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Staying healthy while travelling

It feels like everyone is fleeing Canberra for warmer weather at the moment. So one of my most frequently asked questions at the moment is - how do I stay on track while I'm travelling?

The truth of the matter is that while my clients are on holidays I don't want this to be a major stress but with a few simple tips and tricks you can have an amazing holiday, enjoy wonderful food and not get too caught up in the idea that all of your hard work has to go out the window. This is particularly timely for me personally as I have just returned from WARM Santorini where I watched my little brother marry his high school sweetheart.

Here's how I managed while I was away and what I would recommend to any of my clients:

  1. No guilt. If you indulge, there is no point feeling bad about it. Tomorrow is a new day, dinner is a new meal and so on. It's in the past now so leave it there and move forwards.
  2. Plan ahead. I know I have about 30 hours in transit between Canberra and Greece. I'm going to be tired, I'm going to be hungry, and no doubt I will be presented with plenty of unappetising airline food. I'm going to put a few sealed packages of food into my hand luggage. Things that travel well are nuts, nut bars, seeds and dried fruit. Look for unsalted and no/low added sugar options. Trail mix is great in these situations and better yet if you can buy packages that are resealable so you don't end up with food spilled everywhere. I'm going to take a couple of different varieties of trail mixes. They are high in fibre and satisfying so if your airline food is inedible, it may be able to hold you off until you can go in search of better fare.
  3. Stay hydrated. Flying will dehydrate you. And when you're on the go, hunger and thirst can be easily confused. Keep a bottle of water with you and remember to drink from it regularly.
  4. Eating out. This applies in airports, restaurants, roadside diners and cafes. Some of these can pose bigger challenges than others but the 'rules', if you can call them that, are still the same:
    1. Look for choices that have a mention of vegetables
    2. Choose a side salad instead of chips
    3. Have either dessert and a main or an entre and a main, rather than all three
    4. Avoid anything deep fried
    5. Pastries are not an every day food. That includes pies and sausage rolls as the pastry is very high in saturated fat
    6. If there aren't any meal options, is there perhaps some fresh fruit you could buy at a grocery store between now and the next town, that could stave off that hunger for a bit longer?
  5. Take a day pack. There's nothing better than being prepared. Carry healthy snacks with you when you're out and about during the day so you don't have to make choices once you're already starving
  6. Remember the fist rule. I love this one because eating out can open a big can of worms once you look at the menu. So think about your meal in terms of fists. You want approximately 1 fist each of protein and carbs, and 2 fists of veg. If you look at each menu option through those goggles, you don't need to worry about anything else.

And lastly, don't forget to have fun! Whether you're heading somewhere warmer to thaw out from Winter, going to the snow to make the most of the cold or another version in between, its how you treat your body 80% of the time that matters the most. So if you make the occasional choice to have a treat, own it, savour it, be mindful of enjoying it.

I am back home now and I can say, hand on my heart that I indulged, but I also ate well when I could. I ate lots of delicious food and there was a definitely more alcohol than I would normally drink. I tend to not really drink very much at all these days. I do feel quite tired and I was looking forward to home cooked food as soon as I started my journey home. However, I'm back now, and I'm not even thinking twice about what or how I ate while I was away (except to write this post). I'm not starting a diet a now that I'm home either, to compensate. I'm just going to slot back into my normal habits, without a second thought and so should you.

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