Healthy Travel Tips, Tricks and Hacks
So many people responded to my Instagram story about my healthy travel hacks that I decided to do a full blog post on it! I love hearing from you guys about what YOU want to know and what you find helpful so never hesitate to get in touch with me! I’ll try to hit as many things as I can, including what to pack in your carry-on, snacks to find in the airport, healthy hotel hacks and even some beauty tips.
Let’s start by talking about my favorite topic… food!
The time of your flight and we’re you’re flying out of will likely influence what kind of food you might bring with you but hopefully I can cover all the bases!
Depending on the nature of your trip, your normal healthy eating routine might be the LAST thing on your mind but hear me out...
When you really adopt a healthy lifestyle, I mean REALLY adopt it… where it’s as natural as brushing your teeth, this stuff doesn’t sound so crazy. Trust me, I absolutely splurge when I travel. It would be ridiculous not to try different food, treat yourself to fun cocktails and dessert and loosen up the reins on the diet a bit. That being said, if you travel all the time for work and can’t afford to splurge that often or if you’re like me and practice more of a balanced approach to eating, then you’ll want to watch where you can.
What do I mean by that?
Well, let’s say you have a 8 AM flight. You’re up at 4:30 AM, you’re groggy, throw on your sweats and head to the airport to check in around 6. You have a 5 hour flight and know you need some food. The airport options kind of suck. First of all, only half the places are open and the other half are the same fast food places you pass every day. Is it really worth it to eat some crappy airport food JUST because it’s “vacation”? Not to me. I like to control things where I can and indulge where it’s worth it… like when I’m at Cecconi’s in Miami and want to go to town on their truffle pasta.
If I did that for every meal, every day… you probably wouldn’t take me too seriously as a dietitian and I probably wouldn’t feel too good. There’s something about indulging in really delicious, decadent food that is only really special when it’s infrequent. I can’t eat like that for 3 meals a day so when I’m travelling, I like to balance out those meals by packing some snacks with me and making a few swaps where I can.
So what do I bring with me?
GG Crackers: Tanya Zuckerbrot of the F-Factor Diet recommends that her clients bring their GG crackers with them when they travel so that they can buy a sandwich in the airport, toss the bread and replace it with their GG’s. I LOVE this idea and do it myself ALL the time. When my husband and I go away on a relaxing vacation, we sit by the pool for 6-7 hours and tend to snack while we’re there. He always orders French fries and I ALWAYS take a few (can’t turn down fries!). But let’s be real, I’m sitting by the pool in a bikini and I’m not exactly in the mood to eat something hot so one of my hacks is to order a kid’s turkey sandwich and just remove the bread and swap in my GG’s. I always ask for some kind of spread on the side (like hummus, guac, chipotle mayo, whatever you want and I’ll spread a little on the cracker first and then top with my turkey/cheese/veggies.
Bars: While I don’t usually eat a ton of granola/protein bars at home, I find that they’re really helpful while travelling. Maybe you’re having your coffee or tea on the plane and need something sweet or maybe you’re just touring a city and need a quick afternoon snack to hold you over. Look for a bar with at least 8 grams or more of protein and 5 grams or more of fiber!
Some of my faves are:
Salty/Crunchy Snacks: These are great for the plane, your hotel room, while you're out and about or by the pool.
Some of my faves include:
Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans (these also make a great substitute for croutons)
Mamma Chia- I love eating these as is or adding them to yogurt
Stevia Drops: I love keeping these in my bag, especially for cocktail hour! Order your favorite cocktail without sugar and just squeeze a drop or two of this in there instead for sweetness!
Didn't pack anything? There are usually at least some options in the airport. I'm not a statistician so don't quote me but 95% of the time you'll be able to find some or all of the following:
Fresh Fruit (at least apples and bananas)
Greek Yogurt (stay away from pre-made parfaits!)
String Cheese or some kind of cheese/snack box
Starbucks: They list all of their nutrition facts. You can order one of their breakfast sandwiches (go with the egg white turkey bacon sandwich or the spinach feta wrap). You can even replace the bread with your GG crackers OR opt for one of their "snack boxes"
Pre-made sandwiches- as mentioned above, you can swap out the bread for your high fiber crackers!
