5 Steps to Eating ( and enjoying!) your way to your health goals while traveling.
With so many people living the “ laptop lifestyle” these days, escaping with the kids for the summer or traveling simply because they can, the challenge of eating in a way that both satisfies our appetite for adventure and our desire to stay consistent and on track with our health and fitness goals is REAL. I’ve heard more than one entrepreneur, mother, or friend, groan in dismay and say “ I fell off the wagon on this last trip.”
Good news! The tips and strategies I share below will help you make your next trip literally a piece of cake...that you can eat and enjoy!
DECIDE WHAT " HEALTHY" LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE FOR YOU.
No matter what style of eating you are choosing to practice ( vegan, keto, intermittent fasting, flexible dieting), or want to learn more about, there is a version of it that makes you feel physically and mentally like a rockstar. I’m a proponent and teacher of a skill based approach which you can learn more about by going here. In the meantime, start by asking yourself these questions:
What’s your version of “ eating healthy?” and is it eating in a way that you’d want your kids to imitate?
On the days you nail your nutrition and eating skills, feel both confident and competent, what does that look like?
What would nailing it look like while traveling?
DECIDE WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE YOU WANT TO HAVE WHILE TRAVELING
Decide what kind of experience you want to have while traveling and plan food and eating experiences according to that. Is it strictly a business trip and are you there simply to perform a task or service? If that’s the case you will need to be on your A game mentally and physically. How and when can you factor in the core food and self-care skills that will allow you to show up as your best self? 2 of the most significant ones to practice are:
Eating 3-4 meals a day with no snacking in between gives you the benefit of focusing on food when eating and work while working. People who snack regularly rarely feel mentally or physically satisfied fully with their snack and can end up eating way more than intended more frequently because it’s not seen as a “ meal.”
Eating mostly whole foods. Fatty food leads to sluggish minds and bodies. During the day while you work and need to be alert and engaged, go for half a plate of veggies, proteins and some good fat to keep you satisfied but not put you in a food coma. Brain and focus boosting foods include fish, blueberries, avocados, leafy greens and water.
If part of your travel or time away involves special events, or celebrations that involve having a food experience, than have a food experience! I am constantly reminding clients that there is nothing you cannot have ( unless you’ll die from it, then duh, don’t eat it!) when focusing on improving your health or wellness or working towards weight loss goals. If traveling for a family adventure, or it’s your first time in a new country and food is going to be part of the experience then enjoy it in the moment and understand you can go back to practicing the other skills ( eating mostly whole foods, eating 3-4 meals without snacking, eating just enough) at the very next meal.
The key is to balance pleasure with progress and YES, that’s possible.
Next, Plan ahead as much as you can when it comes to what and where you are going to eat. Check out the restaurants and their menus ahead of time. Look for the options that are most closely in line with how you’d eat at home or with the skills you’re practicing. If you are staying somewhere you can cook or their is a kitchen available, check out the local markets and cook as much as you can. If you can, hire a private chef and then you have even more control of what is prepared and when.
Focus on what you can control. Plan and create the situations that allow you to feel good about what you’re eating and the experience you’re having while you’re away.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO EAT?
Decide ahead of time what’s worth indulging on and what situations are best for you to avoid. Instead of getting to a buffet, seeing all the food and deciding to make a game time decision in the moment ( which for most people means EAT ALL THE FOOD RIGHT NOW!), either choose a different style of dining or decide ahead of time what IS worth indulging on and eating and stick to it. Is it indulging in a drink at the one social event of the trip? Is it sampling the sweets or desserts you can’t get anywhere else in the world on one day? Is it ordering the house specialty that’s world renowned at the restaurant you’re eating at? What is it that you WANT to indulge in that would satisfy you AND allow you to feel you are still making choices in line with your health and fitness values. Not sure what I mean by health and fitness values? Check out this article explaining more about it by Josh HIllis at one by one nutrition. ( https://www.onebyonenutrition.com/blog/when-your-weight-loss-goals-ruin-you) Good stuff! There is nothing you cannot have while working towards your health and fitness goals. Unless it’s going to kill you, then don’t eat that.
Learn and become familiar with the customs and traditions that involve food in the country you’re traveling to IF they are going to affect your eating frequency and style. When you have more information, you can make a plan that fits what you want and what you need, without offending your hosts, and help you navigate the food landscape in general. Keep in mind also that labels and nutrition information may be in other languages or in some cases non existent, in which case, the next tip will come in helpful.
WHERE THE VEGGIES AT??
When all else fails, practice making fruits and veggies the first thing you look to add to your plate and make them half your plate.
No matter where you go, there are going to be veggie options. They may not be the ones you are used to but there is a really good chance they are going to be there. Choose ones that are sauteed , roasted, fresh or steamed as much as possible and steer clear of the ones doused in sauces,fried in batters or covered in something that makes them unrecognizable. Pair those veggies with a palm size amount of protein, some good fats to help you feel satisfied and full and you are good to go.
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF REGULARLY
The most important thing you can do is to practice checking in with yourself regularly. Ask yourself, am I living and practicing what I want to become better at and be? Josh Hillis said it best when he said “ Am I moving in the direction of my values?” Are you eating and taking actions in a way that supports what’s important to you? If the answer is yes, you are succeeding. If the answer is no, you can always change course and begin fresh.
No matter what, know that everything you want to be better at or understand involving food, nutrition and self-care are just a set of skills. EVERYTHING. Identify the skills based on your priorities and what’s important to you and then start practicing and building momentum. No more dieting. No more drama. No more on and off the wagon. You can do it and I’m rooting for you. :)
If you find these tips helpful and are ready to break up with dieting and food confusion, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more about my one on one nutrition coaching services. I’d love to support you, your team or your family in living your version of healthy and happy.
For a FREE NUTRITION ASSESSMENT ( an in depth questionnaire and an enthusiastic and sincere convo with yours truly) click HERE, fill out the form and I will be in touch within 24 hours if on a weekday or 48 hours if on a weekend.
I look forward to speaking with you!