Many people struggle to eat healthily when they travel. Travelling can often take a toll a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and energy patterns. Sometimes implementing simple strategies can be so effective in sticking to a decent balance whilst abroad be it a vacation or for work. Although it seems difficult not being able to select your regular snacks or home cooked foods, planning ahead before a trip can make things a lot easier. The tips below might be useful to you for your next trip away!
1. Blood sugar balance is vital. It is crucial to keep on top of your blood sugar levels which has an impact on energy levels, concentration and mood, weight management and adrenal health. When blood sugar levels are on a constant high and low, this can cause headaches, energy dips, cravings for sugary foods and carbohydrates, and mood swings. To balance your sugar levels, aim to have small meals every 3 hours, containing a good source of protein and complex carbohydrates. This can prevent the highs and lows in energy often experienced during the day. It is at these periods of ‘low energy and low sugar’ when you are more likely to grab something carb rich or sugary. This leads onto a vicious cycle of highs and lows throughout the day. Even at a restaurant, question yourself- where is your source of protein? Complex carbohydrates? Good fats?
- Cut back on sugary drinks including fizzy drinks and sugar juices, and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and potatoes. These can affect blood sugar levels but are also often lack in nutrients and worsen digestive symptoms such as constipation and bloating. Instead opt for wholegrains such as brown rice and quinoa instead as this will ensure to keep your gut health in check. Swap the fries for a salad, baby potatoes or sweet potato, and opt for carbonated water or plain water with a slice of lemon to enhance the flavour.
- Think about protein bars. You can now find these in most supermarkets. Just ensure to read the label to see how much protein VS how much sugar is actually in the bar. These bars are often quick and easy, and perfect for those on the go. They help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced thus fuller for longer. Protein bars are a much better alternative than sugary snacks. If you cannot find a good quality protein bar, then a small handful of nuts is a great alternative. Just ensure that these are without salt. Nuts are rich in protein and omega 3 fats, essential for hair, skin and nails. When booking for your trip, search for a hotel with a mini fridge so you can store good quality snacks in there even if it is small pots of low fat yoghurt.
- Breakfasts available in hotels and planes may have variety of cereals, jams, bread and juices, however instead opt for an egg based breakfast as this is protein rich, and coupled with vegetables in an omelette, this becomes an ideal and nutrient dense breakfast. Avoid sugary processed juices, condiments such as jams and sweets from the bakery selection as this will only contribute to unnecessary and refined sugars, trans fats and hidden salt.
- Travelling an often cause a havoc on the digestive system. Unexplained bloating or ‘travel bugs’ are not uncommon. Ensure to eat live yoghurt if available to top up on beneficial bacteria to support the gut microflora. Travel probiotics are also useful to carry around too. This is also supportive of the immune system and gut motility meaning you are less likely to be constipated!
- Keep a bottle of water with you. Avoid plastic bottles but other BPA free or non plastic bottles are useful to keep hydration levels topped up. This can also prevent unnecessary snacking.
- Keep a close watch on condiments, sauces and dressings as these can be packed with hidden calories, trans fats, sugars and salt, preservatives and additives. When you order a salad, ask for no dressing and opt for a slice of lemon on the side which you can squeeze on top as per taste. Black pepper is also useful to add on.
- Desserts can be very tempting especially on holidays however this is an easy way for sugars and fats to creep up. Ask for healthier options such as for low fat yoghurt, or a fruit platter. Or perhaps share a dessert with a friend or pal rather than having the entire dessert yourself.
- When eating out, you can always request for an open sandwich or to ditch the refined bun or bread and opt for a portion of veggies or salad on the side. Choose healthier methods of cooking such as the grilled or baked dish rather than deep fried. Remember, it is completely okay to order what you need. Don’t feel pressured to copy what your friends order.
- Travelling can be a great way to try out lots of international and new food. If you do indulge in fun and new dishes, then that is completely OK. Remember the 80/20 rule so if you are eating healthily and balanced for most days, then it is completely fine to indulge in moderation. Relationship with food is so important. Consider food as nourishing the body rather than simply to provide energy.