It seems fitting to share how I stay healthy while traveling as I am in the midst of a fairly busy fall & early winter of traveling. I am way, way past trips where you tune out of your normal lifestyle, dine on unhealthy foods & turn into a bum. I view staying active as a great way to explore where I am & seeking out the local foods scene for the freshest fruits & vegetables is always on the top of my list.
So as I get ready to head back home after another week in New York, below are my top 5 tips for staying healthy while traveling. There really aren't any excuses to break your healthy routines - the extra effort will make you feel so much better, during & after.
1. Stay hydrated. All the sitting involved with traveling is an invitation to slow your digestion. Drinking lots of water helps keep your system hydrated and your digestion on track – the last thing you want to have on a trip is sluggish digestion! Even though it may be irritating to have to go to the bathroom a lot, I always find it to be well worth it. If plain water gets boring, add sliced cucumber, lemon, oranges, mint, smashed berries or other fruits for flavor and extra vitamins. Plain sparkling water is also one of my staples... squeeze in some fresh lime or lemon & it becomes borderline addicting.
2. Pack your own snacks. Whether embarking on a road trip or heading to the airport, bringing along your own travel friendly snacks & meals is so crucial to prevent yourself from succumbing to hunger with fast food or airplane/airport food. When hitting the road, don’t forget some utensils and a napkin or two! Some travel friendly snacks and meals include:
Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, stone fruits, or other fruits that are easy to eat with your hands and don't make a huge mess.
Slices of cucumber, celery, carrots, or other vegetables that are easy to bag.
Fresh juices from a juice bar or cold-pressed juices such as those from Evolution (sold at some Starbucks) or Suja. There are a lot of other fresh juices now on the market - just be sure it is cold-pressed or unpasteurized to ensure the nutrients are still alive.
Unsalted trail mix. Avoid ones with sugary additives such as candy pieces (m&ms) or sugar sweetened dried fruits. Also avoid ones with added oils. Remember the less ingredients, the better! I like to either make my own with raw nuts and some unsweetened/un-sulphured dried fruits or buy the simplest one offered at the bulk section at a co-op, health food store, or Whole Foods.
Plain brown rice cakes (unsalted)
Individual nut or coconut butter packets from Artisana for bananas, apples, celery, or rice cakes.
Minimally processed protein bars. Most bars are loaded with sugars, hydrogenated oils, fillers, unclassified flavoring agents. That's not real food, folks! Some good choices include: Raw Revolution, Go Raw, Organic Food Bar, Rawnola Bars, Wild Bars, Rawxies, Elemental Superfood or Larabars.
If you do find yourself stuck starving - there is always a stand at an airport with fresh fruit (Starbucks for instance has apples & bananas) and gas stations typically have bananas that can keep hunger at bay.
3. Seek out health food stores, farmers markets, co-ops, and healthy restaurant options prior to traveling. Doing your research beforehand will prevent unnecessary stress when arriving at your destination (or along the way). Knowing where you can purchase the freshest & healthiest foods is key to your traveling success. Local Harvest pretty much covers all these options and this is another great list of health foods stores & co-ops across America.
4. Exercise. Walk, run, hike, do yoga, bike, swim, surf, go to Crossfit, take a belly dancing class .. whatever it takes to keep you moving! If you are driving, bring along your yoga mat and check out classes offered at your destination, follow free podcasts (there are a lot of great ones I've been following for years), or do your own practice. My favorite way to explore a new place is on foot, whether that be on long runs or by walking everywhere. My running shoes & yoga mat are two of my trusty travel companions, always!
5. Pack digestive supporting teas and sleeping aids. No matter how healthy you are staying, sometimes the change in the usual routine simply throws your system off. Having gentle, herbal laxative teas to promote regularity are incredibly helpful. My two favorites are Get Regular by Yogi Tea & Smooth Move by Traditional Medicines. To help regulate your sleep cycle, bring some chamomile or other sleep promoting teas. Don’t forget eye masks & ear plugs if you are sensitive to light & sounds. Happy trails!