Staying Healthy While Traveling During the Holidays
Have a plan to minimize stress and reduce post-party guilt.
During the holiday season, many people are visiting family and friends. But traveling long distances in the car or on a plane can put demands on our bodies. Staying healthy on the road can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Having a plan will help minimize stress and reduce post-party guilt from too many cocktails or cookies.
Here are a few recommendations for staying healthy while traveling:
1. Have the mindset of flexibility. Perhaps you just started a nutrition program or have a health coach. You know you will be eating out while traveling. In other words, you will not have direct control over what you will be consuming. Have it in your mind that you will still maintain the structure of your plan and remain open to trying samples of new food items. This is a recipe for success because you are not depriving yourself and can enjoy decadent foods in moderation.
2. Prepare by packing. Will you be on the road for 4 hours, 8, or more? Having protein-rich snacks along the way will help maintain normal blood sugar levels, which wards off fatigue, stomach rumbles, and prevents you from being "hangry" and taking it out on your car-mates. Some examples might be light string cheese, low-sodium beef jerky, hard-boiled eggs, protein bars or powder, and peanut butter and rice cakes.
3. Be aware of your portions. Unless you are comfortable scrambling for your measuring cups at an Applebee’s, knowing a rough estimate of your portions will be extremely helpful. Do you know what a cup of rice looks like on a plate? (1 cup of rice is about the size of your fist). Practice measuring things out at home before traveling to keep portion sizes in mind
4. Know your swaps. If you know you are going to indulge in ice cream cake for dessert (carbohydrate source), you may want to skip the bread basket at dinner. In this example, you are still sticking to your eating plan but simply swapping out carbohydrate sources.
5. Enjoy yourself. Eat slowly, savor each bite, and eat mindfully. Put your fork down after each bite. Engage in conversation. Laugh. Enjoy life. You are celebrating with friends and family.
6. Stay hydrated. Especially if you are flying to your destination, carry an empty water bottle in your carry-on and fill it up with water after you get past security. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight, because of pressure changes and dry air in flight. How much water you should drink depends on how long the flight is. According to the Aerospace Medical Association, you should drink about 8 ounces of water for every hour in the air. Staying hydrated helps you stay alert and decreases fatigue and nausea.
Ultimately, you can stay healthy as long as you plan ahead. Safe travels, and have a Happy New Year.