Summer is synonymous with vacation, relaxation and fun in the sun. However, reaching your favorite destination usually requires travel by plane, car or train. Many of my patients at PLC report that they travel a great deal for work or pleasure, especially during the summer months. I noticed a pattern with most of these travelers; erratic eating patterns and consequential weight gain. While a tropical getaway can do wonders for your mental and physical health, many of us know all too well that healthy eating sometimes goes out the window when traveling to and from our destinations (not to mention the diet sabotage that occurs when we are on the vacation). Luckily, when it comes to healthy travel, the TSA has our back by providing better food options before we board our plane, and airlines snacks have improved in nutritional quality (they are also perfect portions!)
Here are my tips to keep your eating habits on track while traveling:
– Try to avoid eating at first place you find in the airport or train station. Take your time to find the healthiest options. It’s there, I promise
– Look for filling foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and protein-rich items to prevent over eating when you reach your destination. A candy bar will fulfill your hunger in the moment but will leave you ready for more food within 30 minutes.
– Avoid completely change your eating habits because of the stress or excitement of vacationing. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying motivated when trying to lose weight can easily get unraveled by the change in your daily routine.
– Avoid hitting the bar before you travel. Travel especially by plane can cause dehydration, which can cause us to overeat out of thirst rather than true hunger. Alcohol increases this susceptibility to dehydration and can lead to poor judgment when it comes to food choices and portion control.
– Before your flight, avoid splurging on a 500 calorie pre-wrapped muffin in the airport because you need something portable for the flight. Look for fresh fruits or a yogurt. These are just as quick, easy, and portable.
– Avoid heavily salted items like salted nuts, fast food or potato chips before a flight. This can increase risk of painful swelling in your legs and feet that can occur when sitting for long periods of time.
– Enjoy eating out while on vacation, but don’t feast like it’s your last supper. There’s nothing wrong with eating outside of your usual diet while away from home and in new territory, but you still have to come back in the same body. If you leave for vacation expecting to put weight on, then you probably will!
– Watch your portions and stay consistent with your junk food rules.
– Keep things familiar. If you never tried a white chocolate mocha latte at Starbucks at home, do you really need to have one in Puerto Rico?
Tasty eats and safe travels!