NAVIGATING NUTRITION DURING TRAVEL, PART IIBy: Emily Parsons, Pn1
If you came away from my last blog thinking ‘well those are some good ideas, but no way I would ever have enough time to actually prep things’ this blog is for you. I like to be optimistic in thinking that everyone should always have enough time to devote to their nutrition and meeting their goals. However, I’m also realistic in realizing that we can make all the plans we want, but sometimes life happens and our best intentions can fade into distant realities.
You get home late from work the night before your trip, you still have to get 3 kids fed, washed and sleeping (hopefully) and then pack everyone’s bag for a week at grandmas, all before you start prepping avocado egg salad and spritzing sliced apples with lemon juice…right, that’s totally going to happen. Or maybe you’re on your way back from a business trip and the closest thing you have to a kitchen is a 10-year-old microwave and tiny coffee maker in your hotel room- everyone’s favorite setup for meal prepping, of course.
If you can relate to these scenarios, then here are 7 easy ways for you stay on track during travel without having to worry about an extra time commitment.
1. Skip the airline snacks: When hunger strikes be prepared with your own quality snacks like trail mix, protein bars, whole pieces of fruit, individual nut butter packets or snack bags of raw mixed nuts. This will make that decision to opt for something a little better than that free bag of mini pretzels or cookies so much easier. Didn’t remember to throw it in your bag while you were rushing out of the house? Check out the little news shops or bookstores when you get through security for some varieties of nuts, protein bars, etc. (just don’t get sucked in by the wall of 50 different varieties of chex mix …)
2. Take a minute to scope out the terminal: Don’t just run to the first burger chain you see and call it a day. Most airports now have some fast, healthy options available- you might just have to log a few more steps on your fitbit to seek them out. My favorite go-tos are generally smoothie bars, Chipotle (or any Mexican restaurant I can create my own bowl/salad) or fresh salad/ wrap bars.
3. Bring your favorite protein powder and up your smoothie game: If you are successful in finding a smoothie bar on your hunt, try adding in your own protein to up the nutritional value and create a more balanced meal or snack. Most quality protein powders come in individual packets, which are perfect to throw in your purse or carry-on, and will help take your smoothie beyond just fruit and yogurt.
4. Try not to inhale your food: Traveling can be stressful and timing can often be tight. However, don’t forget there is nothing wrong with taking your meal to go and eating it on the plane. Once your in your terminal you don’t have to go through security again, so there is no stress around wondering if your salad dressing is under the dreaded 4oz. limit. This will allow you to actually be mindful while you’re eating and stop at an appropriate level of fullness.
5. Stay hydrated: Hydration is especially important on long flights or when you are hopping through time zones. It’s been proven that even mild dehydration worsens the symptoms of jet lag. Throw an empty water bottle in your bag and fill it up on the other side of security, or buy a big bottle of water if you forget- in this case it’s worth that ridiculous airport price tag.
6. Don’t skip out on meals and snacks: One trick that I’ve developed over the years is to play with the timing of my main meals and snacks, rather than just skipping them altogether. If I have a flight that lands at 2pm I’ll have my normal afternoon snack around 12pm and grab a later lunch when I arrive. This helps me stay balanced in my decisions while dining out instead of being tempted by everything from the kid’s menu to the early bird special.
7. Hit a supermarket when you land: Finally, if you just couldn’t pull everything together before you take off, focus on getting back on track when you arrive. I always seek out the nearest grocery store to where I’m staying and load up on my staple items for however long I’m going to be there (almond butter, fruits, oatmeal, fresh cut veggies, quality snack bars, etc.). Think about the meals and snacks you won’t be eating out with friends or for business and make sure you are prepped and ready.
Want some extra accountability and advice to keep you on track during the crazy holiday season? Contact us today to setup your FREE nutrition consultation.