Staying Healthy While Travelling
Staying Healthy While Travelling
We have all been there. You just went ALL OUT on your last vacation and you return home feeling frumpy, fatigued and downright frazzled. Wasn’t travelling supposed to be fun? Even if your trip was because of business, you weren’t supposed to return feeling this ick, were you?
In the past few years, I’ve taken to the skies quite often for both business and pleasure and through a few different stumbles along the way, I have mastered a few routines that make me feel grateful for returning home in the same state I left… and most of the times feeling more refreshed! Whether you’re travelling for business, or you’re taking a well-earned vacation, try sliding these three tips into your next travel preparations and throughout your stay to ensure you come home feeling refreshed and in-line with your health goals.
Explore Your Food Options Beforehand and PACK!
The internet is full of beautiful, wonderful things. Dial back even just 12 years ago, and planning where to dine, where to shop and prepare for a healthy, fulfilling trip was slightly more difficult than it is today. This tip is a little bit of a loaded one, so I’m going to break it down into three options that have allowed me to keep the food I put in my body in-line with the goals I have for myself!
Find a local grocer: Use Google for the powerhouse that it is and explore your destination before you even get there to see where the local grocers are in your area. Local grocers can be the key to making or breaking your health goals while travelling. If you have access to a refrigerator where you’re staying, even better! This gives you the ability to keep items that are real, whole foods found at the local grocer in your room so you don’t need to make a trip there daily. If you don’t, this isn’t an issue at all, but just means you’ll need to be more aware of the foods you’re choosing and whether they have an expiration. Focus on healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, avocados & olives) as they are filling, and local fruits and vegetables to keep things exciting and fresh! The local grocer hack is such a saving grace as it applies to almost everywhere you’re travelling. Well developed countries will have many more options, but small, tiny, tropical towns will have beautiful outdoor markets which will allow you to keep on track with real, whole foods. One of my favourite things to do when travelling to the US for either business or pleasure is to find the closest Trader Joes and/or Whole Foods and grab some of their convenience bars and clean treats to bring back to Toronto with me! Hello Epic Bar, RxBar, Plantain Chips, Siete Wraps … I could go on and on and on, but find local treats and rejoice in them!
Research your restaurant options: While having access to a local grocer is great, it sometimes isn’t ideal. You most likely have client or team meetings if you’re travelling for work. Try to get in front of that information and research which restaurants will be in the area! Ask the locals where they recommend dining and check out menus beforehand. Not sure what you feel like? Use handy recommendations written inside of apps like Yelp! and Air BnB or right on Google Maps. These recommendations come from people who were once in your shoes or from locals, so it’s like getting in front of the conversation before even arriving. Check out the menus and see what you might want to enjoy on your trip! Local cuisine can be so exciting and it would be a shame not to explore the different flavours and talents around the world.
Is the menu not online? I know when travelling to Jamaica I can’t check out what the jerk chicken shack at the side of the road is serving, so how do I know where to go? Engage in conversation once you’re there and see what the locals suggest! Even if you can’t get in front of these decisions, don’t hesitate to ask the servers what their favourite meals are. Be open about any dietary preferences; we are now living in an age where there is less stigma around these preferences and the option to sub things out varies greatly, so use it to your advantage! Does the chef have a speciality? Do they allow you to make substitutes? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions.
Pack Sustenance: Before you leave, be sure to keep room in that carry on for your own food! We’re talking anything and everything that you think you need to keep going. Hard boiled eggs, fruit, nuts and seeds (remember: fats keep you fuller longer!), homemade bars or energy balls; find your favourite recipe and go! I’ve left the link to my favourite energy ball recipe created by yours truly down below (very allergen friendly as you can substitute most of the ingredients for others)! Oh! Also, keep in mind that it’s always polite to ask your plane partner if they’re allergic to nuts, seeds or anything you might have packed. Too Canadian of me? Maybe … but I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!
See What You Want & Stay Active
In my travels, I have met so many people who have been sent on business and are not excited at the thought of travelling, especially when they have such a solid routine at home. Their gym routine is interrupted, their eating habits, and they just don’t sleep as well not being in their own bed. But what sounds horrific for some is exciting and a novelty for others! Perhaps all that is needed is a change in perspective? Let’s try it together:
Let’s say you’re sent to a tiny town or city for business. There’s really not much chance you’d ever choose this destination, but alas, your day job calls for it. Instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s turn this around and imagine how this can be a good experience! Are you a CrossFit junkie and you know you’re going to miss working out at your local box while away? Check in with your destination and see what sort of local boxes or boutique workout locations they have! Perhaps your local box has an affiliation with this destination and they can point you in the right direction, or you follow an athlete online who belongs to a gym in the city. Scope it out, contact a local owner and see if they’d accept you for a few workouts while you’re there! Generally, the local gyms love the exposure this can give them and that also gives you a fantastic way to work your fitness routine into your day. Too busy to commit to a gym schedule? Scope out the city and go for a run or a walk. It doesn’t have to be much, but perhaps just carving out 30mins in your morning would create a really stellar way to wake up and allow you to recreate your at home routine. This would also allow you to see certain sites that you might otherwise not get to see in your day! Endorphins all around!
Are you travelling for leisure and still feel disrupted? Try adding in small activities that keep you moving, but aren’t stressful to your body. Go for a hike, a run along the beach, play beach volleyball, walk into the city’s core with your family and explore the local culture. Bottom line is it doesn’t need to be a chore to stay active on your travels. Work it into your sightseeing schedule or carve time out just as you would at home in order to keep those good endorphins flowing. My favourite time travelling, whether for business or pleasure, is in the morning because I will wake up and go for a quick run WHEREVER I want to see! It’s such a quick, great way to take in the sights, and with the availability of WiFi where you’re staying (most times), you can map your route out beforehand and bring it with you as a screenshot on your phone or a piece of paper. I personally like to bring my phone so I can stop and capture some photos along the way!
the photos below were captured on a morning run during a business trip to San Diego
Rejoice in the Local Culture
Whether you’re travelling for business or for pleasure, try to get a little adventurous and immersed in the culture. Know that going into this trip you had goals at home that you were striving toward and each meal you’re eating at home was most likely done with a lot of thought, preparation and mindfulness (or not! Because that's ok too). Practice this same mindfulness but understand that you’re in a new place that you (perhaps) might not ever get to see again. So don’t hesitate to ask locals what they would suggest. Is your destination the birthplace of the best fried chicken? Is that important for you to experience? If the answer is yes, DIG IN! This doesn’t mean you need to make fried chicken part of EVERY.SINGLE.MEAL, but I believe that you should absolutely allow yourself the option to experience the culture. For some, this simply isn’t an option. A celiac, for example, isn’t going to want to hospitalize themselves just to try the fried chicken, but understand your dietary limits and know that it’s ok to explore if you don’t have any major allergies.
What I’m trying to say is don’t let the calories, the macros, the yo-yo dieting mentality hold you back. Simply because you follow a certain lifestyle at home doesn’t mean you need to deny yourself a taste or experience while travelling. You may avoid mixing fruits at home because your digestive system works overtime to process those, but if you’re in a tropical destination, this might be something to brush aside for your trip. This will possibly be some of the freshest fruit you’ll ever have access to, so you may as well try it while you’re there!
Now, what are we waiting for?! Let’s book our next flight ASAP! Let me know how you successfully prepared using the hashtag #healthybonvoyage
My Nut-Free Fat Bombs are my absolute favourite travel snack! Freeze them before you leave and it'll be a great way to keep the consistency!!