They say travel broadens the mind. But unfortunately, with all that tempting food available, it also broadens the struggle to balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle on the go!
Whilst abroad, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can be challenging for many people. Whether on holiday, away on a business trip, or just visiting family and friends, it can be tough to stay on your diet when faced with exotic culinary delights in exciting and unfamiliar surroundings.
However, it’s not impossible!
Indeed, with some careful planning and mindful choices, staying on your diet while travelling need not be your Everest.
Don’t believe us? Here are some ways to stay on track with your healthy eating habits while away.
To stay on your diet while travelling, the best thing to do is to plan ahead.
Before you depart from home, research the area where you’ll be staying and find out what restaurants and grocery stores are nearby. Then look for healthy options that fit within your dietary restrictions or goals. For example, if you’re following a low-carb diet, search for restaurants offering salads or grilled meats, and avoid places specialising in pasta or pizza.
If you’re staying in a hotel, try and book one with a fitness centre or that is situated near parks or walking trails where you can exercise.
Congruently, make a list of healthy snacks that are easy to pack, such as nuts, protein bars, and fresh fruits. By planning, you’ll be less likely to succumb to unhealthy temptations when you arrive at your destination.
Pack Your Own Food
Another way to stay on top of your diet while travelling is to pack your own food. If you’re driving, bring a cool bag filled with healthy snacks and meals prepared in advance. This way, you can avoid the temptation of fast food whilst you are away with the cravings kicking in.
If you’re flying, be mindful of what you can bring through security and what will be available on the plane. Packing some healthy snacks to munch on, such as fresh fruits, nuts, or protein bars, in your carry-on bag is a good idea for when you are onboard.
Some airlines also offer healthier meal options, so check before your flight and choose the best choice for your dietary needs.
For those with special dietary requirements like gluten-free, dairy-free or foods with low protein options, taking your own food with you to a foreign destination is always a good idea if those items are hard to find.
Drinking enough water is crucial for maintaining good health and staying on track with your diet.
When travelling, getting dehydrated is easy, especially if you’re flying or spending a lot of time in a car, bus or train. So, pack a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly throughout the day.
Drinking water is also a critical step in reducing overeating. Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating more than we need. By staying hydrated, you’ll be able to distinguish between thirst and hunger signals and are less likely to overeat.
Choose Wisely at Restaurants
Eating out at restaurants can be challenging when trying to stay on your diet. However, there are ways to make healthier choices when dining out. Do some prior research and look for restaurants with menu items that are grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried. When there, choose salads with a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy dressing, and ask for the dressing on the side to control how much you use.
Avoid dishes loaded with cheese or sauces, as these can add extra calories and fat to your meal. Also, if you’re unsure what to order, don’t be afraid to ask your server for recommendations based on your dietary needs. Many restaurants are happy to accommodate special requests, such as substituting vegetables for potatoes or rice.
Stick to Your Routine
If you have a set meal routine at home, try to stick to it as much as possible while travelling.
For instance, if you usually eat breakfast at 7 am, lunch at noon and dinner at 6 pm, try to maintain that schedule while on the road. These times are when you have conditioned yourself to eat, so doing so later might trigger overeating or snacking between meals.
If you’re travelling to a different time zone, adjust your meal times gradually over a few days so your body can adapt.
Staying active while travelling is crucial for maintaining good health and keeping your diet on track.
If you’re staying in a hotel, look for venues with fitness centres or swimming pools where you can exercise. Some hotels also offer yoga or fitness classes, so check with the front desk.
If you’re in a new city, take advantage of the opportunity to explore on foot. Walking is a great way to burn calories and see the sights simultaneously. You can also rent bicycles or sign up for a guided walking tour to exercise while learning about the local culture and history.
Be Mindful of Portion Sizes
Portion sizes can be a challenge when dining out or eating at a buffet on holiday. Many restaurants serve oversized portions that can quickly derail your diet.
To avoid overeating, try to share a meal with a friend or family member or ask for a to-go box and save half of your meal for later. Consider eating a couple of starters instead of a main meal and choose something with lots of vegetables.
Remember that it’s okay to indulge in a treat or two but be mindful of calories and portion sizes and choose your indulgences wisely. Similarly, when eating at a buffet, start with a small plate and primarily select fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid heavy sauces or fried foods, and opt for grilled or baked options instead.
Get Good Sleep
While it would be tempting to burn the candle at both ends to make the most of the destination you are visiting, it is essential to remember that getting good sleep is crucial for weight loss.
Sleep affects the hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism. A lack of it can reduce the production of the hormone leptin, which signals to the brain when you’ve had enough to eat, leading to increased hunger and a slower metabolism.
At the same time, it increases the production of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, leading to cravings for high-calorie, high-fat foods.
If you can get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, it will go a long way towards reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolism, which in turn will help to maintain a healthy weight while you are away.
Finally, staying mindful is vital to sticking to your diet while travelling.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new destination and forget about your dietary goals. So you should take a few minutes each day to check in with yourself and your eating habits.
Ask yourself if you’re eating because you’re hungry or just because you’ve seen a venue that looks nice. Also, do you really want that slice of cake? Or are you just eating it because it’s there and readily available?
Even though you are away, it is crucial to be in tune with how hungry you are and not eat for the sake of it.
Staying on your diet while travelling can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
With some planning and mindful choices, you can maintain healthy eating habits while on the go.
So long as you plan ahead, stick to your routine, and stay active and mindful, it should not prove too difficult to enjoy your adventure while staying healthy and happy.