Tips for Traveling and Staying Healthy

Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling


There are inevitably going to be times in your life when your normal routine is disrupted. This has definitely been the case for us the past few weeks! Normally when I am home I will prep my meals for the week so that I always have healthy options on hand, which makes it easier for me to stay on track. The past few weeks we have been traveling a lot! In just the last five weeks we: flew to Texas for a house hunting trip, were in Hawaii for a week on an incentive trip I earned with Scentsy, had family in town for a week where we went sight-seeing every day in DC, I was in Indianapolis this past week for a convention, and today we are moving down to Texas. That is a lot of traveling for our little family! We never travel this much and we are all really looking forward to getting back into a normal routine. A picture taken last night when I was flying with my 3-month old. We were running on 3 hours of sleep (hence the tired faces) and pretty pooped:

This crazy schedule we've had really put a kink in our normal routine of meal prep, healthy dinners at home each night, etc. I’ve learned a few things these past few weeks and wanted to share with you some of the tips I picked up.

Restaurants
Eating out at restaurants is almost inevitable when you are traveling so much. The main thing to remember at restaurants is just to be mindful of your choices. When looking at the menu here are some of my top tips:

1) Order meats that are grilled, baked or steamed
2) Ask that sauces get put on the side so that you can determine how much is used
3) Ask that they cook things “dry” or with no butter or extra oil. I always notice that restaurants love to cook vegetables in butter and use a lot of oil when cooking eggs. If you order those things just ask for no butter or oil.
4) If I am at a restaurant that brings bread to the table I usually ask that they don’t bring the bread basket. Each roll can add an extra 150-200 calories per roll and I never can seem to say no when they are sitting right in front of me and smell so good!
5) Stay away from anything that has a cream sauce – they are usually made with heavy cream and are chock full of calories and fat.

I used to feel bad asking my server to cook things a certain way, but I’ve found that if I am just friendly when I ask and smile and thank them then usually it’s not a problem. Here is a picture of some of the gals in my Scentsy group at PF Changs for dinner. I ordered the sea bass with sauces on the side, spinach cooked with no oil and the Szechuan Asparagus with no oil. Absolutely delicious!

Snacks
In the past I have packed all my meals and brought them in a little cooler with me when traveling with ice packs. But, if you aren’t preparing for a competition or a photo shoot I don’t think it’s always necessary to pack all your meals. Plus, have you ever traveled with two little kids by yourself? You end up carrying so many things! Anyone else look like this when you are going through the airport?! My husband took this yesterday. (This doesn’t even show my three year old and his backpack too!)
**notice the Ergo under the stroller, the baby, the diaper bag packpack, my carryon, the infant carseat, and my backpack! So many things to walk through the airport with and I only checked the carseat!**

My husband makes fun of me all the time because I am a major over-packer and can’t ever just pack lightly. Adding another bag with all my meals in it would be really hard. Instead I focus on being mindful of my snacks. **Side note: If you do want to travel with food you can bring basically anything that isn't liquid on the plane. I've brought chicken and baked sweet potatoes wrapped in foil before with ice packs and didn't have a problem.

Here are some of my favorite snacks that I like to pack when flying and traveling:

-Almonds. Some of the new flavored almonds make me feel like I am eating a treat! Just read the ingredient list because many use sucralose to sweeten them and I try to stay away from that.
-Protein bars. You can either do homemade protein bars or if you are going to purchase protein bars the only brand I like is Quest Nutrition. They have an all natural line of protein bars and each of their bars typically only has a handful of ingredients. Plus they taste awesome!
-Protein Powder individual packets. I really like MRM’s brand of protein because it has no artificial sweeteners or fillers, they source their whey protein from cows that are grass fed, and it tastes awesome. I like the Rich Vanilla best but chocolate is really good too. The individual packets make it really convenient to just open up the packet and pour everything into a water bottle, shake and drink.
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-Oatmeal and Hard Boiled Eggs. Most convenience stores will carry hard boiled eggs (I know 7-11 does) and a lot of coffee shops sell oatmeal. That is my go-to breakfast when I am in the airport or traveling. The downside here is that you will probably have to pay somewhere between $.75-$1 per egg which is kind of expensive.
-Beef Jerky. Jerky is really high in sodium so I wouldn’t go crazy and eat a ton, but it has a lot of protein and is delish. Make sure you read your ingredient list when buying jerky. I recently realized that most jerky has MSG added to it (monosodium glutamate). Yikes! Trader Joe’s brand and Perky Jerky are the two that I like to use.

Be cautious of snack foods like coffee shop muffins, granola bars, etc. These things can be low in nutritional value and high in calories and preservatives. Did you know that one Starbucks muffin typically has between 350-450 calories? That would take 35-45 minutes of running just to burn off the calories of one little muffin!

Working Out
Most hotels these days have a gym, but the gyms can really range in quality. I have stayed at hotels that just have one or two cardio machines, and some that have free weights (I get so excited when I see that!). Plus, if you are traveling with kids it can be hard to actually get down to the gym. That was the problem I had this past week. I was traveling with my 3-month old and obviously couldn’t leave her in the room but didn’t want her in the gym with me either (too many germs around for a little one). Some exercises you can do in your hotel room are things like:
-Mountain climbers
-High knees
-Butt kicks
-Push-ups
-Body weight squats
-Tricep Dips (if possible)
-Calf raises
-Bicycle crunches
-V-up crunches

I will usually try to create some type of challenge for myself. So, I might use the GymBoss app on my phone to beep every 30 seconds and do 30 seconds of each exercise (repeat 2-4 times with 2 minute rest between each circuit). I have also use playing cards before too. So, I will do the exercises in the order listed above and for each exercise flip over a playing card. Whatever number on the card is the number of reps I have to do for each exercise (for an added challenge add 10 to whatever number shows up).

The main thing to remember is not to be too hard on yourself if your meals aren't perfect. Unless you are training for a competition and need to be extra strict, I think it's important to learn how to balance eating and staying healthy while traveling. I definitely still have my treat meals, but majority of the time I try to order things that would be similar to the types of things I would make at home. It makes me feel better after my meal and I don’t wake up the next morning feeling bloated and discouraged.

I am definitely not perfect when it comes to traveling and staying healthy, but I hope these tips I have picked up the past few weeks are helpful for you. Are there any tips you have that I am forgetting? Thanks for sharing!

Your friend,
Natalie

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3 Comments

  1. Great post, Natalie! Very helpful tips. My son was born around the same time as your daughter and I’m impressed that you’ve mastered traveling with a 3 month old, let alone clean eating & working out on the road as well!! You are a rock star and an inspiration!

    Reply
  2. Natalie –
    Thank you so much for your time and effort with your site! It is officially my due date today and I have been working my butt off (literally) during this pregnancy. My brother decided to plan his wedding for a month from now and your experience is providing me with so many ideas, recipes, plans, etc. Keep up this amazing work!!! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  3. thank you for this! myfamily and i are going on vacation for 2 weeks and I am absolutely terrified of the lack of control I will have over my meals. Im trying to prepare and this helped, thanks so much!

    Reply

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