Traveling can be a healthy lifestyle killer.
You have to find extra time and space to do your workouts
You have to wash your hands constantly and drink a ton of water to keep the germs away.
You have to dig deep for motivation, whether you are in long work meetings all day or sitting by the pool sipping cocktails with girlfriends.
Finally, you have to make very conscious healthy food choices.
Typical travel food choices are just…ugh.
Airport restaurants, airplane food, catered meals, alcohol, desserts, appetizers and more alcohol lead to very lethargic days, upset tummies and some serious cleansing when you get home from your trip.
I have learned from experience that all of this just isn’t worth it to me.
I recently flew across the country to attend three days of board meetings. Breakfast and lunch were provided for us by the hotel, and our dinners were out at restaurants.
I find that I can usually chose healthy options at lunch and dinner. There are always salads on the menu, and I can add salmon or chicken for some protein. Even when I want to splurge at dinner, I order a salad and appetizer and just keep the portions small. Then I don’t feel so bad having my wine or small dessert.
The tricky areas for me are breakfasts, snacks and the traveling part itself.
Challenge #1: BREAKFAST
Buffet breakfasts are full of every high-glycemic carb imaginable. Bagels, waffles, pancakes, toast, muffins, scones and cereal dominate. Even worse are times I have to run out the door to a meeting and there is no breakfast option available.
Challenge #2: SNACKS
I have an afternoon snack every day as a nutritional energy boost between lunch and dinner or before a workout. When traveling, options for snacks are limited to peanuts, candy bars, granola bars or the mini bar.
Challenge #3: AIRPORTS
While healthy options are becoming more prevalent in airports, there is still a long way to go. I also don’t like to eat at 6:00am before a morning flight, which leaves me needing breakfast in mid-air.
My solution to these three challenges?
My Amazing Healthy Travel Snack Bag!
Every time I travel I bring a small bag packed with food, snacks and vitamins. It is basically my “emergency food kit” and helps keep me on track and feeling good, even in hotels and airports.
Here is a list of healthy travel snacks I can’t be without:
Water bottle & To-go mug
I like to carry one of my bigger water bottles with me because it tempts me to keep it filled all day, especially at conferences where filtered water is provided. One of my FAVORITE things to bring is my Contigo to-go mug. It has a lock that makes it non-spill and keeps coffee and tea hot for hours. I just have the barista fill it up for me before a flight and use it all day at conferences.
Yes you can purchase this at most airports, but it always has extra salt, sugar, dried fruit and other weird ingredients. I make mine with raw almonds, cashews, banana chips and usually a little chocolate thrown in.
Almond butter packets
I love the Justin brand, but there are a lot out there. I use these for breakfast on the go and
Muffins (Addictive Chocolate Zucchini Muffins pictured)
You have to be a little careful when you throw these in your bag that they don’t become crumbs, but I LOVE traveling with these chocolate muffins or these muffins. At my recent conference we were offered buffet breakfasts full of sugary carbs, but luckily there were scrambled eggs as well. My muffin with almond butter on top was the perfect addition to the eggs for a filling and healthy breakfast.
These are necessary for emergencies when traveling. I look for bars under 200 calories with more than 6 grams of protein that are gluten free, soy free and dairy free. They can’t replace whole foods, but they can be a great substitute in a pinch.
This is a gimme. I like clementines, apples and bananas for their portability and ease.
Tea & Sweetener
When I was exclusively a coffee drinker I didn’t do this, but now that I’m drinking tea I love bringing my favorite tea bags and healthy sweeteners (I like Truvia). It’s always easy to find hot water, and I’ve got my handy to-go mug open and ready.
You all know how much I love my vitamins, and I never travel without them. They are my silver bullet against the all too common travel germs.
There are a lot of things I can’t control when I travel, like that chronic cougher next to me on the plane.
There are things I don’t want to change, like that chilled glass of chardonnay I have before dinner.
Food, on the other hand, I can do something about.
Take a few minutes to plan ahead before your next trip and I promise you will feel better! You may even enjoy that sunset mai tai a little more knowing you took care of yourself at breakfast.