A common challenge for maintaining a healthy lifestyle is when we are thrown out of our routine. People are often confident that they could maintain a healthy lifestyle on a “typical” day – the problem here is that most days are not typical. Things come up, we don’t have as much time as we thought we would, we don’t have access to the food we prefer to be eating, and this is a common theme when travelling.
Travelling presents a major challenge to sticking with your healthy eating plan for many reasons. You are certainly not on your typical schedule, the foods you would prefer to have access to might not be available, you may be going through different time zones and experiencing
jet lag, and you have limited opportunity to prepare foods for yourself.
This is a two-part blog focusing first on eating well during transportation. For tips on eating well while actually on vacation, check back for part two of this series later this week!
So, what are some tips for staying healthy during travel?
Challenges and suggestions might be different for different modes of transportation – for example, plane vs. car vs. train, but there are a few things you can do to make sure fresh food is available:
- Create space: Set aside space in your bag, or bring along a second bag if you can dedicated to food. Prioritizing healthy foods when you’re packing makes sure you have enough room to bring snacks that will get you through travel time.
- Make a plan: Know when, and how often you will need to eat. Plan something for about every 3-5 hours of your total travel time.
- Know what you can bring: Depending on which borders you’re crossing, certain foods will be out. Unfortunately fresh meats, dairy and produce are not allowed to cross the Canada-USA border and this makes things tricky. If your first transfer is within your departing country, you can at least plan for fresh foods before crossing borders. If not, you might bring as many dry goods as you can and supplement with fresh fruits and cut-up vegetables bought on the road or at the airport.
- Balance your snacks: Plan things that will go together and keep you full as you’re travelling. Use this table to mix and match fresh + filling produce with a source of whole grains or protein to keep you satisfied.
- Get organized: How many people are you bringing snacks for? Make sure you’ve packed enough and make up individual portions as much as possible – easier to hand out and avoid mindless snacking. You can even get ahead of yourself by pre-cutting veggies, fruits, cheese, and portioning out the snacks you plan to bring a day or two ahead of time. It’s also important to think about any protein sources that may need to be packed in a cooler and eaten first during travel.
- Pack away! Keep your food in the fridge as long as possible so it lasts longer. If you know what you need to eat when, include an eating schedule with your travel documents. You can even write down what you need to buy from the airport (fresh produce, yogurt, etc.) that you weren’t able to bring with you.
These tips can just as easily be used for a day when you know you’re out and about without a real chance to eat, or when you don’t know what time you might get back (think a hockey tournament where the length of the event depends on the team’s success!)