Recently I had an opportunity to go home to Maui for the culinary event and experience Kaanapali Fresh. There was an abundance of food and drink of all kinds. Lots of farm-to-table creations and decadent desserts. There was even an event called Mixology where we learned about the art of creating cocktails. It was a caloric nirvana.
So how does one navigate a vacation or event where there’s so much deliciousness at every turn?
In a perfect world we would all eat perfectly and mindfully day in and day out. But there’s everything from our workplace environment to family pressure to holidays and birthdays challenging our every attempt to make consistent healthy choices. Plus, what’s perfect for me might not be perfect for you! It’s easy to preach a perfect diet (if there is such a thing) but we all have our own struggles and lives. Is that an excuse to super size? Of course not.
Traveling for work or pleasure has its own set of health and fitness challenges. But traveling healthy really just takes a bit of planning like any other part of your trip.
Healthy Travel Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t wait till the day of your trip to think healthy. How do you feel about where you’re at on the healthy scale of one to ten? One would be you’re wearing sweat pants and having midnight rendezvous with a quart of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and ten is you’re full of energy and making consistently healthy choices. If you find yourself on the lower side of the scale, it’s best to begin as far in advance of your trip as possible.
Do start making healthier choices before you leave. Healthy living begins in your mind. That’s where healthy choices start and where they end. Beginning a healthy mindset before you go will help you make the right choices more often during your travel.
Don’t pull all-nighters. Most likely your sleep will be impacted by your travel schedule. This means you”ll likely sleep less. Studies have shown that this increases cortisol and upsets leptin and ghelin levels. It’s a vicious cycle.
Do make sleep a priority. Best defense is go into the whole trip with as much good sleep as you can get prior to your trip till you are settled at your destination and get back on track.
Don’t forget to make good choices while en route and avoid getting to point of being extremely hungry. Be aware: not all that seems healthy, is. For instance – the fruit and granola topped yogurt parfait often offered in terminal deli cases. It really should be in the dessert section. A few unsalted nuts will hold you over till you can get to a healthy meal.
Do stick with lean protein, veggies and fruits. In terminals, choose salads over sandwiches and make sure to check labels. Purchase something healthy to bring on the plane, bus, train or in the car. Most airplane food is full of sugar and sodium, plus other scary preservatives and ingredients.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Drinking water is probably one of the most neglected, yet easiest health decisions to make.
Do drink tons of water. Simply put, water is your best friend. Drink up whenever you can. You’ll have more energy, it’s great for your skin, and it will help you to not overeat.
Dont give in to peer pressure. I’m not sure why this is, but when you’re trying to eat healthier, everyone around you will try to feed you crap – especially while dining out and at events and parties.
Do be social (human). You CAN make healthy choices and not alienate everyone around you. Unless the choice could cause you harm such as an allergic reaction or other dangerous side effect, one occasional bite of something someone poured their love and time into won’t hurt. Positive relationships are as important as healthy eating.
Don’t focus on tomorrow. Recently someone mentioned to me they felt overwhelmed when there are so many dishes, desserts and drinks in front of them and they don’t know how to navigate so many choices. Thinking of all the nos you’ll be saying can seem so negative.
Do take it one meal at a time. At the #KFresh13 event, we were lucky that the choices were almost always healthy. But in a case where they aren’t, I just take it one meal at a time. Just because you might have made a few bad choices at a meal is no reason to just give up and give in. Next meal, make better choices.
Don’t confuse being sedentary to resting. Rest and recuperation should be active. It can be in the form of a walk after a meal, or a hotel room workout with bands.
Do move any chance you get. Think of all the times you’ll sit while traveling. The plane, car,bus, train, restaurants, hotel rooms and even the beach can mean lots of extra sedentary hours. Off-set the down time by taking every opportunity to move. Use layovers to walk around. Use the steps instead of the escalator. Commit to 30 minutes of activity at the beginning of the day just in case the hotel fitness center is crowded or closed. Just keep moving.
These are just a few tips I’ve used that have helped me while traveling. What tips and habits have you found helpful for a healthy trip?