As an avid traveler and a huge foodie, I am always asked, “how do stay healthy when you travel so much?”. My friends and Instagram followers know that I love trying local cuisine wherever I go. Whether that’s fresh baked cheesy bread in Rio, quinoa beer in Peru, or pain au chocolat in Paris, I’m eating (or drinking) it.
Here are 7 tactics I use to stay healthy while traveling (cocktails included).
1. Plan ahead
Pack snacks in your suitcase. Beef jerky, nuts, dried and fresh fruit, individual packets of nut butter, dried chickpeas or beans and whole grain crackers all pack well. You’ll be prepared in case there is a delay, or you’re stuck somewhere with no great food choices.
2. Know where you’re going
Healthy eating starts where you stop. If you’re on the road and stop at a fast-food restaurant, your food choices will be limited to fast food. But stop at a grocery store that offers whole, healthy foods and you can grab Greek yogurt, fruit, bagged carrots, hummus, or a salad. Do a quick search before you go to find out where the nearest stores or healthy restaurant options are. Instead of stopping at the first restaurant you see, look around and see what your options are.
3. Start with a good breakfast
Fuel up with a meal full of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. For example, eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt with fruit, or bread with nut butter. The protein and fiber will keep you full for longer and stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels.
4. Stay active
Not only is this a great way to get some exercise in, it’s a wonderful way to see a new city or country. I’ve rented bikes in Berlin, took a free walking tour in Prague, went canoeing in Hamburg, and hiked in Peru.
5. Be mindful with alcohol
I like a good cocktail or glass of wine just as much as the next person, but whenever I drink too much I sleep terribly and feel awful the next day. Be intentional with your drinking, asking yourself if you really want the booze, or not. Pace yourself, alternating water with every drink, which gives you a chance to pause and decide if you’re in the mood for another one. Save those alcoholic drinks for when you really want to try one, don’t just drink because it is offered. Staying hydrated throughout the day will also help, as thirst often masquerades as hunger. Carry a water bottle with you, and aim to drink at least eight ounces of water every hour to prevent dehydration. Sparkling water and unsweetened teas also count towards this number.
6. Ask the hotel to empty out the mini bar
I never like the mini-bar contents – plus they take up all my fridge space – so I always ask them to empty it when I arrive (this will also save you the hefty hotel charges $$). Then you can use it as a fridge for breakfast items, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, snacks like hummus and veggies, or leftovers from dinner.
7. Stay mindful
Indigestion, an upset stomach, low energy – no one wants this while traveling. Eating unhealthy foods may seem simpler, but you’ll have to deal with the side effects. Keep this in mind when deciding what you’re going to eat. Take time to enjoy your food, and you’re more likely to notice when you are full, allow for better digestion, and notice flavors you might have otherwise missed. Be mindful of your choices, and how you’re feeling, to get the most out of your trip without letting your health take a backseat.
What is your best tip to stay healthy when traveling? Share it below!