foot in a place. Make sure that the local listings are accurate, since restaurants and stores open and close without necessarily updating their sites.
I love “Happy Cow” for vegetarian and raw-friendly restaurant reviews. You can search by location and drill down from there.
If you end up at a restaurant that you didn’t research then check out my article on how to eat raw when you eat out.
4. Bring something you can eat on the go
One thing that is predictable about travel is the uncertainty. You never know when you’re going to get a chance to refuel (your car or your body) and that means preparation is key.
Although I recommend keeping snacking to a minimum, it’s better to have your own snacks on hand than to react to your hunger and eat something really unhealthy.
Here are some travel-friendly foods to pack:
- Baby carrots
- Sliced veggies: celery, cucumber, bell peppers
- Dried nuts and seeds in a trail mix
- Dehydrated green smoothies
- Fruit: apples, berries, citrus
5. Go to the grocery store
As soon as you arrive to your destination, make a trip to the grocery store. Most of the time you can grab a few staples, something green, and be on your way in less than 20 minutes.
It makes a huge difference when you have your go-to fruits and veggies for breakfast or snacks. If you can get your hands on a blender or juicer, then all the better. If not, don’t worry – you can always get back on the wagon when you get home.
6. Sleep and rest generously
This isn’t so much about food as it is about giving your body what it needs, but it does tie in to what you eat.
You see, if you don’t get enough sleep then you’re going to be reaching for something sugary or caffeinated to kickstart your body. That’s not the way to go, because it leads to a vicious cycle of sugar ups and downs and will definitely not leave you feeling refreshed.
So make sure you get some good shut eye while you’re traveling.
7. Focus on water rich foods
If you’re going to be veering off your usual way of eating, make sure you’re compensating with lots of water rich foods.
That means if you’re having something a little dehydrating like some wine or coffee, then follow it up with some fresh coconut milk or a green juice. (Both are great hangover cures too!)
Instead of having something salty like salted peanuts, reach for sliced munchable veggies.
Are you counting your miles?
Remember to stay grounded and take some time for yourself when you’re traveling. If you want to see someone who knows how to keep a regular schedule even when he travels, check out my friend Chris Guillebeau.
He’s on a mission to visit every country in the world, and he’s keeping to a vegetarian diet while doing it. He’s also got a great guide for anyone who wants to get lots of frequent flyer points without the flying.
Where are you off to?
Now I’m really curious about where everyone is going. Personally, I’m going to Miami, then Ottawa for the Healthy Living Festival, then back to Quebec to visit my family.
Family is a theme that runs throughout my travels this time, what about you… why are you traveling and where to?