Top Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling | Ashley Varner
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Top Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

Have you ever been doing great eating healthfully, spending time in your devotions and exercising? But…then you have to travel and it all goes downhill? If so, then you are not alone. So, I wanted to share my top tips on healthy eating while traveling.

..Eating Healthy While Traveling | Healthy God's Way AshleyVarner.com

Traveling Challenges

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Traveling definitely presents challenges to healthy living. You’re not home, you don’t have access to a kitchen, you may be in the car for long periods of time, or stuck in an airport with few choices.  Not to mention the fact that your schedule is different, even your sleep schedule is different.
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While there are a lot of challenges, traveling doesn’t have to be a stumbling block to your health.  Traveling, especially for those who travel a lot, can be a real eye opener when it comes to our health and the sacrifice it takes to stay healthy.
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A Bigger Why

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Traveling, whether it’s for work or pleasure, shouldn’t be an excuse to treat our bodies as any less than what they are – God’s temple.  When you invite the Lord into your health, you’re eating quality food and moving your body as an act of obedience to the Lord, not just to check a workout off your to do list.
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Because of that reason, it’s important to take care of our bodies, even when we’re on the road.
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Ashley’s Top Tips

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  1. Begin planning at home

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If you’re driving, make a list of snacks that you can pack in a cooler for the road. (Check out my list of healthy snacks here!) If you’re flying, then have a few items in your purse like an apple, nuts, seeds, and buy a water bottle after you’ve checked in.
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Book lodging that will encourage you to be healthy.  Check to see if the room has a kitchenette or at least a mini-fridge.  Most hotels now have fitness centers and pools available for their guests.  If they don’t, then look for walking routes near your hotel or even a local gym that you could pay by the day to use.
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If you’re staying with friends and family, use google maps to check out the area. Is there a fitness center nearby? Could you walk around their neighborhood? Or should you plan on something like yoga or resistance bands?
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Pack with intention. Determine if your healthy is worth a little inconvenience.
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For healthy foods (and travel expenses) plan to eat at least one meal in the hotel or in your home.  I have a nutritive drink that I travel with.  I usually mix it with ice, fresh spinach, and a banana, so I always pack my NutriBullet.
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Pack workout clothes (don’t forget your shoes!) and if you’re planning on using any equipment like resistance bands, which are great for travel, then pack those as well.
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  1. Make a trip to the grocery store your first stop.

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Head over to the local grocery store and pick up foods to stock your mini-fridge or ask your host to store for you.  Things like fruit, peanut butter, nuts and a case of water don’t need refrigerated, but if you have access to a fridge, then pickup meat at the deli, hard-boiled eggs, baby carrots, and pre-washed spinach.
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  1. Set your space up for success.

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Put the things you purchased in the fridge, set up your NutriBullet if you packed it, and rearrange the furniture (Hey! It’s your hotel room, make it work for you!).
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After you’ve done that, then sit down and look at your vacation or work schedule and determine your workout schedule.  Will it be easier to workout in the morning, or evening?
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Most of us are prone to slack off on workouts, but at least consider working out and being active, if only because you want to have energy and sleep better during your travels.
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Once you’ve determined when you’re going to work out, decide what type of workout you want to do and where you will workout.  Will you workout in the hotel gym or pool? How about following a workout on youtube or one of the many apps out there?
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I personally use an online streaming app that has tons of workouts and you can even download workouts to your phone or tablet if you won’t have internet service.
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  1. Eating Out

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Soda versus water

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It can be tempting to splurge while on vacation and always order soda.  But I want to caution you against it for a couple of reasons.
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First, traveling dehydrates you. So when you finally sit down and drink something, you’re going to be drinking a lot of it.  Second, when you fill up on soda, you get less satisfaction out of the food you get to eat while on vacation! Take advantage of being in a different place and try foods that you haven’t tried before, so skip the soda!
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If you want to splurge and have a soda, I hear ya! Here’s a little tip to avoid drinking too much: if I order soda, I always order a soda and a water. When you have both, you can water for thirst and sip the soda for the flavor.  You’ll find that you enjoy the flavor more when you take smaller sips versus gulping it down.
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Stop Ordering Salads

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I’m definitely not a fan of salads at restaurants.  I think salads give us a false sense of eating healthy, plus they don’t keep you full very long.  Let me explain:
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Salads give a false sense of eating healthy.  I don’t recommend counting calories, but many times when people order salads, they’re trying to avoid calories. The problem is most salads at restaurants boast more than 1000 calories.
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Sure the lettuce isn’t high in calories but all the toppings quickly add up, if you put chicken, bacon, olives, cheese, and don’t forget the croutons! Maybe you’re like me and don’t add the calories, but let me explain the problem.  When you order a salad, you give yourself a false sense of eating healthy.  It may lead you to think, “Hey I ate a salad for lunch, now I can splurge and get dessert.”
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A healthier option would be to get a dish with meat and vegetables instead of a mile high salad.  At a Mexican restaurant, I’ll usually go for a couple corn tacos without sauce rather than a huge salad.  At a roadhouse, I’ll order a steak or salmon with rice and veggies.  I don’t even order salads at fast food joints. I usually order a chicken sandwich instead (without the bun since I’m allergic to gluten).
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The second reason I don’t recommend salads is because if you take off all the extra toppings, the salad probably won’t satisfy you and will leave you feeling hungry pretty quickly.  If you have a sandwich or a dish that focuses on meat, then you’ll stay satisfied longer.
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I’m not saying you have to stop eating salads, especially if you like them, I just want you to be aware of the mindset that can creep in.  They can be deceiving, so just be aware of that!
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Here are some other quick tips I would give when eating out are simple, but wise.
  1. Work to be mindful of your body while you’re eating so you can avoid overeating.  Eat slowly and pay attention to your body so you can stop when you’re comfortably full and not stuffed.
  2. Eat without distractions. Try not to eat while multi-tasking.  Sit down and pay attention to the food and the people around you.
  3. Enjoy your meal! It’s been my experience that when you have a sense of real satisfaction from your meal, you’ll eat less and enjoy it more.
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  1. Try to rest well while traveling.

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This one can be TOUGH, but try to get a good night’s sleep.  Sleep has been proven to affect your hunger and fullness signals.  When we’re tired, we’re more likely to grab anything nearby to eat and we’re more likely to eat mindlessly.
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  1. Don’t neglect your time with the Lord.

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Don’t forget to spend time with the Lord everyday, even while you’re traveling.  He is our Source of strength.  When we’re in tune with Him and it’s our desire to honor Him with our bodies, it becomes easier to make healthy choices.
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Four Simple Action Steps for Healthy Travel

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If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this: the “rules” of staying healthy while traveling are the same as they are when you’re home.  For myself, I follow four daily habits to feel my best:
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Spend time with the Lord
Eat only when hungry
Eat without distractions
Move everyday
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More Resources

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If you enjoyed this blog post and have a trip coming up, then grab my Healthy Essentials Packing Checklist! It’s the checklist I use when packing to make sure I set myself up for success.
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Do you want to quit sugar? Ashley gave up sugar last year and has created a short online course to help you eliminate sugar from your diet in 15 days! Check it out here!

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