The goal of vacation is to feel better, so why shouldn’t it be enjoyable from the very beginning, and leave you feeling good and refreshed at the end? Traveling can throw your healthy Paleo eating and exercising game off. It’s a delicate balance between wanting to indulge a little bit (after all, you’re on vacation!) and wanting to maintain a routine and good habits. The last thing you want to do is indulge in non-Paleo foods all day long only to struggle when you come home and want to re-establish good eating habits.
Here are some simple, effective strategies and tips that will support your efforts to maintain balance, reduce stress and retain your sanity no matter when or where you travel
8 Healthy Travel Tips
You have access to plenty of information about the restaurants and resorts available at your destination to review your options and plan your dining long before you arrive! Not only will you have a better dining experience, you’ll be able to make sure you have good-quality food. Put together an itinerary that includes spots that are the right fit for the trip you’re taking and the people you’re taking it with. Longer trips make it even more important to stick to your Paleo goals and choices to ensure you feel your best and enjoy your experience.
You could also choose to construct your own meals when possible. Find the closest grocery store or market to where you’re staying so you can visit it when you arrive and stock up on some of your essentials. Dining out is a wonderful part of the travel experience, but try to have one meal a day from the grocery store. Think whole/real foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and salads.
Traveling or not, when you look at food ask yourself if you are respecting your body before you eat it.
Longer trips make it even more important to stick to your Paleo goals and choices to ensure you feel your best and enjoy your experience.
Stock Up & Plan
Before taking off, either by car or plane, stock up on some necessities. This will look a little different for each person or family, but make sure you have what you need to be successful. It can sound like a lot of work, but does not have to be! Nowadays there are so many options to order online – do this a week prior to your trip to make sure you have all of your bases covered.
Research the area and find grocery stores that are in a reasonable distance to where you are staying and make a pitstop before arriving at your destination to stock up on anything you may need. Before you go, do research on what restaurant options are available and look over their menus online to decide where and what you are able to eat. Take screenshots, or make a list in your phone.
Staying hydrated is always important, however, when travelling it should be the first thing on your mind, especially if you travel by air as the humidity inside the cabin is lower than normal. Your body will also be adjusting to a new climate, and between finding your way around and enjoying your trip drinking water can be easily forgotten.
Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue and hunger along with other issues. When you arrive at your location find a convenience store and purchase at least 60-70 ounces of water for each day that you’re traveling.
Bring Your Own Food
Simplify your meals and expectations. Sometimes you may need to eat your meals cool or room temperature, off a paper plate or paper towel, or you bought more pre-cooked options than you would if you were home. When travelling, it helps to remove the idea of what a meal is supposed to look like. There is no need for glamour or social media worthy fare, it simply has to work for YOU.
Some suggestions for food-on-the-go and simple ideas to make Paleo travel life easier (depending on where and how you are travelling)
- Grocery store protein ideas to pack before you go or buy once there:
- Tuna (in a pouch or canned) or smoked salmon
- Compliant sausages or hot dogs
- Compliant deli meat or cured meats
- Compliant grilled chicken breast strips (Applegate)
- Bacon – order yours here before you go
- Hardboiled eggs
- Peeled shrimp
- Rotisserie chicken
- Paleo friendly bars
A majority of these are all available in major grocery store chains or online.
- Taco meat for taco salads
- Meatballs made and frozen ahead of time
- Breakfast sausages made ahead of time for breakfast or portable protein
- Tuna or chicken salads
- Use individual packs of guacamole, compliant salsa as dressings
- Pick up pre-prepped vegetables including baby carrots, broccoli, baby cucumbers, celery sticks for dipping/snacks/easy sides to meals
- Individual packets of Paleo dressings and sauces
- Add almonds or cashews to meals, or pack in individual bags for on-the-go
- Fruit that doesn’t need much preparing, like apples, bananas, grapes, berries and oranges
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Move Your Body
Staying active can be difficult while on the road, since travel often involves long periods of sitting (whether in planes, trains, or automobiles). Exercise stimulates the immune system, releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals), and keeps your brain functioning well. To stay active during travel:
- Head to the hotel fitness center. When booking your hotel, do your best to ensure it has a good fitness center or at least a connection to a nearby fitness.
- Walk as much as possible. When in a walkable city or town, walk to appointments, restaurants and the like rather than taking a cab.
- Do chair squats. Doing some chair squats to give your muscles some stimulation before.
You may or may not have control over where you stay. If you’re able, stay in a highly walkable neighborhood and walk to most destinations. You’ll get to experience more of the city and add in extra movement, too.
Consider A Travel Humidifier
Dry locations can be challenging if you are not used to that type of climate. A small travel humidifier is quite affordable and can make a huge difference when you sleep. You could also ask your host (hotel, Air BnB) whether they have any extra humidifiers. Most dry places keep a few and they make a huge difference for your eyes, nose and throat when you wake up in the morning.
The only thing you can do to make your day the best it can be before the day even starts is to get plenty of rest! Making time for a full night’s sleep is important every day of the year, but it’s especially crucial when your body is worn down from travel and out of its usual routine. Vacation is also the perfect time to sleep in!!!
Just like when you are at home, a dark sleep space with no extra light will help you get better rest. Turn the alarm clock light off or unplug it, and use a towel under the door if light is pouring in from the hallway. Eye masks can be an option when all else fails as any light in your sleep space can disrupt your good night’s sleep.
It might not be ideal to throw caution to the wind when it comes to routines when on vacation. You do, however, want to relax and enjoy yourself, the moment, the location, the culture and all that is involved in your vacation. Find some special treats and indulge, whether that means splurging on a spa treatment, indulging in a dessert here or there, or sipping on an afternoon cocktail.
You do want to be mindful and savor your indulgences. Choose wisely, like a fun local restaurant, as opposed to the processed, preservative-laden food you might find in terminals and convenience stores.
Focusing on every detail of your Paleo lifestyle can detract from that experience. Do the best you can to stick with your plan, but be kind and gracious to yourself if you eat a food or enjoy a meal that you might not normally eat. You know that you will get back into your groove once you return.