Nuts: notice I don't talk alot about nuts? That's because they're really hard to portion BUT if you're careful and aware of how many you're eating, they're readily available in the airport
Skinny Pop: Most newstands will carry Skinny Pop!
Other tips and tricks:
If possible, call the hotel ahead of time and request a refrigerator or microwave in your hotel room. That way, you can store some healthy snacks and breakfast options-- this saves calories but also money!
Hotel breakfasts are notoriously easy to find options. Eggs are pretty much always available and fruit is plentiful
Stock up on water at the hotel gym--that way, you don't have to pay $6 per bottle in the mini bar
I can’t even BEGIN to stress how important this is. Travelling is SO dehydrating. Think about it, the cabin is pressurized so you’re literally breathing air from a 19239819058 feet up in the sky and that sh*t is dryyyy. Even if you don’t feel like you’re dehydrating, your body is losing water the entire time you’re flying. Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day so that you don’t wind up feeling sluggish with dry, cracked skin. I always try to drink at least 1 liter of water before I even going through TSA. Then I drink 1 liter while waiting for my flight to board and another liter while I’m in the air. You can imagine that I try to get an aisle seat so I don’t have to annoy the person next to me every time I have to go to the bathroom.
You can buy a big water bottle after security and it’ll cost you your entire life’s savings or you can bring your own water bottle (I really like this collapsible one) with you and fill it up once you get through security. Because I tend to be a little crazy, I actually bring a little baggy of fresh sliced lemon because I love drinking water with lemon. I just toss that right into my water bottle and I’m good to go!
Another great trick is adding electrolyte tablets (I really like the Nuun vitamin tablets) to your water for some extra flavor, a hydration boost and vitamins (to combat all those coughing kids on the plane). You could also use something like Liquid IV because it’s basically equivalent to drinking 2-3 times as much water AND it’s a really good hangover cure (FYI).
Don’t neglect your beauty routine. Men, this is for you too! As I mentioned, travelling is SO drying and by the time you get to your destination your skin will be begging for moisture. I ALWAYS have a few essentials in my bag no matter what.
On the plane I bring:
Aquaphor to prevent chapped lips
Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray to freshen up my skin (and it smells amazing)
In my checked luggage I bring:
An ice roller for puffiness
Hyaluronic Acid Serum for moisturizing (I apply it before I put on makeup and before bed)
ALWAYS bring workout clothes. Especially if you’re planning to indulge more than usual, there’s no reason not to try to squeeze in a workout. Remember, it’s NOT to punish yourself. It’s to thank your body for it’s resilience and also, to give your body some much needed movement after a potentially long time sitting!
Here’s how I usually get my sweat on while I’m travelling:
Hotel Gym: Pretty much EVERY hotel has a gym these days, even the most basic ones so there’s really no excuse not to try to squeeze in a workout. If there’s a gym, I guarantee there will at the very least be a treadmill. Not a runner? Up the incline and try to walk at a fast pace. You can also use an app such as Sweat With Kayla, 7 Minute Workout, Nike Training Club or any other of the hundreds in the app store!
Book a workout: Whenever I’m travelling, I love checking out the local fitness culture. If you’re going to a city, there will usually be a plethora of class options from SoulCycle to Barry’s Bootcamp to Yoga, etc. Use an app like “Mind Body” or Yelp to scope out the local fitness options. Whenever I’m on vacation I like to try to book a workout for the morning so not only will it force me to get my workout in but it will also encourage me to take it easy on the drinks the night before! From personal experience, hangovers and Barry’s Bootcamp are NOT fun.
Explore! Lace up those sneakers and get outside! If the weather is nice, taking a run or a brisk walk is the BEST way to explore a new place. Just make sure the surrounding area is safe or you have a friend with you!
No fitness options? Pack your resistance bands. They take up less than 1 pound in your suitcase and are SO versatile. Google a resistance band workout and get to work in your hotel room!
What are some of your favorite healthy travel tips and tricks? Tell me in the comments!