21 Important Travel Tips that Make it Easy to Stick to Your Healthy Food Resolutions.
I travelled the first 10 days of January and it reminded me of how easy it is make unhealthy choices all along the way; from airports to restaurants. Travelling can pose endless opportunities to eat poorly and feel unwell
Eating in restaurants can turn into pure debauchery every meal unless we know how to handle the inevitable high calorie restaurant food, not to mention the temptation to over eat. It's fine with me to indulge a bit more while traveling, especially in Europe. But weight gain has to stay within arms reach, so it's easily removed once we get home and back to our healthy routines. Here are some travel tips to keep your biological home healthy, until you return home.
Part 1: Travelling Tips
1. Pack a probiotic.
Use a shelf stable probiotic daily while travelling. Eat plenty of fibrous foods like leafy greens to help maintain healthy digestion, as digestion issues are common while on the move.
2. Pack your own plane snacks.
Make or buy veggie wraps, vegetable sushi roll, salads, a few pieces of fresh fruit, sprouted nuts, seeds or gluten free pretzels. PS: don’t pack yogurt and nut- butters if you are flying as they are considered liquid and will be confiscated.
3. Walk the airport.
Get in as many steps as possible on travel days as well as when you get to your destination. It will help you sleep better and burns a few calories in case overeating occurs on personal or business stays.
4. Start every day right.
On vacation, start your morning with fruit and order a big colorful salad for lunch. That way you’ve covered most of the nutrients you need and can be less accountable for the dinner meal.
5. Leave something behind.
If you travelled somewhere wonderful for vacation, try not to feel the need to eat everything in sight because you can’t take it home as a souvenir. You will return one day and the amazing pizza and pastries will still be there.
Airplane travel is dehydrating. A lack of humidity in the cabin air can lead to dehydration if you're not careful. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the flights and coconut water is great to get the electrolytes.
Part 2: Hacking Restaurant Menus
Eating away from our kitchens is the reality on a lot of days. Dining out is fun but definitely less healthy than eating at home because it’s impossible to know what ingredients, oils and taste-enhancers are in restaurant meals.
I’ve had a lot of experience hacking restaurants menus to create healthier dishes. It feels good to take a mindful minute for self care, at different points throughout the day, and ordering food is definitely one of those times. Having it your way is easier than you think.
1. Read the whole menu.
The most helpful information is on the menu. Read the menu start to finish and make a mental list of all the healthy fresh ingredients the kitchen has on hand that day. If the steak comes with hen-of-the- woods mushrooms, then you know you can use the mushrooms in your healthy dish.
2. Don’t be shy.
Be polite but assertive about asking for substitutions on the menu. Chefs are usually very happy to accommodate food allergies and restrictions. Ask your server kindly for their help. For example, ask: what can I get instead of fries, bacon, oily croutons?
3. Make substitutions.
For instance; order grilled, if an item is fried. Change potatoes to a green vegetable. For a burger or burrito, substitute the bun or wheat-wrap for a piece of lettuce.
4. Portion control.
Try to split your entree with someone or be prepared to eat half of a large entree and box the other half. Swap the ratio of protein to vegetables. Ask for a smaller portion of protein and a larger portion of salad and vegetables.
5. Always ask how the food was prepared.
Very often restaurant food is filled with hidden calorie-dense oils, butter or white bread crumbs. Restaurants know how to make food taste good but very often, at the expense of our health.
6. Read between the lines.
Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, parmesan, cheese sauce, scalloped, au lait, à la mode, or au fromage is usually loaded with hidden fats—much of it saturated or even trans fats.
7. Try double appetizers.
If there is a nice selection of healthy plant- based and light seafood appetizers, consider skipping the entrée and having two appetizers, one to start and one for your meal. Often, that is more than enough food to feel fed.
8. Order salad first.
Before ordering anything else on the menu order a salad. You will likely eat less calories at the main course.
9. Salad do’s and dont’s.
DO get the salad. And remember, it’s a vegetable course. Ask for vegetables and fruits only. Salads shouldn’t be fatty. DON’T order anything creamy like blue cheese, mayo based dressing, coleslaw, pasta salad, or potato salad. And skip the, cheese, meats, bacon bits and fried noodles toppings. Just load up on the raw vegetables.
10. Dressing on the side.
Get your dressing on the side. The best way to get the flavor of the dressing without the calories is to dip your empty fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad. You’ll be surprised at how this tastes just right, and how little dressing you’ll use.
11. Check the menu before you leave home.
Most restaurants post their menus online. You can decide before you arrive what you’re going to order. Or, if you don’t see healthy choices, go to a different restaurant.
12. No bread basket please.
Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket. If you must have something to eat while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw crudité. Exception: It’s a special occasion at a special place with amazing bread. Then go for it, and allocate it from your 10% being-bad rule.
13. One drink'll do ya.
If you want to order an alcoholic drink, pass on the ones with sugary soda. Opt for a glass of wine, a tequila, or a simple vodka.
14. Dips can are dangerous.
Opt for guacamole or hummus, but even then, be mindful of portions
15. Snack in between meals. Yes that's right.
I always bring healthy fast-food snacks like a banana, organic apple, organic carrots, sprouted nuts and seeds to fill in throughout the day so I’m not starving when I arrive at the restaurant. This way I’m not as tempted by the bad stuff.