November 03, 2014 Healthy Living

Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

Whether you’re on the go for business or leisure, putting your healthy habits on the back burner shouldn’t be an option. While exercising and eating well can be challenging when you’re out of your routine and away from your familiar surroundings, the key is to plan ahead and look for some creative ways to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Eating While Traveling

Drink plenty of fluids. Milk or juice is a healthier choice than soda or alcohol, especially if you’re trying to avoid jet lag.

If you’re staying in a hotel room, try to stop at a nearby market and pick up bottled water, fresh fruit, and snacks like granola bars so you can grab quick, healthy nourishment between meetings or sight-seeing rather than head for the mini-bar or vending machines. Also, if you’re going to be on the road for a while or are unable to return to your room, you’ll have something healthy to munch on when you start to feel hungry.

Eat breakfast! While the old mantra that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is debatable, according to WebMD and Forbes.com, it is true that a nutritious breakfast provides the fuel you need to start your day and maintain your energy. If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, look for whole-grain toast and peanut butter or a low-sugar, high-fiber cereal. Other good options include:

  • fresh fruit
  • low-fat yogurt
  • oatmeal
  • hard-boiled egg whites
  • coffee or tea (but try to use skim milk rather than cream and a low-calorie sweetener)

Finding healthy food options on a menu

If you’re traveling with a group, you might not have a lot of control over where you stop to eat. However, even if your companions favor fast food, it is possible to work around the menu to make healthier choices.

First, avoid super-sizing meals or choosing a combo that includes fries or another side and a drink. If you get a sandwich, replace the fries with a side salad or fruit and choose water or fruit juice over soda. Select a sandwich option that is grilled, not fried. If you choose a salad, be aware that some still contain lots of fat. For an extra boost of protein, add grilled chicken. Also, ask for dressing on the side and try to stick to half a serving. HealthyToWork.org has a handy guide to eating healthy while traveling.

Tips for exercising while traveling

You don’t have to let your regular exercise routine go by the wayside just because you’re away from home or the gym. As long as you’ve packed your sneakers, you can use CDPHP® InMotionSM to chart a course for a brisk walk or jog wherever you are. This handy smartphone app will help you create a map for the distance you’d like to travel and will guide you so that you don’t get lost or off-track.

In any unfamiliar area, try to do a little research before you head out to make sure that the location is safe, especially if you’re going out alone. The concierge in your hotel should be able to tell you which areas to avoid, as well as where the populated main roads are located along your route.

If you stay in a hotel without a fitness room and outdoor exercise isn’t an option, create your own workout! A variety of quick fitness apps that can guide you through a fast workout right in your room are available, and the only equipment you may need is a wall and a chair. For example, the 7-Minute Workout involves a series of exercises like jumping jacks, wall sits, planks, and other things you can do anywhere.

The key to staying healthy on the road is sticking with a fitness routine, even if that means varying your activity and adapting it to your location and equipment availability, as well as planning ahead so as not to sabotage your diet. Both fitness and proper nutrition can be part of your lifestyle, and being away from home shouldn’t change that!

 

Photo by Jenifer Corrêa / CC BY

Erin Blakesley
About Author

Erin joined CDPHP in 2008 as a health promotion coordinator in the population health and wellness department. She assists employer groups with offering health and wellness programs for their employees and is instrumental in planning numerous community events. In addition, Erin helps develop the free wellness class schedule for CDPHP members. A nurse with experience in fitness training, Erin is excited to educate the community about the importance of health and wellness.

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