4 Tips to Travel with Control

Spring Break 2024!

It never fails. You finally start gaining traction with your fitness goals and feeling in full control! You are exercising more, eating better and overall, feeling healthy and happy!

It took some time, but you are FINALLY in your groove then boom! Life sucks you back in and this happens: Road trip! Spring break! Weekend getaway!

If you’ve been exercising regularly and making a conscious effort to eat better, the excitement surrounding travel plans may also be met with worry and fear.

Afterall, it’s easy to practice healthy habits and maintain control when you’re home because you have easy access to what you need: your fave gym, exercise equipment at home, grocery stores nearby, and a full kitchen to cook/prep.

Naturally, being away can make this stuff feel hard.

How are you supposed to stay active and eat better when on the road, hanging out in the airport terminal or sitting pretty on the beach?

You may be feeling like there is too much temptation, and all your hard work, focus and routine with exercising and eating better is about to be in limbo.

With spring break and summer vacation on the horizon, travel is a hot topic and the focus of this blog because when it comes to traveling, a common struggle is maintaining balance and control without feeling like you are missing out.

  • How do you balance enjoying time away without neglecting healthy habits?

  • How do you stay in control without missing out on the fun?

  • How do you avoid becoming the travel “Debbie downer”?

From being confined to cars and airplanes, to dining out and let’s not forget alcohol consumption, there is a lot to unpack when preparing to enjoy time away with family and friends.

Good news! You CAN soak in every last minute of vacation bliss without returning home feeling like you completely spiraled off track and undid all your hard work.

Without feeling bloated, hungover, extra fatigued and well – like you need a vacation from your vacation to recover!

If you need help navigating spring break travel plans, this blog provides 4 tips to travel with control so you can strike that perfect balance of FUN without sacrificing goals, healthy habits and progress.

How To Travel With Control

Let’s talk strategy! Traveling with control requires some light planning and preparation on your end. Nothing super crazy – we’re talking easy to follow tips to still have boat loads of fun while creating balance and leveling out control.

Remember, healthy habits are mostly portable and can travel with you anywhere, anytime! With some fine tuning and minor tweaking, you can make it all work. Here are 4 effective strategies for maintaining control and keeping on track when traveling outside of your day-to-day bubble:

#1. HYDRATION! When it comes to hydration and travel, this is important for a few reasons:

  • Climate Change: If you are traveling from a typical Midwest location to a tropical oasis, your body needs to adapt to the temperature change and climate. At minimum, aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. If the temps are rising or you are a sun God/Goddess soaking in al those rays, aim for more while monitoring signs of dehydration: dizziness, increased heart rate, excessive thirst, or headache.

  • Air Travel: The humidity levels inside airplanes are typically lower. Combine that with limiting your water intake to avoid an awkward trip to a closet-sized bathroom and you are on the road to dehydration. Before boarding, make sure your body is well hydrated by sticking with water or electrolytes. Avoid coffee and alcohol since both can lead to dehydration.

  • Don’t forget about digestion: Staying hydrated is going to help keep your digestive system flowing. Why does this matter?. Vacationing means eating stuff our bodies aren’t used to. These types of changes to your daily diet could cause an upset stomach. Stay ahead of the discomfort by drinking plenty of water.

#2. NUTRITION! Chances are, not every place you visit or stop for a meal will have optimal choices for eating a balanced diet. It’s vacation and you are here to enjoy – progress over perfection! Here is how you can tackle these meal-time struggles:

  • Plan out your splurges: The best way to strike a balance is planning ahead, just like you would at home. For example, if dinner’s at a restaurant, prepare and eat breakfast and lunch at your rental / wherever you are staying. If you are brunching at the local hot spot, opt to prepare and eat your other meals at your rental.

    **Always focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day to help keep you full and satisfied. Do not skip meals in anticipation of splurges and larger meals.

  • Eat your veggies (and protein!): Be sure to prioritize eating lean proteins and plenty of fresh veggies first at every meal, regardless of if you are dining in or out. This combo is the dream team for keeping you satisfied while reducing the urge to binge, which often occurs when vacationing.

  • Limit alcohol: If you choose to have alcoholic drinks, stick with the basics. Avoid drinks containing sugary mixers or heavy syrups. Those fancy schmancy umbrella drinks are yes, super fun BUT contain TONS of added sugars. These sugars make for one wicked hangover and will dehydrate you much faster. For every adult beverage you drink, follow up with one glass of water, especially in warmer climates, to stay hydrated.

