Even though it requires a bit of planning and creativity to stay healthy while traveling, I find it fun! From prepping snacks, staying hydrated and promoting optimal sleep and digestion, here are my best 6 tips to stay healthy while traveling.
I’ve done quite a bit of traveling this summer, from my recent trip to Ireland back in June to cottage visits and camping trips, and it can sometimes be tricky to stay healthy while traveling.
And as a nutritionist, it’s certainly important that no matter where I go or what I do I’m prioritizing my health as much as I can. But as someone who also has a sensitive gut, traveling can be that much more difficult in terms of making sure I don’t run into any problems, and I’m sure there are some of you out there who can relate. Being away from home when it comes to eating can be a major source of stress and anxiety.
6 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Travelling with your own collection of healthy snacks is essential for traveling in the event that you can’t find a store with many options. Some great snacks to travel with include:
- Dried fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh fruit
- Snack bars (look for ones without added sugar and simple ingredients like dates and nuts)
- Small cans of tuna with pull off tabs
- Protein & greens powders that you can mix with water
Bringing your own snacks for flights is extremely helpful, too. Every airline is different but I managed to go through customs from Canada to Ireland and back with foods like olives, oranges and bananas and packets of herbal tea in my carry-on. I also simply asked the flight attendant if they had any chopped fruit or veggies on hand that I could have, and fortunately, they did!
Visit Markets + Cook Your Own Food
A great way to stay healthy while traveling is to make a trip to the local market or grocery store to stock up on more snacks and fresh food, and cook your own meals! To make things a little easier, map out the nearest stores before you arrive at your destination.
Every circumstance is different in terms of access to a stove or oven, but where possible, it’s a great idea to prepare our own meals as this allows us to avoid ingredients we don’t want to eat and enables us to make the healthiest choices possible.
Stick to easy-to-prepare food. Some staples include basics like:
- Veggies and meats for roasting or quick stir fries (look for mixed frozen vegetables if you’re in a pinch)
- mixed greens for simple salads
- nuts, seeds and nut butters.
It can also be helpful to cook in larger batches to save you from cooking constantly.
If space allows, bring a couple food storage containers. This can really come in handy for using leftovers as snacks the next day, or just to store any leftovers in general.
Modify Meals at Restaurants
Whether you have food allergies or sensitivities or just prefer to make healthy choices wherever you go, modifying meals on the menu at restaurants is quite easy to do, and servers are usually very accommodating.
Tips for making modifications at restaurants:
- Review the entire menu and keep your eyes open for which meals offer vegetables or other foods you feel comfortable with
- Request a side salad or side of vegetables instead of fries
- If you have food sensitivities, ask to omit any sauces/dressings, or request them be brought on the side
- Salads make a great base for being modified
- For a basic garden salad, request extra vegetable toppings such as cucumber, avocado, etc.; grilled chicken or other meat on top; omit any cheeses (if dairy sensitive); and ask for a simple oil and vinegar or fresh lemon to use as a dressing.
- Ask for extra vegetables whenever possible
- Many restaurants now have gluten-free alternatives
Nothing is more dehydrating than 24 consecutive hours of travel between flights and bus rides and taxis and whatever else you need to do to get from point A to point B.
Airplanes are especially dry, and it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated when we’re waiting in line ups and printing off tickets and looking for our terminal and trying to find our hotel on the map. Stay hydrated, especially around alcohol consumption. Buy bottled water or carry a reusable bottle and refill when possible, and always ask for water when eating out at a restaurant.
Perhaps one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to stay healthy while traveling is to walk! Walking is an excellent way to not only move our bodies and get exercise while we’re away, but great for making the most of a new city or town.
Making a note to move our bodies is important especially after hours of seated travel. Walking helps regulate our digestion, balance our appetite and mood, and promote restful sleep at night.
There are a couple supplements that I would consider to be very useful, if not borderline necessary, during travel. Not everyone needs to bring supplements, but for some people they can be extremely helpful. These include probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Many people find that taking a probiotic prior to and during their travels helps them to experience less digestive upset by balancing their gut flora. Probiotics are especially helpful during travel if you’re visiting a place where water quality is questionable.
Digestive enzymes are helpful as they work to break down the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the foods you eat. It is always best to completely avoid foods we are sensitive to, but having digestive enzymes on hand provides us with a little assistance should we need it.
Traveling can take a toll on our bodies and can disrupt out natural internal rhythms, from obvious things like our sleep cycle to less obvious things like our digestive function. It’s common to experience constipation or diarrhea just from disrupting our bodies normal routines! If you find you’re prone to either one of these, some other great supplements include:
Melatonin: Great for balancing our sleep cycle when crossing time zones; prevents jet lag
Magnesium: Calming muscle relaxant that helps reduce stress, promote sleep and aid constipation
Vitamin C: Antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant; supports immune system
Oil of Oregano: Highly antibacterial and great for warding off an impending cold or sore throat
Peppermint: Excellent for sensitive GI tracts; reduces intestinal spasms, cramping, bloating and gas
Of course, be sure to check with your health care practitioner before trying out different supplements, especially if you’re on medication.
What are your essentials for staying healthy while traveling? Let me know in the comments!
Here’s my video below on How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: