I love to travel for work, fun and all the areas in between! The last year, specifically April-October 2015, were an absolute whirlwind of travel for me — A huge change from my normal routine but a welcome change and a life changing change!
In March of last year, I signed on with the Yankees to be their player development and minor league dietitian and am just about to start my second baseball season – which means “On the Road Again”. I am working under the guidance of the most amazing and fabulous dietitian, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, the Yankees major league dietitian nutritionist. Basically, since this happened I have been pinching myself daily and praising God for this ridiculously AMAZING opportunity.
In addition to travel up and down the east coast, I have been traveling for FUN to Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Minneapolis, Colorado, Kansas City, San Diego, Nashville and maybe a few I’m forgetting….? So basically, I’m living in a blessing cloud of dreams. Are you annoyed yet?
All this to say, I have street “cred” now! I used to just give people advice on how to travel healthfully– Now, I live the tips I give on healthy travel! This is my life! I honestly was a little worried… Will I lose energy, will I gain weight, will I be able to fit in exercise and workouts, will I get all my veggies, can I truly practice what I preach??? These are just a few of the questions that raced through my head. And I’ll be honest, it’s been FUN but a struggle.
My sleep schedule changed, eating, working out, all of it! But I have come up with my favorite travel tips. Most likely all of these tips won’t work for any one person but hopefully you can learn a few new things and take some ideas that you can fit into your next trip! Bon voyage!!
1) Pack your own food
Not all of your own food of course but think snacks and non perishables. Yes, this does take some forethought but it’s sooooo worth it! This is literally one of my saving graces and is essential for a healthy trip! Stock your carryon and your checked bag with goodies not just for snacks but for those “oops” meals too.
My travel food essentials include:
- Trail Mix – store bought or homemade
- Fruits and veggies
- Individual container of salmon/tuna (the no drain kind)
- Individual plain oatmeal
- Bars (Lara, Kind, RxBar, Cliff, & granola bars)
- Whole grain crackers, pita chips, or corn chips
- Individual Nut Butters
You may be thinking, how can I make these foods into meals Abby?! Well, well I just may have come up with a few ideas…
Breakfast can be tricky but here are my ways to use the above to make it happen healthfully! If you’re stuck in a hotel with an icky continental breakfast or there are scarce options for a good meal nearby; grab your oatmeal packet and nut butter for a whole grain and healthy fat rich breakfast!
Also, if the hotel does have a restaurant, try ordering a la carte scrambled eggs and add it to my oatmeal breakfast (omit nut butter)! Just because it’s not on the menu, doesn’t mean it’s not available. At the continental breakfast bar, grab their pre made oatmeal (this is almost always available),eggs (sometimes hardboiled or scrambled, if they have them),and fruit. 90% of the hotels have these items on their breakfast bar. Beware of the waffle station and pastries! And, if you must indulge, share with the whole fam!
Abs, what about lunch? So, for instance, if I know that I’ll be traveling, either on a plane or have time in the airport, I will pack a lunch/dinner. It might be an almond butter and banana sandwich with chopped up veggies, a homemade salad that I shove in my purse topped with leftover chicken or some type of protein (this really only works if you’ll be dining on your first flight) or a container of salmon with chopped up veggies, crackers and nut butter. Or if you’re road tripping, stop by a grocery store and pick up whole grain bread, almond butter or peanut butter, honey, carrots and apples and make your own lunch on the road! This is a HUGE time, calorie and money saver!! LOVE!!!
I love this because if you have a copilot to make your lunch, you save a ton of time, money and calories by not stopping for a mc-mediocre meal! Tip: Ask for a refrigerator in your hotel room to store the perishables! And if you run out of your snacking essentials, drop by a grocery store to restock!
Plus, packing your own food is not only good for your waistline, it’s good for your wallet too. Woohoo!!!
Clients and friends always ask me, how much water should I be drinking? And my answer is usually MORE! With flying, extra sun exposure, changes in elevation and intake of alcohol; your need for water increases. We can feel sluggish, tired, and cranky when we’re dehydrated and think, all you have to do is drink water!
My best tip is to bring your water bottle from home with you. I always bring one on my trips and make a goal to drink at least 3 of my 32 ounce bottle. Another challenge, if you find yourself with a full water bottle when going through security, have a chugging contest… with yourself! I’ve had at least 10 chugging contests with myself – once I even got upgraded to TSA recheck because I made the TSA Officer laugh so hard! Just remember, water is cool – DRINK IT! Oh and if you’re worried about having to use the restroom on the flight, think of it as a welcome time to get up and stretch your legs!
3) Get your movement on!
On vacation, instead of driving everywhere, go for walking or biking tours, go on a hike (or hikes) and take a dip in the pool for a swimmity-swim. On our trip to Utah, my husband and I scheduled at least a hike a day AND a whitewater rafting trip!
Definitely get your relaxing time in but get some activity in too! I also really enjoy parking a ways from the place that I’m going, that way I get to see a bit more of the city and get some extra steps in!
For you work travelers, don’t forget about the hotel gym! I try to think of hotel gyms in a positive light! Remember, you can just get up and go straight down to the gym, no wasted driving time AND usually you don’t have to make many choices… treadmill, bike or elliptical. Few options mean less decisions! I was actually just having this “positive hotel gym” conversation at the hotel gym this morning!
4) Be mindful… Or we could call this pick and choose your splurge!
Basically, make splurges count but be mindful of your choices when it doesn’t really matter. For instance, when you are going to a restaurant that is known for the best burger in town, Get. The. Burger.!!! But at the hotel’s continental breakfast, opt for healthier choices (read tip 1 again). It’s all a balancing act. I will always say, 100% splurge on a croissant in Paris or on a Cheese Steak in Philly but maybe when you’re at the airport grabbing a bite, opt for the grilled chicken and salad!
A sampling of my FAVORITE splurges:
5) Get your fruits and veggies!
These powerhouses are filled with fiber to aid in digestion and help fill up your tummy with vitamins and minerals. Fit in veggies at each meal by ordering a side of fruit at breakfast, a veggie omelet, a side salad or steamed veggie with your entrée! Or refer to tip #1 and bring your own! Here are a sampling of my FAVORITE salads!
Okay, this post is long, and if you read the whole thing you’re AWESOME! Seriously though, these tips have really helped me to stay sane, healthy and thriving while traveling for all kinds of purposes! I want you too to have the best and most fabulous vacation and NOT feeling drained and energy-less is not the goal! I know you could grab at least one of these tips to ensure you travel like a healthy pro!!