  • Eat mindfully: Slow down! Pick foods you wouldn’t normally eat / are unique to your destination, take the time to slow down and really enjoy! If needed, set your utensils down in between bites to better recognize fullness cues.

#3. SNACKS! While in-transit road tripping or sitting in an airport terminal, a huge challenge is snacks. What should you choose to hold you over while avoiding a sugar crash mid flight? While you may not have perfect options available, you will be able to find better options like these:

  • Airplane – Quick + Portable: Not only are airport snacks over priced, but most come pre-packaged with tons of added salt and sugar. These snacks leave you feeling parched, sluggish and bloated – who wants to feel like that when vacation starts?!

    • Instead, options you want to pack in advance and have on hand include self-contained fruits wrapped in a peel such as bananas and apples (thanks Mother Nature!), nuts and seeds, tuna in a pouch, protein powder measured out and ready to go (just add water), or high-quality protein bars.

    • These types of convenience items will be a lifesaver! Plus, these foods will fuel your body the right way so so when you step foot off that plane, you have energy and ready to start your vacation!

    • If you are not able to pack these items in advance, the good news is you should be able to buy any one of these items in the terminal before you board the plane.

  • Car – Pack a Cooler: Instead of relying on the rest stop vending machine or gas station hot dogs, prepare a few healthy meals in advance and pack a cooler.

    • If you are feeling super spontaneous, enjoy a roadside picnic (safely). Include items such as fresh-cut fruits and veggies, salads, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, or string cheese. The sky is the limit when it comes to better-for-you options.

    • If you are not able to pack snacks and prepare a cooler, gas stations do offer most of these options including fresh fruits like bananas, packs of nuts and seeds (opt for the unsalted bags), mini protein snack packs with nuts, cheeses and fruits, protein bars (opt for brands with the shortest list of ingredients like RX bars or Kind Bars) and sandwiches.

At a glance, here are a few ideas when it comes to choosing convenient snacks when traveling on the go:

protein on the go.jpghealthy fats on the go.jpgcarbs on the go.jpg

  • CREATE A BETTER ENVIRONMENT! Vacation has officially begun! You have arrived at your destination, ready to unwind, unpack and soak in those vacation vibes! The ocean waves are crashing, the pool is calling your name and it’s time to post up and relax!

    • Remember, the biggest strategy for staying on track and striking balance is being prepared and having options. As you get settled and evaluate your new digs, first thing’s first:

  • Evaluate what you are able to keep on hand! Do you have access to a kitchen, refrigerator and / or min fridge?

  • Evaluate where to go shopping! Depending on where you are staying, you may or may not have access to a market or grocery store.

If you have access to a kitchen and local store, make a shopping list (see suggestions below), load up on the basics and create balanced meals inclusive of a protein, smart carb, heart healthy fat, and veggies! Aim for 3 complete meals daily and build your plate using the recommended portions below.

**If you do not have access to a full kitchen, stock up on the same types of convenient snacks we talked about above: self-contained fruit in a peel, nuts and seeds, protein powder, protein bars, and tuna packs. At the very least, have options on hand to get the nutrients and energy your body will need.

  • Protein: 1-2 palm-sized servings

    • Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey

    • Halibut, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Tuna

    • Eggs, Egg Whites

    • Cottage Cheese, Plain Greek Yogurt

    • Whey Based Powders + Plant Based Powders

    • Beans, Edamame, Lentils

    • Quinoa, Spelt, Teff, Wild Rice

  • Smart Carbs: 1-2 cupped handfuls

    • Fruits

    • Whole grains

    • Starchy tubers (potatoes and sweet potatoes)

    • Beans and legumes

  • Heart Healthy Fats: 1-2 thumb-sized portions

    • Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios

    • Seeds: chia, flax and sunflower

    • Nut Butters: Natural peanut butter or natural almond butter

    • Others: Avocado, fresh cheese, coconut, olives, and olive oil

  • Veggies: 1-2 fists

    • Eat the rainbow!

And, while you won’t always be preparing your own home cooked meals while vacationing, control what you CAN CONTROL.

Be prepared and plan ahead so you have healthier options! Don’t neglect the foods that are going to keep you fueled and provide you with the energy you need so you can enjoy your trip and feel good! Nothing wrong with indulging but doing that every day, meal after meal will leave you worse off and not feeling super hot. That stomach ache, bloat, sluggishness, and wicked hangover are sure fire ways to miss out on ALL the vaca festivities!

Bottom line: Create the perfect balance by staying true to yourself and those healthy portable habits you can still do while vacationing: drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, keep digestion flowing AND eating your protein and veggies with each meal.

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