5 Tips To Stay Healthy While Traveling

For many the Christmas, Hanukah (and Kwanzaa!) season bring with it lots of excitement, fond memories and traditions but also lots of travel. We schlep from here to there, with little attention paid to how we are fueling our bodies. After many patients of mine told me that travel was there biggest barrier to healthy eating I decided that focusing a blog post during the already crazed Holiday season on the topic might be helpful. Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or work,  here are a few simple tricks to stay healthy, stress-free, and comfortable during your travels!

  1. Hydration
    This can’t possibly be the first time someone has told you about hydration but although it sounds obvious, flying and traveling long distances can dehydrate our bodies and in turn leave us feeling exhausted. Plus, did you know that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger? Often times, causing our body to crave sugary foods due to difficulty metabolizing glycogen with less fluid. Plus, without adequate water, our body cannot function to their full potential  and this includes our immune system.  Cue the fatigue, headaches, and  often times irritability.  Here are a few tips to stay hydrated on the road:-Carry a reusable water bottle which can remind us to drink at least 8-10 cups per day, as well as help deter us from purchasing other sugary drinks at the airport.-Alternate water with alcoholic beverages at holiday parties and work events, it will help your hangover!
    -Buy an extra water bottle at the airport and aim to finish it by the end of the flight. Although the plane often provides water, this sets a goal that is literally within reach.
  2. Plan ahead with a Fiber + Protein Filled Snack
    Having a few healthy snacks on hand can help squash cravings and hunger when options are limited. Plus, I always remind my patients that combining fiber and protein helps to stabilize blood sugars, so you can avoid energy crashes in-between meals. Also, fiber keeps us filling fuller longer and when paired with protein it packs the perfect full belly punch.  Here are a few options to mix and match your fibers and proteins, to create a satisfying travel snack.

    If travelling out of Logan Airport:Look for Berskire Farms:
    Kale & Quinoa, Chickpea, or Greek Salads
    Hummus & Veggie Platters
    Fresh Fruit Cups and Smoothies
    Baked Lentil Chips or Kale Chips

    Or try Hudson News:
    Kind Bar (look for the ones with only 5g of sugar!)
    Skinny Pop Popcorn
    Jerky
    Graze Snack boxes
    Biena Chickpea Snacks

    A few healthy options at Starbucks:
    Egg White & Red Pepper Sous Vide Bites
    Chicken & Quinoa Salad
    Pair a Banana with a Justin’s Almond/Peanut Butter packet
    Egg & Cheese Protein Box

  3. Download A Meditation App
    Traveling {and the holidays} can be stressful on the mind and body. When we are stressed, cortisol {the stress hormone} levels increase making us more likely to over-eat and reach for less nutrient-dense food choices. Being more mindful can help us be aware of our body’s current needs and hunger levels.Some of my favorite Meditation Apps include Insight Timer, Omvana, Headspace, and Calm. If you feel stress levels creeping up, toss on your headphones and a quick 5-10 minute meditation to counteract the physiological effects of stress.
  4. Quick Stretches
    Long seated stints leave our bodies tight and poorly circulated. Increasing the circulation in your body helps to bring blood back to the heart and oxygen and nutrients back to the tissues. Getting up to walk around on flights, doing a quick stretch, or even twisting in your chair can help increase circulation and help stimulate our body systems.Easy Travel Stretches:Standing {or Seated} Side Body Stretches – Reach arms overhead and extend. Reach up and then over to each side to stretch the muscles of the ribs and abdomen.Standing Forward Fold – Bend at the hips and release upper body over lower body, option to interlace hands behind back or grab opposite elbows.Legs Up the Wall – Sit alongside the wall. Transition your back to the floor and swing legs up along the wall. This brings blood back to the heart and encourages the flow of lymph back to the main drainage centers.Chair Twist – Stimulates digestion and blood flow through vital organs.
  5. Allow for Flexibility
    Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods with your family and friends! The reality is that traveling may not always provide us with the most nutritious options. Staying healthy is about cultivating a sustainable nutrition practice, without deprivation, and allowing yourself to indulge occasionally while making the best decisions for your health in a given day. Remember, if you eat healthy 80% of the time, then 20% of the time you have got to live.As you navigate your way through this or any travel season,  keep in mind these healthy habits: stay hydrated, plan ahead, snack smart, namaste away and stretch your way through busy days. Happiest Holidays to you all and safe travels!