Last week I traveled to Washington DC for work and I thought it would be fun to share some of my best tips healthy traveling tips. Eating healthy and feeling energized while traveling can be particularly challenging, especially if you have special dietary needs or preferences. Since I was traveling for business, I wasn’t able to have as much flexibility and control over my schedule as if I were traveling on vacation, so I definitely picked up some techniques along the way that made it easier to eat healthy and feel my best on-the-go.
Tip #1: Do your research before you go
The internet is your friend and it will help you to explore the city you are visiting before you embark on your trip. I always find this especially important if you like to eat healthy on trips because then you can prepare by packing extra snacks if needed. I always look for:
- The closest natural foods or health foods store. (In a pinch, a regular grocery store will also do!)
- A nearby juice bar (if possible)
- Nearby Asian, Thai, Indian, and (healthy) Mexican restaurants. (These restaurants are usually my best bet for finding fresh veggies in an unfamiliar city. Plus, they are also a great option if you are traveling with others because these restaurants can accommodate a large variety of dietary needs.)
- Nuts (preferably unsalted) or seeds
- Nut butters (I really love these individual Justin’s almond butter packets because they don’t have to be refrigerated for traveling and are easy to use on-the-go.)
- Dried fruit
- Larabars (Cashew Cookie is my favorite!)
- Herbal (or decaf) teas
- A small bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar (helpful for salad bars with limited dressing options)
- A can-opener (helpful if you plan to purchase canned beans, see below)
|Some snack options from my recent trip: crackers & celery w/ dip, a fresh green juice from a juice bar, and getting a side of beans from Chipotle.|
- Whole carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks
- Fresh guacamole or an avocado
- Fresh fruit
- Mixed greens
- Canned beans
|Some salad variations from my recent trip: a Mediterranean salad at a food court with a side of beans, a fancy quinoa salad at a bar, a house salad at Chile’s, and the salad bar at Whole Foods.|
Tip #5: Eat smart when dining out
From small airports to big cities, I have experienced a variety of challenges during my travels over the last few years. Dining out is always easier if you are going to a restaurant that has some healthy options, however, when that’s not possible here is what usually works for me:
- Start with a large salad. Every restaurant should have some type of salad and you can usually get it without cheese, croutons, and mayo-based dressing. This is helpful if you don’t have a lot of options for fresh food wherever you are dining.
- Pair together a variety of sides to create a meal. Restaurants are usually able to give you a side of black beans and steamed veggies. In a pinch, this can be a lifesaver. I also like to order a side of beans and put them on top of a salad to bulk it up a bit.
- Ask what accommodations they can make. Some restaurants are more flexible than others, but often times they can remove cheese on items or make dishes gluten-free if you need them to be. A polite request can go a long way.
- Natural Calm Anti-Stress Drink packets. I’ve talked about the importance of magnesium supplements in another post and I found these individual packets were great for traveling and helping to reduce stress and fatigue during the trip.
- Airborne Immune Support on-the-go packets. Traveling can be stressful at times and I hate arriving home with a cold. I’ve had great results using Airborne while traveling in the past and I loved these packets because they were convient to mix with water during the flight.
- JetZone Jet Lag Prevention. This trip was my first time trying this supplement and I was a little skeptical of it as first, but I decided to try it because of the time difference between the East and West coast. I was already immensely sleep deprived leading up to the trip so I wasn’t sure if it helped that much on the way there, but I definitely noticed it on the way back. My trip back included thirteen hours of a subway ride, a train ride, working, a layover, and two long flights. By the end of it I was exhausted, but I had a wonderful night of sleep when I returned and woke up incredibly refreshed the next morning. I know there is no way I would have felt this good without this. If you are traveling between time zones, I would definitely recommend trying it.
Traveling is physically and mentally exhausting and it’s important to take care of your body. This includes:
- Getting extra sleep as needed.
- Moving your body. This might be walking around the city, using a hotel gym, or doing some yoga poses in your room. I always pack my resistance bands so I can do some basic resistance exercises (e.g. arm curls, side leg lifts, etc) in a small space if I don’t have other options for exercise during the trip. This really helps with jetlag, overall fatigue, and feeling energized during the trip.
- Avoiding salt, sugar, and caffeine as much as possible. Even though I work to avoid these things in general, I have found that minimizing salt, sugar, and caffeine while traveling is especially helpful for keeping my energy level up and preventing mood swings.
What are your best tips for traveling healthfully? Leave me a comment below and let me know!