When on vacation, it’s not uncommon for people to lose track of their healthy habits. After all it’s vacation, it should be careless and fun, right? Well, of course it should be. It is your time to relax and let go so you can get back on to normal life energized. But getting back home feeling sluggish and having gained some weight is not my idea of fun. So what are my tips for healthy travel?
1. Hydration, hydration!
With all the sightseeing and moving around, do not forget to reach out for that bottle of water. Even if the weather is cool and your body is not signaling it to you, make it a habit to carry on water at all times. And here’s a money-saving tip for you: if the country you’re traveling to has potable tap water, fill up a bottle from the hotel, refrigerate it and take it with you the next day.
2. No need to try every single dish in the breakfast buffet
I used to fall into this trap before. Not anymore. I get it, buffets are tempting but all the food offered is still going to be there during your entire stay at the hotel. So no need to taste all the dishes on the same day. Vary things up and leave something for the day after. If you’re staying for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to stack on some healthy breakfast options in your room. This time in Paris, I got muesli and organic soy milk for those days when the breakfast buffet was just too much. One advantage to buffets though is the fruit basket. They’re there for you to grab some fruits to snack on later in the day!
3. Choose no more than one indulgent meal per day
It’s a vacation, you’re visiting a new country, you’re getting to know a new culture and its cuisine. So there will be a lot of delicious and tempting meals to try. Yet, there is no reason to taste them all on the same day. Choose one meal a day and make it special. If you have scheduled a romantic dinner, stick to a healthy breakfast and a balanced lunch. If you’ve had dessert with lunch, skip dessert over dinner. And if you’re not a solo traveler, sharing your desserts or heavy dishes is the way to go. This way you can get a taste and mindfully enjoy your food without overdoing it.
4. Walk or bike around and schedule a physical activity
Walking around the village/city gives you more room to discover hidden sights that you probably would have missed had you been driving there. Not to mention the exercise you’ll be getting and maybe the friends you’ll be making from asking around! Three years ago, my sister and I were visiting Istanbul and we were spending a day in the Princesses’ Islands. There are no cars on these islands. Being the tourists that we are, we rented a horse carriage. Five minutes later, we signaled to the driver to stop. Although he was going slowly for us to enjoy the scenery, it wasn’t enough. As we continued by foot, we wandered down alleys and up some stairs and discovered beautiful houses that we would have missed otherwise.
Every time I visit a new country, I try to search for yoga classes around. So far, I haven’t gotten lucky whether because there weren’t any classes or because I couldn’t leave my baby girl. Next time around, I’ll make a bigger effort and maybe I’ll get the chance to try a class!
5. Pack some homemade snacks before you leave home
I know this isn’t for anyone, but for parents traveling with kids, this is especially practical. I had shared before that I packed homemade whole-wheat man’oushe pockets, homemade no-sugar added cake, grapes, apples and carrots. Granted they didn’t last the entire trip, but if a few snacks can help me (or my child) skip some horrible airplane food, I’m up for it. You can also prepare and portion your own trail mix. Mix your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruits in resealable plastic bags. Pack them in your bag, and there you’ll have a perfect snack to fuel you up during your walks.
So here are the tips I follow to stay healthy and maintain my weight while traveling. What are yours?
P.S. I am participating in National Blog Posting Month #NaBloPoMo, so for the whole month of November I’ll be writing one post per day. It’s going to be a big challenge for me as I haven’t committed to writing regularly since my girl was born. I’ll be sharing the usual healthy recipes, my toddler’s eats, as well as more nutrition tips. There will probably be a personal birthday special too! Who knows? Stay tuned and let’s see where November takes us!